26.02.2020 - 25.07.2020
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Opening: 26. 2. 2020 at 7pm
Curator: Miroslav Ambroz
In my past lives, I was a hunter and a gatherer. I would always start my everyday routine
with decorating tools, weapons and creating musical instruments for myself.
1) Even though you were considered as the creator of spatial objects, in this exhibition your major emphasis is on paintings. What was the impulse?
The new atelier, where for the first time in my life, is light, space and warmth, this helped me to finally start painting. An eternity of horizons was open in front of me, together with two big travels to Columbia and Australia, I understand this happy season as staying on an abandoned island, therefore the name "Two years’ vacation".
2) In 2004 you painted large format canvases "Roads of swifts" and "Mother Earth". In the sametime frame you also painted "Chaple of Karlin", and even before that, "Envelopes" were created, therefore in your own way you are continuing with something that was created long before?
Of course, I was already painting in the '70s during my studies. Back then I inherited very rare pigments from prof. Slánský, which I am using presently. The first time I used them was during my exhibition in Rudolfinum, when there was a need to paint something great for "Silent Hall" and a figure of the central deity arose, which is appearing in my works in different varieties. Connection with the material was always important for me. The type of work on the ground on the non-gesso canvas, together with water diluted pigments and acrylate bonds demanded this physical contact. Even in some places on the paintings, there are my footprints.
A wall painting "Chaple of Karlin" was in somewhat a cleansing exhibition after the floods in 2002, and according to an agreement I had to turn it white. The oldest envelopes date back to 1986. The style of their decoration is connected with the style of "Third rococo" and that epoch is accumulated in my works. In the '90s I created multiple large format envelopes, which I perceived as the object/pictures having multiple-meanings and it opened an inexhaustible line packed into certain cushions, similar to guitars. This is related to my favourite non-standard formats (ovals) and adjusting large canvasses "free" without the stretcher bar.
3) What was most interesting thing about Australia?
First of all never ending space and starry skies. Five weeks, every evening by the fire in the desert. Furthermore, colours and rock paintings as old as 60 000 years. This was the first time I have seen baobabs and eucalypti that were 800 years old, which existed way before the arrival of whites... breathtaking scenery. I brought back a lot of collected materials and natural clay, with which I am painting. Australians have a "story" for each god, they are mostly cautionary stories, which have helped to keep the tribes viable. It appears to me as there are various imaginary divinities, however, they were born from the transcultural backdrop. Something interesting is that the rock paintings and figures on it are very similar all around the world, but I am not the type who would study these things in much detail. On the other hand, I deliberately keep certain blindness, to be astonished, and I would recommend this to consumers. Those who ask too much will learn too much.
4) Some rusty images look a bit apocalyptic, did it have any specific impulse?
"Rusty images" are painted by some rusty mud from a forested swamp in West Czech. In fact, they are ferric nano-shells of microorganisms. I discovered this beautiful colour in the '70s, which came back to me now, to extract it artistically. Thematically, they partly follow the cycle of thermo-drawings "Landscapes from Timelessness" or the cycle of graphics "Giants", where the power of nature is personified into supernatural beings. People desire to witness a miracle or other paranormal acts, and we have this advantage that we can also paint them. Also, people are drawn to the aesthetic of natural disasters and the theatre of extinction. Towards the end however, the road took me elsewhere.
5) When you were in Columbia, did you try yagé -the most renowned shamanic hallucinogen?
I don’t need to check what I suspect. I don't need to meet God. I don't want to upset him. He
could stop passing me.
The interview led Miroslav Ambroz
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.