Michal Škoda

A Spectre in the House

Tomáš Bárta

Gerbera won't break

Anna Ročňová

Michal Škoda / Interweaving

22.05.2024 - 27.07.2024

Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

Curator: Silvia L. Čúzyová

Opening: 22nd May, 7 pm


Michal Škoda's representative exhibition entitled INTERWEAVING is not a retrospective but thematizes a constant creative dialogue with the past, present and the possible future of his work - a continuous intertwining of subjects, meanings, media and materials. It is also a continuation of a focused interaction with Places with Specific Qualities. Škoda consistently works with a reduced abstract form and realises his subjects – an interest in space and architecture, a place for the human, archiving of existence and everyday life - through a variety of techniques. Drawing is one of the main means of expression in his work, along with artist’s books, and in recent years his sculptural nature has re-emerged in objects that work, to some extent, with architectural morphology. While the large-scale drawings and objects are essential and highly abstracted works, their imaginary counterparts involve Škoda's diaries and so-called Records, where he maps his everyday life through immediate drawing and photographic records. It is literally an archive of the artist's existence where countless stimuli take place, even those seemingly different from what he represents.

Diaries and Records are two series from Škoda's rich output in the field of artist’s books developed since the 1990s. Diaries represent a more traditional form of hand-bound notebooks with classic pagination. Each exists in a single copy. They have a chronological character and are numbered according to the order of their creation. The extensive collection of diaries is based on original black and white photography with artistic interventions in various techniques. Photography appeared in Škoda's work in 1996 as part of his first book, Places. Over the following decades its form matured and evolved through a multitude of visualizations and photographic records. The textual component is absent in the diaries and it is not clear whether it is possible to "read" them in a linear way. However, they clearly show what interests the artist, what catches his eye and engages his mind. The diaries are the artist's private field of experimentation, a reservoir of inspiration and ideas. The images follow one by one as if from a dictionary of Škoda's perception: structures and grids, found architectural situations, details, accents, horizons and vistas - inconspicuous but formative moments of existence, subtle contemplative beauty. The artist's ability to generate image after image in flawless composition is fascinating. The positioning of images on the pages is highly important, and perforations appear as physical intersections into the world of the following pages.

Records, as Michal Škoda calls his mixed-media drawings on A4 paper, are primary messages in the simplest of ways, "continuous touches" - a dialogue with the everyday reality and the result of countless hours over a sheet of paper when concentrated work in the studio takes on meditative dimensions. Elementary visual units indicate the inner constellation of more complex images and reveal Škoda's creative process. For these records, the artist uses the techniques of drawing, pen drawing, painting and collage, adding pieces of time-relevant reality such as photographs, frottage, fragments of various printed materials, ground plans, etc. He still works with inscriptions (more precisely with words) and typographic compositions, albrot to a much lesser extent than in the past. The specific character of Records lies in the fact that the individual sheets are not bound, and can be selected and used to intervene in space, thus presenting a simple and at the same time eccentric form of an artist’s book. It was impossible to resist the distinctive character of the Fait Gallery in Brno and not to attempt a creative confrontation of a magnificent industrial space with A4 drawings and records. Hundreds of pieces of Records placed in succession, as they were created, make up a unique whole of an enormous picture and reflect Škoda's intense analysis of space and its potential, "space as a phenomenon and an infinite territory of subjects."

Radek Brousil & Peter Puklus / Stupid


Fait Gallery MEM

Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Vernissage: 21.2.2018 at 7 pm
Curator: Jan Zálešák

“It’s a man’s world,” James Brown sang fifty years ago, a world of strong men who give and take, and to which the ultimate sense is only given by a woman’s love. I realise that I inadvertently experienced the slow decline of this world as a boy and later as a teenager when watching TV series with David Hasselhoff. Detective Michael Knight, the hero of the Knight Rider series, became Mitch Buchannon, a Baywatch lifeguard chief, self-confident on the beach but a failure at home. The truth is that the images of the crisis of the western man flashing between the slow-motion takes of luscious female lifeguards seemed as unreal to me in the post-socialist universe of the 1990s as KITT the talking car.

When discussing the exhibition with Peter Puklus and Radek Brousil, we didn’t talk about these TV series. However, I’m sure they had watched them as well, at least occasionally, and found in them the prefigurations of manhood that they were later forced to reassess and throw away, along with many other men who no longer feel part of the “man’s world”. I want to believe that this world is steadily declining, yet its images, perpetuated on and on, still dominate the imagination of most people. With this exhibition centred around counter-hegemonic images of manhood Brousil and Puklus enter an imaginary battlefield. Raising questions about the nature of the modern man, which is the leitmotiv of the show, is general on the one hand, while on the other it is anchored in the personal experience of the artists.

They were both born in 1980, and their work is rooted in the photographic medium, without being bound by conventions of what a photograph is and what it should look like. They learnt about each other through an artists’ residence centre in Banská Štiavnica, and a certain fascination with the similarity of their work – which at some moments had an air of them being each other’s creative double – has culminated in a joint exhibition in the Mem gallery. This, however, also brought to light distinct differences between the artists: while Radek Brousil seeks the most up-to-date language for his works, Péter Puklus has long focused on the fine-tuning of his own idiolect.

The exhibition entitled briefly Stupid can be viewed as a double introspection developed in a dialogue. Specific experience and attitudes, particular concerns, uncertainties and desires are transformed into symbolic contents that are more universal and leave space for an empathetic identification. In a divided world in which listening to others seems more difficult than flying to the Moon, the understanding born of empathy appears to be the highest purpose of art. 


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