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
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.