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."



Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

Curator: Denisa Kujelová

Opening: 25th October, 7 pm


The early work of Jiří Hilmar (*1937) was marked by the art trends of the time, especially the principles of Concretism[1] (whose club[2] he co-founded in Czechoslovakia in 1967), as well as by the activation of the viewer, the processuality of perception and the thematization of movement. Kinetic objects in the form of mechanical machines and objects working with light sources and shadow effects[3]  were followed by several years of the artist's thorough investigation of the phenomenon of mobile procedural perception in paper reliefs folded into optical structures. These mostly square formats of various sizes produced an optical illusion through the movement of the observer and the change of his or her position in relation to the work, thus transforming the visual qualities of the surface.

In the square, whose shape the artist saw as an ideal anonymous form[4]  referring to the ideas of Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich or Victor Vasarely, he created structures in various systems according to mathematical principles and seriality from horizontally, vertically and diagonally arranged monochrome or multicolour strips of folded and, in many cases, also incised paper. The opto-kinetic principle was achieved by varying the height of the strips, their shape, the method and degree of their bending, the method of perforation, and also the shape and colour of the tempera used for individual fragments (most often circles and their sections). The variation of contrasts and intersections continued after his emigration to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1969, where he settled for more than 40 years.

The active involvement of the viewer was also part of the next cycle of works which were defined by a system of overlapping vertical strips or strings. In this new structural plan, in which one of the elements was always firmly attached to the base and the other hung freely above it, the works could again be set in motion, now literally, by the participation of the observer. Parallel to this, in the 1970s the artist created monochromes from layered tracing paper, fixed to canvas or wooden boards, most often also in square formats. The individual layers of transparent paper were only recognizable by their deliberate distortion with various types of creasing, perforation, rippling and gradations or variations of the repetitive regular patterns of the collaged fragments.

After moving to the Halfmannshof art colony in Gelsenkirchen in 1974, located in the heavily devastated landscape of the Ruhr area, Hilmar naturally moved towards environmental issues. In addition to paper, he began to incorporate into his reliefs natural materials such as jute, wax, kaolin and also wood, in the form of sticks and matchsticks. In the 1980s, when nature became an equal co-agent in his work, and creative intervention in natural processes started to prevail in his work, he turned permanently to a single material - wood. He partially dismantled the original autonomous shapes of branches and trunks and then reconstructed them by rejoining, tying or crossing them into new units of wooden objects and installations. He deliberately interfered in the originally round found fragments of trees in an invasive and openly completely contradictory square manner followed by a final gesture of re-rounding, in order to manifest the oneness of man and nature, which he sought in his work and life. 



HILMAR, Jiří, VÍCHOVÁ, Ilona, HIEKISCH-PICARD, Sepp. Jiří Hilmar/ Adagio. Praha, Museum Kampa – Nadace Jana a Medy Mládkových, 2015.

POHRIBNÝ, Arsen. Klub konkrétistů po dvaceti letech. In: Revue K, 1988–89, nos. 32–33.

“Optické reliéfy“ Jiřího Hilmara, Rozhlas, ČRo 3 – Vltava, Mozaika, 24 February 2011.

[1] The principles of Concretism were defined in interwar art by Theo van Doesburg, who first used and coined the term in 1930, and later in the 1930s by Max Bill, the main promoter of this art movement. De Stijl, the Bauhaus, and also the Russian avant-garde were followed in the 1950s by the activities of the Swiss neo-concretists led by Richard Paul Lohse, and partly by kinetic art in the Düsseldorf Zero movement, the GRAV group in Paris, the Gruppo N in Padua and the Gruppo T in Milan.

[2] Together with Tomáš Rajlich, Radoslav Kratina, Miroslav Vystrčil and the art theorist Arsén Pohribný he co-founded the KK/CC - The Concretists’ Club (9 May 1967 - ca. 1972), whose activities were followed by the new KK2 in 1997 and KK3 in 2007.

[3] In this context it is also worth mentioning hydro-kinetic objects from 1974.

[4]Optické reliéfy“ Jiřího Hilmara, Rozhlas, ČRo 3 – Vltava, Mozaika, 24 February 2011.

Go back