26.02.2020 - 25.07.2020

Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

Opening: 26. 2. 2020 at 7pm

Curator: Miroslav Ambroz


In my past lives, I was a hunter and a gatherer. I would always start my everyday routine
with decorating tools, weapons and creating musical instruments for myself.

1) Even though you were considered as the creator of spatial objects, in this exhibition your major emphasis is on paintings. What was the impulse?

The new atelier, where for the first time in my life, is light, space and warmth, this helped me to finally start painting. An eternity of horizons was open in front of me, together with two big travels to Columbia and Australia, I understand this happy season as staying on an abandoned island, therefore the name "Two years’ vacation".

2) In 2004 you painted large format canvases "Roads of swifts" and "Mother Earth". In the sametime frame you also painted "Chaple of Karlin", and even before that, "Envelopes" were created, therefore in your own way you are continuing with something that was created long before? 

Of course, I was already painting in the '70s during my studies. Back then I inherited very rare pigments from prof. Slánský, which I am using presently. The first time I used them was during my exhibition in Rudolfinum, when there was a need to paint something great for "Silent Hall" and a figure of the central deity arose, which is appearing in my works in different varieties. Connection with the material was always important for me. The type of work on the ground on the non-gesso canvas, together with water diluted pigments and acrylate bonds demanded this physical contact. Even in some places on the paintings, there are my footprints. 
A wall painting "Chaple of Karlin" was in somewhat a cleansing exhibition after the floods in 2002, and according to an agreement I had to turn it white. The oldest envelopes date back to 1986. The style of their decoration is connected with the style of "Third rococo" and that epoch is accumulated in my works. In the '90s I created multiple large format envelopes, which I perceived as the object/pictures having multiple-meanings and it opened an inexhaustible line packed into certain cushions, similar to guitars. This is related to my favourite non-standard formats (ovals) and adjusting large canvasses "free" without the stretcher bar.

3) What was most interesting thing about Australia?

First of all never ending space and starry skies. Five weeks, every evening by the fire in the desert. Furthermore, colours and rock paintings as old as 60 000 years. This was the first time I have seen baobabs and eucalypti that were 800 years old, which existed way before the arrival of whites... breathtaking scenery. I brought back a lot of collected materials and natural clay, with which I am painting.  Australians have a "story" for each god, they are mostly cautionary stories, which have helped to keep the tribes viable. It appears to me as there are various imaginary divinities, however, they were born from the transcultural backdrop. Something interesting is that the rock paintings and figures on it are very similar all around the world, but I am not the type who would study these things in much detail. On the other hand, I deliberately keep certain blindness, to be astonished, and I would recommend this to consumers. Those who ask too much will learn too much.

4) Some rusty images look a bit apocalyptic, did it have any specific impulse?

"Rusty images" are painted by some rusty mud from a forested swamp in West Czech. In fact, they are ferric nano-shells of microorganisms. I discovered this beautiful colour in the '70s, which came back to me now, to extract it artistically. Thematically, they partly follow the cycle of thermo-drawings "Landscapes from Timelessness" or the cycle of graphics "Giants", where the power of nature is personified into supernatural beings. People desire to witness a miracle or other paranormal acts, and we have this advantage that we can also paint them. Also, people are drawn to the aesthetic of natural disasters and the theatre of extinction. Towards the end however, the road took me elsewhere. 

5) When you were in Columbia, did you try yagé -the most renowned shamanic hallucinogen?

I don’t need to check what I suspect. I don't need to meet God. I don't want to upset him. He
could stop passing me.

The interview led Miroslav Ambroz


Alena Kotzmannová / The Last Footprint & Q: / Seconds Before…


Fait Gallery MEM, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Opening: 17. 10. 2018 at 19:00
Curator: Jiří Ptáček
The idea of their joint exhibition has circulated through the Czech cultural universe for at least a decade. From time to time, it floated close to the telescopes of major art galleries, yet was never described and named by their specialists. The complications involved in its non-execution are not interesting enough to deserve attention. However, they preceded a paradox that their joint exhibition, despite the lasting interest and a suitable opportunity, is not held this time, either.
How to understand the “+” between the titles of two neighbouring and yet individual shows? Is it just a sign for a formal coverage of two autonomous entities? Is it an atavism of the original, unexecuted intention? Both artists lead us, in a certain “unified direction”, towards speculations about the last days of mankind, to visions of the end of civilisation which does not come from the outside but is a consequence of its inherent dynamics. Like with authors of fiction, films and computer games on the postapo subject, with Kotzmannová and Q: it is also possible to place their “seconds before” and “the last traces” in relation to an imminent threat of an environmental disaster, including an ever more obvious fact that for a radical change of the course a social accord, political will or simply time are missing… Under these circumstances hope, the last resort that has got mankind through so many hopeless situations, turns against its host. 
Nonetheless, the idea of two parallel exhibitions can be understood slightly better when we take into account the temperament with which Kotzmannová and Q: approach their subjects. Alena Kotzmannová takes the stance of a melancholic observer, a traveller through a scorched landscape in which the finds of the relics of the human desire for beauty and social status resemble the finds of unusually shaped objets trouvés. The figure of the last human walking through a desert with a camera can be equally well replaced with the image of an automaton which, long after the disappearance of its creators, is still running its programme, mechanically sorting out its finds for a museum that nobody will ever visit. Kotzmannová’s relationship with the current environmental crisis is somewhat looser. It isn’t written anywhere that her photographs are not “aired” from a future so distant that the extinction of mankind occurred “spontaneously”, through wear and tear, as it were.
In contrast, Q’s attitude is different: he considers “here and now”, even “seconds before” raises the alarm, challenges the existence of plan B and the possibility of an escape. A monumental model of a rocket carrying “elsewhere” a message about mankind, as well as a diorama of a desperate family of astro-settlers are, rather paradoxically, intended as suggestive sensory perceptions, fascinating last images on the collective retina of the human race. Perhaps this is exactly what a memento should be like: visually powerful in order to emerge in the memory a second before a dystopian reality becomes the present so that we will try, for the one last time, to swerve in a final attempt to rescue ourselves.
The preservation of a certain autonomy enabled by the division of the planned joint exhibition thus does not reflect a personal (ideological or relationship-wise) dispute. It enables to fully demonstrate the difference between elegy (Kotzmannová) and lamentation (Q:), the introvert (Kotzmannová) and the extrovert principle (Q:). And yet, Kotzmannová at one point can’t resist and gatecrashes Q’s display to, at least partially, cool down his zeal. Or is the supplementing of “his” exhibition with fire extinguishers a symbol of a brake needed more by the civilisation living on Planet Earth?

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