23.05.2018 - 04.08.2018
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
opening: 23. 5. 2018 at 7 pm
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.
Fait Gallery MEM
Božetěchova Street 1 (entrance from Metodějova Street), Brno
23/1 - 13/3/2014
Opening: 23/1/2014 at 7 pm
Curators: Denisa Kujelová and Martin Nytra
Petr Nikl is an exceptional type of artist oscillating between various media as the perfect Renaissance Jack of all trades with unprecedented playfulness, naturalness and modesty. The mood of human modesty, kindness, and also a large degree of imagination, fascination by the shape and neatly defined form are a set of characteristics which gives the impression of obviousness, set up by childish, but not infantile, perspective, which makes Nikl‘s work understandable and intimate to the general public.
The author's unique and sophisticated artistic expression is influenced by his interest to master the painting techniques of the early Renaissance and Baroque periods, this manifests itself also as a reference in the deliberately exalted topics, that change apparently ordinary object into a highly unusual phenomenon with unique importance. The stylised coloured background from which, almost exclusively, the object stands out alone, creates a balanced tension between the holy and the ordinary. The atmosphere of mystery and the precise shapes of realistic expression are changed into an abstracted automatic process that isolates the subject from the practical needs of daily practise. The paramount dimension of the holy is objectified in the intimacy through the appearance of availability, but untouchability. Through this the subject becomes both ordinary and majestic. It rather turns into the scale of achievable experience. From the symbolist character of painting stenographs, the fragility and poeticism of metamorphosis and anthropologisation of plants and animals, as well as a hint of surrealism in figurative work, there is evident, except of the desire for passion, play and enchantment, also of the author's effort to find his identity.
The focus of the exhibited series of portraits of characters randomly met in the streets of New York is also based on a form of identification. However, the emphasis is not on the identification of recorded people, who form only part of the diverse spectrum of residents and participants of this cosmopolitan city, but on the identification of New York as New York. Taking the characters out of their original context, which is shown by the photographs, that are an integral part of the exhibition and are primarily used, except of the documentation of the atmosphere of the unusually mapped city, also as templates for the exhibited drawings and canvases and thanks to the neutral background their specificity is again accented, their almost bizarre appearance even more so and despite this procedure is already a sort of art license and a catalyst of a vague feeling of dreaminess and melancholy in Nikl’s work. As a result there is created a different version of stolen reality and by it‘s gentle humor, in the context of Nikl‘s work, it almost gets which for the author is not rare, the character of decently created grotesque. The result is an album of New York's houses of the bizarre, cabinets of curiosities, a manifestation of the spirit of Manhattan and it’s media charisma. By their amazement at the diversity and variety of human beings they correspond with the world of Nikl’s metamorphosis, but they are disentangled because of their real essence, as a specific kind of social studies and excursions to realities of a different cultural identity.