Markéta Othová


Valentýna Janů

Salty Mascara

Jan Nálevka / And now let’s finally turn the page

23.05.2018 - 04.08.2018

Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

opening: 23. 5. 2018 at 7 pm

curator: Jiří Ptáček
exhibition architect: Tomáš Džadoň

A grid becomes a symbol of organisation in the most general sense of the word, a kind of order of things, and at a symbolic level also a world order. 

- Jan Nálevka

The A4 format paper is the most widespread kind of paper in both households and offices. We use it to print ordinary documents, for photocopying, notes and sketches. It is also used for the printing of formal court decisions, meals of the day in cheap restaurants and university theses, as it is the only format with which one can be sure that the diploma work will be bound in covers imitating leather as late as an hour before the deadline. Files for this size are available from any stationery shop, and millions of sheets pile up in millions of metres of office archives. Text editors now offer the digital version of A4… The standardized A4 format is guaranteed by the ISO 216 international standard for paper of the A, B and C categories. The first attempts at standardisation go back to France during the Revolution in the late 18th century. The main advantage of this proportion of sides is the simple division in halves after which the sheets retain the same proportion of sides. The major benefit of the adoption and dissemination of the standard was its compatibility and coordination of the manufacture of a whole spectrum of products. Nowadays, when you ask someone to picture a “common sheet of paper”, they will most probably visualize paper of the A4 format. 

When lining A4 sheets, Jan Nálevka adjusts the drawing to the standard. He opts for a neutral handwriting, and steps back as an artist. He uses blue ballpoint pens in order to emphasise office work where the compliance with prescribed administration procedures is essential. Reams of paper covered in lines and square grids are virtually indiscernible from mass-produced prints. And since Nálevka further segments the paper with lines and square grids, while in fact still preparing it for writing and drawing, he can talk about the creation of “standardised blankness”, a blankness achieved through work. Its volume, as well as the time it requires, are not proportionate to the result. However, in their reflection there is always space to realise the absurd nature of this activity. Nálevka’s drawings can thus be considered implicitly critical, yet at a more general level they are abstract visualizations of an order introduced into art, or into a work activity as such. And in its ultimate form, the segmented A4 paper format is a symbolic representative of standards predestining our factual possibilities, shaping our perception and behaviour, and providing a basis for our imagination in the private and social dimension of life. 

The And now, finally, let’s finally turn the page exhibition can be understood as a public audit due to which the material that in the previous decade had progressively emerged at preliminary, autonomous and semi-autonomous presentations was gathered in a single place. And although the show exclusively presents drawings from the years 2009—2018, it captures Nálevka’s thinking concerning the external conditions of the organisation of human life. It is divided into three basic sections. The first one observes the subjects of the basic organisation plan and “standardised blankness” as the consequences of the adopted  art-work load. In the second section, the issue of the time invested in the drawings, and lost, comes to the fore. Finally, in the last section Nálevka abandons the point of view of an individual and with plans drawn over reproductions of books on modernist art comments on the historical and possible future social orders. 


Valentýna Janů / Salty Mascara


Fait Gallery PREVIEW, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

opening: 23. 5. 2018 at 7 pm

curator: Laura Amann


Hello dear,

Feel free to walk in. 

Sit down. 


Let the sun set on your face.

Everything is in transition.

Light becomes dark.

Your core body temperature sinks.

Words create imagery.

Let the sun guide your rhythm.

You realise the table is a chair.

Or was it  a bed.

Can you even feel the frictionless surface?

“Your living room is a cinema.”

It is real but also surreal in its dream-like fluidity.

If you feel like it, think about the following…

Sunrise paints the sky with pinks and sunset with peaches Text > Image > Text

We are inclined to assume that images are by nature static and poetry temporal. Are you really sure about this? Isn’t it so, that all media bear traces of other media and therefore are inherently mixed? Maybe it is more interesting to focus on decoding the precise dosages and ingredients of those mixtures? Think about: What is a medium made of? How do we experience it? How does it manifest itself in time and space? Which main sign system does it use?

Maybe the differences do not always lie where we think they lie.

In this sense it is interesting to think about the way we describe an image. Do you visualise or verbalise? Are you static or dynamic in your style? Do you tend to focus on spatial perception, precise localisations, detailed descriptions and use mainly nouns? Or do you focus on temporal expressions, dynamic descriptions, in short the narrative, and lots of motion verbs? Does it make a difference if the image is familiar to you? And what if somebody else had already described the image to you before? 

Ultimately it is your choice how to describe and therefore how to see.

One day, I saw the sunset forty-three times  Consciousness > Unconsciousness > Consciousness

When we dream, or rather when we remember a dream we operate at the borders of consciousness and at times in the transitions between waking and sleeping. And though typically thought to be passive and unproductive, the worlds that sleep contains and performs are worlds that inform and influence our waking lives. Though we know very little about why we need sleep, we do know it clears toxic metabolic debris, consolidates our memory and helps us learn and reorganise information accumulated while awake. 

So if sleep is a productive mode in itself in a different state of consciousness,

Is it possible that the imaginative labour of artistic practice is a form of public dreaming?

Public dreaming, that allows us to enter a liminal state of emotional transference, where we cannot differentiate intimacy from distance, ourselves from the other and familiarity from reality.

 A beautiful sunset that was mistaken for a dawn Ethics > Aesthetics > Ethics

If aesthetics has everything to do with sensation and perception through bodily feeling, good design has actually made us numb.

The smooth surfaces of modern design are there to eliminate any friction. Good design has become our anaesthetic, allowing us to prolong our liminal state of unconsciousness into waking ours. But good design was not only supposed to look like good design it was also supposed to make us ‘good’, to give us instant virtues. Good design is our antidote.

All good. 

 But who are we to need this smoothness so badly?

Your story left me with a bitter after-taste…

I hope your make-up is waterproof.


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