23.02.2022 - 14.05.2022
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Exhibition design, artistic collaboration: David Fesl
Graphic design of the book and pendants: Daniela & Linda Dostálková, Sonni Scheuringer
Text: Marek Pokorný
Opening: 23. 2. 2022, 7 pm
I’ll do something somehow
The most remarkable, for some perhaps somewhat old-fashioned but at the same time unusually topical aspect of Lenka Vítková's work is its emblematic nature. However, not in the art-history sense of the word when an image is directly linked with a text in a single sign unit which contains a gnomic title, allegorical representation and an epigram revealing the meaning of the enigmatic title and the even more enigmatic representation. In her case, the emblem is more appropriately understood as a metaphor for a variety of rather personal tactics and artistic strategies in uncovering meaning by obscuring it, and a multifaceted manifestation of the unity of poetry and image.
It is therefore not a literary extension of a work of art, or, conversely, of the imagery of texts but, first and foremost, a condensation of lived experience that allows the artist to perform meaning through a multi-directional exchange between the seen, the thought and the written, an exchange conducted through words, a spatial intervention, sound or moving image, a painterly gesture or the selection and processing of a specific material - in recent years, for example, plaster, which is not just the basis for painting etudes but also comes into play as a visually and haptically active thing-sign. The title of Lenka Vítková's current exhibition and the accompanying publication, First Book of Emblems, is therefore an explicit acknowledgement of the principle of her creative practice, as well as the artist’s suggestion of how the viewer (and the reader) could approach them.
Waving, circling, approaching and receding, leaning, walking, falling. Transformation. A meaning created by the movement of words and the action of the painted surface, by an image related to a sentence. A meaning emerging from the image following a sentence, from a sound or film sequence as a transposition of a word or image. Lenka Vítková's approach to her work is typified by a special kind of civility and ability to speak for herself in relation to the emerging whole of the world through subjects whose prospective banality is cancelled not only by the mentioned emblematic nature but in recent years predominantly by working on the painting, painting as a still-effective way of showing what I mean. Clues which are obviously distilled starting points include not only signs, abstract patterns and abstracted realities or objects and configurations of the seen - glimpsed, but also objects, body fragments and figures. Yet it is always about the whole. Indeed, the subtle objectivity of the subject with which Lenka Vítková is currently working is accompanied at every step by her ability to share much broader contexts, more like a condition than an explanation of the present ones, which make the choice even more significant. Or, last but not least, there is that unsentimental way in which the artist, through painterly means, lays out and activates the surface in order to keep in play the affective qualities of the creative process and their sources.
If Lenka Vítková's works and exhibitions sometimes make the sympathetic viewer feel slightly dizzy, it is due to the continuous stream of exchange between seeing and intellectual work. Her art (she is an exceptional colourist among painters of her generation and beyond) amplifies and intensifies the feeling of the viewer's physical presence in front of the painting or in its space, while at the same time giving meaning to the actual experience that the recipient is undergoing in a difficult-to-convey state of consciousness. One aspect of this type of artistic experience (emphasized by the tradition of modernism) is the result of long-standing exercises through which we still, albeit rarely, and then with a certain suspicion that we are definitely missing something, master the dialectical relationship in which the self and the universe, immediacy and mediation, subjectivity and impersonality, or tradition and its unique fulfilment, can be found. Although we can speculate about what the postmodern emancipation of the sign universe has made possible for the artist and which line of modernist subjective universalism she may be following, the artist herself has described her art practice most accurately: “I’m coming,/ don't know what I’m bringing./ I’ll start somewhere,/ I’ll do something somehow./ Some things the material will do on its own. The gestures I own.”
Text: Marek Pokorný
The project was financially supported by the City of Brno and Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.
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.