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 (enstrance from Metodějova Street), Brno
31/5 – 11/9/2014
Curator: Jiří Pátek
Ivan Pinkava is interested in categories and contents that are found at the very roots of Western civilization. The way we understand them and how we accept it´s different forms (that are reflected in our spiritual and material existence) form for him a mental interface, through which it is possible to reach the area where our consciousness is formed. The iconography of pictures and the way the author presents his own work, oscillates around the core of man with almost obsessive intensity. Despite this touching point it can not be said that Pinkava´s pictures are easy to understand for the audience. They do not shout their question: who are we? within the general discursus.
The author's thinking and work are intentionally out of this discursus, with the clear intention to avoid it´s coercive. They are being implemented deeper. Pinkava has never internally accepted the possibility of reducing the human society into a network of utilitarian relationships in the form the prophets of postmodernism have tried to import into the current discursus. All the feelings of emptiness, demons and anxiety that can be seen flashing through his photographs have their origin in the consciousness of being involved and connected to the power greater than each individual. This is not a position to which anyone can be put just by their own will, which gives even somehow a different meaning to practises that are based on such a position.
To emphasize this fact whilst talking about Ivan Pinkava has good reason. Sophisticated iconography full of references and quotations from key texts and works of art, from which we derive our identity as a civilization, would encourage to mark the author as a postmodern artist. For this, however, as has just been indicated, we lack more groundwork. In some way, this can also be seen in the collection of photographs called Remains, through which Pinkava, in 2012, reflected his last creative period. Next to the well known variations of depicting the body and physicality he also involved to a significant degree images of quite ordinary things. The connections that the animate and inanimate objects formed seem to re-confirm facts that those who know the artist's entire artwork must have guessed a long time ago.
Ivan Pinkava has always been trying to check fine distinctions, finding the breaking points and passages within which it is possible to receive qualitatively different things through identical categories. In the exhibition prepared for Fait Gallery dominate photographs from recent years, which, as a novelty, stimulate the audience to follow the presented art works without being laden with every day schemes. But what is perhaps more important is that they also encourage thoughts about where else Pinkava´s interest about the archeology of mentality of the Western man can go. Because the stylization, that he has chosen for some subjects of daily needs, comes to the very limits of conceptual communication. For the recipient ready to be guided by the label and then encrypt sophisticated coding, to which he is used to with the author of Pinkava´s intellectual level, must be the mechanism of being first dragged by the image area, and long after that the ordinary reading mechanisms start, a pleasant change. This change must also have the equivalent somewhere deep in the author's thinking.