12.05.2021 - 14.08.2021
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curator: Barbora Kundračíková
Opening day: May 12 2021, 5 pm–9 pm
Even today, we still tend to understand a picture as an autonomous entity, a unique, final object which has a life of its own and naturally separates itself from the whole of the world. For that matter, we have spent a long time pursuing this, so it’s all good! However, there exists a close link between picture and word, including the inner ones. They belong to each other by their very nature, yet we seldom stress that the connection should be direct and, especially, generally accessible so that everybody can go through the same gateway. Then, however, there come moments when a picture communicates nothing but solidarity, shared being and one existence when the picture itself not only moves between horizons and transcends them but it is also absorbed by reality. This fully applies to Petr Veselý’s pictures. Their objectivity involves not only the time dimension but also a transcendental one.
Ernst Gombrich writes in his reflection on illusion that the power of interpretation can’t be overestimated, mentioning J. M. W. Turner whom he views as somebody who deliberately and in favour of what he sees suppresses all he knows about the world. Both are also relevant today, as we are moving on the same border of discernibility. Petr, however, turns not to what he can see but to what he can touch.
The moment of touch is magical, a touch has the power to take life and also to restore it. The laying of hands is an ancient ritual, hands radiate warmth and coolness, recognise, and in some cases also heal. The essence is always the same: the expression of craving for the original, the real, for what is genuine and to what we, at least imaginarily, return. Gombrich does that himself when talking about abstracted forms as a phenomenon of western visual culture which is certainly remarkable yet fatefully lacking any assessment rules. In Petr’s case, however, we move on the opposite side of the spectrum; a picture is an abstract, grey form, yet it is permanently striving at figuration, or evolves from it. At the sane time, what is abandoned calls for attention which is equally reversible, and the movement we perform during its recognition is thus cyclic and without memory. Echoes of objectivity are secondary, yet they have rules – and these manifest themselves in this way.
Petr’s work is about constants which regularly come to the fore. This regards both his poetry and what can be termed the natural life of things. As in a truly home environment things do not just appear but exist, they meander in forms and functions and their being has an order which also involves decline, so they are like this in the artist’s pictures, or rather, his pictures are like that. They show what a close link there is between them and the world if we deliberately insert them in the framework of our existence. Matter captivates.
Petr is aware of this, of course, otherwise he wouldn’t put so much effort into the bridging of the gap between reality and its image, between what has come to pass and what we expect. He also likes to enter this space, shaping it and summarizing it. Medieval altars in museums are the relics of other autonomous worlds, and the objects of the ordinary world devoid of their function are also like that. Naturally, this is an expression of reduction, but also concentration and (controlled) absence which, paradoxically, grows stable in its loss and thus resonates all the more its original function and talent. A hand frozen in motion, a shirt stretched in its bend moving from the field to the picture and beyond expresses this perfectly. As Ivan Blecha writes, “a reflection that the restricted position of the observer (…) leads to a restricted presentation of a thing is wrong and the statement about the necessary non-representationality of some aspects of reality, about its permanent distortion, is in fact unreasoned extrapolation.“ A picture is often the only thing left of something that once existed. It is a notch of a knife in a cupboard.
 E. H. Gombrich. Umění a iluze. Studie o psychologii obrazového znázorňování. Praha 2019, p. 235.
 In the last decades the formative task and nature of “things” has also been resumed by the western philosophical tradition, namely by Bruno Latour and object-oriented ontology (OOO).
 Ivan Blecha. Prostory zjevnosti. Dílo ve struktuře světa. Zlín 2018, p. 129.
Fait Gallery MEM, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curator: Pavel Švec
Opening day: May 12 2021, 5 pm–9 pm
Obstinately precise technical rendering accentuating detail. Emphasis on direct, sensory experience and an almost physical effect on the viewer. Continuously developed expressive handwriting inspired by personal fascination rather than by an interest in the latest trends and tendencies in contemporary art. Spectacularly shared doubts over the distinction of the borders between reality and illusion, between machine algorithms of a virtual environment and a fluid realiy which surrounds us outside the reach of the monitors and displays of our smart devices. These are the main attributes in the work of David Možný (*1963), an artist who has earned recognition thanks to his digitally animated videos and video installations.
In the artist’s series for the Fait Gallery, the core of his oeuvre shifts closer to the classic approach to a work of art, whereas in the selection of topics Možný remains consistent. An almost ubiquitous film narrative gradually becomes a mere predictor and a fragment inviting the viewer’s active participation. As if it now were the viewer that is the hero of the film and the only one able to untangle all its metaphysical, latently criminal plots. However, like, for example, in David Lynch’s films, their solving is far from unambiguous and involves an emotional level intertwined with the feelings of oppression, emptiness and pointlessness. Through his well-considered and carefully elaborated interventions into the perceived reality or its modified visualization, Možný leads the viewer out of illusory certainties and balance and reveals the disquieting fragility of our ingrained conceptions of the world which, however, defies stability. The props here do not serve as a backdrop for a plot but become the main carrier of information, the content of which oscillates between an intimate representation of a mental and emotional state and a visionary report about the state of our civilization and the world in which we live.
The moment of disquieting disjoining is encountered at the very entrance to the exhibition, as the imaginary base of what is before our eyes is not found on the floor on which we stand: the space before us splits into two alternative worlds. Somewhere in a gap between them there arises a question of the cohesion of the props in which our lives are staged, the paradoxical nature of which we have come to denote reality. Možný’s fiction thus takes us via a detour back to the problems of reality, or more precisely, to the question “where does reality take place?”. The mentioned tendencies culminate in the installation LIMBO, whose title refers to the purgatory or in a broader sense, to a state of the separation from the conventional structures of the world. Our bipolar inclinations and thought schemas collapse here before our eyes, as does the flimsy spectrum of our rational thinking.
Nonetheless, the method which Možný often employs in his works and which could be compared to the construction of theatre props is seen elsewhere at the exhibition, completely reversed. A random viewer might overlook that instead of something posing as an ordinary cardboard box (provided with the mysterious and again somewhat disquieting inscription FEAR GOD) they are in fact looking at a polychrome bronze sculpture – an exact copy of a package in which the artist, when providing material, received one of his orders from China. While props are usually mere substitutes, imitations of more noble materials and more sophisticated work procedures, here we witness the factual opposite. Our perception and reality thus clash again.
One might get the impression that the imaginary content intersection of all the pieces on show is thus a poignant conflict relationship between two (or more) parallel levels, yet we find among them one that also offers a kind of catharsis. LOVE – the last word in the diary of the writer W. S. Burroughs – is transferred here into three dimensions and accentuated with the state of permanent burning. The bluish flame seems to indicate that in a sense sharing exceeds the categories of life and death on the interface of which Burroughs’s diary entry was created. Love as the only thing able to reconcile permanent and omnipresent conflict. Neither wisdom nor experience, no holy grail, no satori, no solution... And if love doesn’t last forever? Well, then we are left to make do with anything between eternity and the blink of an eye.