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 (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.