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 MEM, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

Curator: Jiří Ptáček

Opening: 25th October, 7 pm


Jiří Thýn (b. 1977) counts among prominent Czech post-conceptual photographers of the middle generation. Over the past twenty years, he has explored the photographic medium and its relationship to other art disciplines: objects, installations, moving images, poetry, drawing and painting. Through these "other media", however, he has always primarily employed photography as a tool that allows him empathetic, emotionally tinged and unavoidably subjective insights into the problems that he sets himself.

Jiří Thýn's works are not only reflections of the photographic medium and its relationship to other art disciplines. In fact, the photographer always strives to open up access to the subjects that he feels are topical and urgent. They are usually of a deeply personal or even existential nature. Through his own and appropriated photographs, he conducts a dialogue with himself, exclusively in the mode of an image that he allows to slip out of the safety net of conceptual thinking, like soap from wet hands. Thýn wants to act through images, since he is aware that this leads to different findings, just like a poet views reality differently from a scientist. Perhaps this is what his experiment with so-called non-narrative photography was intended to lead to in the past; in the experiment he attempted to overcome the situation aspect of photographs through the gestures of their interpretation through abstraction, specifically decontextualizations and various immediate artistic interventions. For him, photography is a true "medium" that stands between the subject and the artist, enabling him or her to combine content and emotional layers into a single artwork. 

If we were to find a common denominator of the collection that Jiří Thýn presents for the first time at the exhibition entitled Love Life, it would probably be a pictorial contemplation of the possibility and impossibility of distancing from the situations and events that surround us. Is it possible to move away from the tragedies the visual echoes of which reach us from all sides? Is it possible to ascend to the orbit of the Earth and look at everything that happens on it without bias? Is certain timelessness decent to those who live in the present? Doesn’t it make one an unsympathetic, condescending cynic?

Jiří Thýn's photographs do not give us answers because answers always silence questions. They are actually meditations on images of misfortune, death and destruction, phenomena that do not disappear, even if they take on new forms. The high resolution of the digital images offers a dangerously powerful sensory experience. But can one be dazzled by such images for their extraordinary aesthetic qualities? Or are such images meant to intensify the emotional effect, like the highly expressive and naturalistic depictions of suffering in late Gothic paintings and sculptures? Yet those were meant to turn our ancestors to God. What are these modern images meant to turn us to? The imperative in the title turns into uncertainty. Can you love life in all its manifestations, even the heartless and cruel ones? Is it humanly possible? Can one be ordered to do so? Or can it be strongly recommended? Or is Thýn just whispering these words to himself?


So love life if you can.

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