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 (entrance from Metodějova Street), Brno
23/11/2013 – 16/1/2014
Opening: 21/11/2013 at 7pm
Curator: Jiří Ptáček
Fait Gallery has given Tomáš Bárta space MEM exactly one year after the arrangement of his solo exhibition Softcore. During this time however Bárta went through a period of major review of his actual means of expression. Softcore was concluded with paintings, where he openly joined the modernist aesthetic. This was followed by simplifying the complicated abstract tangles and formulation of plainer geometric designs, which started to reflect the inspiration by descriptive geometry, ancient order and constructivism. The emphasis on painting as a derivative of the past turned Bárta's attention to archaeological metaphors that are actually applied in methods of layering, penetrating and revealing.
The curator of Softcore exhibition, Jan Zálešák, in the text toSoftcore exhibition correctly emphasized the gradual "sedimentation" and "a move in aslow-growing set of elements" in the artistic development of Tomáš Bárta. One year later, in front of new pictures, we can say that they are the most radical turning point in the author's production so far, but we can also note that Bárta’s production has not left the territory he had previously explored. While the exhibiton At some point, in the moment of a strange flash, I wake up and change the direction of my fall in the Gallery Down in Ostrava during the spring of this year, captured the crystallisation of Bárta's new artistic opinion, in the collection of middle size formats from Things You Can‘n Delete we can already see a developed spectrum of new themes and techniques. The driving factor in these works is Bárta‘s selfawareness of his own roots in the modernistic tradition. At the same time the fragmented layouts of picture compositions started to integrate. On the new paintings therefore the same principle repeats over and over again - the structural priming influences the form of the surface coating and the whole composition completed by a dominant feature in the foreground.
Jan Zálešák related the characteristics of Bárta’s development to the period after graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno. Preimage of his present production is to be found in the distant past - the last two to three years of study in the painting studio of Petr Kvíčala. That was when Bárta first transmuted his inspiration by building constuctions, protoarchitecture and remains of building activity in concise abstract morphology. And that's when a "dominant element", a "material body" appeared in this paintings, from which the whole picture is developed or to which the rest of the picture aims. Pictures from Things You Can‘t Delete are, in this respect, Bárta’s first return to this source, although included in new contexts.
The name of the exhibition encounters the content of collective and personal memory in Bárta's work. There are things that can not be erased, which can not be avoided and to which we always return. It's not always a matter of will. French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan distinguished between the object of desire and the cause of desire. His interpreter Slavoj Žižek described this distinction as follows: "While the object of the desire is simply an object that we desire, the cause of the desire is a specific feature, for which we desire this object (a detail which we usually are not aware of and sometimes we even see it as a barrier, as the characteristic,despite which we desire the object)." In the pictures from Things You Can‘t Delete we surprisingly find rather the cause of desire than it‘s objects. The point is not so much in the themes of bars and sailyards or methods of layering and scratching but rather in the features and details that make him to paint these themes this way - again, repeatedly and moving forward by returning.