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 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.