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 PREVIEW
Dominican Square 10, Brno
25/6 – 28/8/2014
Opening: 24/6/2014 at 6pm
Curator: Martin Nytra
The title of the exhibition is a play with words as well. The meaning of the words, but also their rhythm, timbre of sound, and their repetitive layering are important clues to deciphering the principles of individual artifacts, and also of the whole exhibition. A wet thing is a result of the contact of a solid object with a liquid substance – a material that is characterized by its fluidity and floating. The liquid may dissolve the solid object after all, same way as a photograph spreads into new imaginary shapes and becomes independent of reality. The layering of characters and symbols, mixing of textures, fragments and fractions of broken down depiction in a liquid process of changes is similar to visual poetry and a source of many associations. Only silhouettes of the objective world remain. Skinned skin, kimono and a flying carpet are forms that act as archetypes of a thousand years old civilization, but their content constantly moves, melts, is empts out and is filled again.
Weaving, that has appeared in the author´s work only recently, can be understood as a replacement of the camera for the hands of a weaver, who ties individual fibers into yarn and layers it into the prepared texture, a point, that forms the final visual impression. That is, indeed, an imperfect copy of the reality of the eye, but filtration of the author as a living person gives to the reality a qualitatively different value. Traditional photography and handicraft weaving stand in contrast to each other, both technically and semantically. However Johana uses their mutual relationship, by which they on the other hand support each other in the way she uses both media to deconstruct their original meanings, which could be characterized as their "inventive misuse."
In all these examples we see the duality of rationally and technically controlled production of objects versus physical gesture with signs of uncertainty, which interrupts their integrity. While this is predominant in the author´s works, we can still feel the hidden presence of a contrast, with which the gesture, often in a disharmonic way, fights. But we also face the question of whether the element from the nature is also natural for the environment of technology that we are used to understanding as unoriginal and unahuthentic.