01.06.2022 - 30.07.2022
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curators: Denisa Kujelová and Jiří Ptáček
Opening: 1. 6. 2022, 7 pm
In the exhibition project of the versatile visual artist Petr Nikl, his creative approaches intertwine in a vast imaginative garden - a kind of ecosystem of moving and seemingly static organisms cultivated by the artist, but at the same time partially self-grown, much to his delight.
Petr Nikl is one of the few Czech artists who need little introduction to the cultural public. Almost everyone will remember some of his exhibitions, a painting, drawing or print, an exhibition project he initiated, a music recording, a concert, a theatre play or a performance or, for example, a book for adults and children he wrote and illustrated. However, it is not this multi-faceted and decades-long presence of Petr Nikl in our cultural space that makes him an unmistakeable and a rather unique figure. Indeed, this presence would not be worth talking about and would be just mindless hyperactivity were it not characterized by the imaginative poetics with which the artist draws us into a fascinating space of fantasy and play.
If we were to sum up what Nikl communicates to his viewers and listeners, it would probably be a non-violently subversive impact on the consensus of dignified and pragmatic adulthood which creates a wall of restrictions and a hard-to-fulfil desire to break it, and Nikl's ability to indicate, through the outcomes of his work, a path towards the fuller experiencing of the multi-layered and mysterious nature of existence that spreads underneath the veneer of the mundane and the superficial absorption of reality.
Nikl co-founded his puppet theatre company Mehedaha as early as 1985. At that time, he was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where intermedia fusions or performative forms in visual art were not discussed and taught. In accordance with the ideas of the cultural nomenclature of the period about clearly defined fields for the individual artistic disciplines, they were not even considered potentially enriching.However, he soon found kindred spirits among the members of the Tvrdohlaví art group which made its first public appearance in 1987, with understanding not only for artistic activity but also for self-realization in music and theatre. Yet only in Nikl’s case involving the wide spectrum of image, sound, language and body did it become the basis of all creative activities.
Like the performances of Nikl's plays where his visual sensitivity is strongly applied, many of his art projects are determined by the performative and procedural aspects of art. This is by no means limited to paintings which are executed by mechanical machines with the artist's assistance, often in the presence of the audience. This is also true, for example, of his recent works on paper in which he explores new possibilities by dipping rolls of paper in paint in anticipation of (again) only partially predictable results. Randomness and spontaneity help the artist to cross the horizon of his own imagination and provide him with the possibility of wonder at the resulting image. They are not far from Nikl’s drawing method in which his skill taps unconscious sources and the drawing is thus "let" grow out of contents which otherwise remain inaccessible. In them, too, Nikl is merely a participant who does not have a hundred-percent control over what kind of treasure his mind and hands will bring.
The exhibition in the Fait Gallery is rooted in the metaphor of a flower bed. While a garden is associated with a branching cultural symbolism, the flower bed as its sub-component is only a kind of working subject. Under normal circumstances it is cultivated and maintained in a state where it serves well the greater whole or a given purpose which, depending on the intentions of the grower, is either ornamental or utilitarian. A flower bed that is not weeded and consequently wild is a sign of neglect, while care is characterized by a high degree of restriction and control over what can take place in this demarcated area. In contrast, Peter Nikl lets his imaginary flower beds overgrow in anticipation of the unsuspected and surprising. For him, they are not what he carefully prepares and then follows a plan but a combined activity of plants, soil, sunshine, rain, insects, earthworms, moles and other elements that enter into the process. The flower beds - not dissimilar to stretched canvases or sheets of paper because of their limits - are thus filled with actions that we can only partially observe. And anticipate even less.
Thanks to this, they can turn into fascinating revelations which, through their self-organization and somewhat "disorganized organization" take us beyond (or "under") an objective and clear understanding of reality, to its massive organicity and complexity that is never fully graspable. And yet, this "big" takes place in the encounter with something as "small"... as a flower bed, a drawing or a painted image.
Text: Jiří Ptáček
Božetěchova 1, Brno
22/3 – 16/5/2014
Opening: 20/3/2014 at 7pm
Curator: Denisa Kujelová
The Collector's cycle that Fait Gallery prepares in cooperation with other private collectors in the Czech Republic and abroad, offers the possibilityti the public for insight into the private collections that have never yet been made public. In comparison to classic single artisto r group exhibitions, there is of course, a change in the perspective for the viewer and the art works are also able to be perceived in the overal context of collection. For some very large collections there will be, depending in specific situations, selected key works of the collection or there will be selected examples to demonstrate the width of the collector's interest.
The name ONE MOMENT refers to the uniqueness of the moment and at the same time to the frailty of the relatively short period of time when the collections, mainly bought directly from artists' studios and are therefore (except for a very few exceptions) so far unpublished, become published and then again dissapear from the reach of a wider audience.
The story of the first collection belonging to a married couple in Brno and shows virtuous the classical model of collectong on personal level. For the two art loving partners it was crucial to meet a Brno collector who then became their artistic mentor. The profile of this extensive collection, growing for almost four decades is not determined by a period, groups, medium (although it should be appreciated that this is more of classic mediums) or other fixed criteria, although initially there might have been some logical intent.
It's first acquisitions are works of the original members of Group 42, especially Bohumír Matal, František Gross, Jiří Kolář amd Kamil Lhoták, from the seventies, when the collecion of a young couple started. Bohumír Matal, one of the closest family friends of the couple, is especially widely represented in the collection over two decades. Another possible fixed point in the collecton is the representation of numerous members of UB 12, mainly Adriena Šimotová, Alena Kučerová and especially the Janouškovi couple. The large representation of the couple's works of art shows the personal level of relationship they have with the authors and their partners with whom the couple kept and still maintain close frindships that are also incribed by dedications on the reverse of some art pieces.
The collection has been build based on contacts, referrals and visits to studios, especially in the context of Brno, byt visits to Prague studios were no exception as well as acquisitions from abroad. Clearly at it's core are pieces from the seventies and notably the collection continues to the present day, and, although the couple does not have much room, they still follow their passion for collecting and carry on buying art works for their extensive collection.
The selected pieces in this presentation of the couple's collection (anonymous as requested by the owners) were therefore chosen to represent the whole range from initial acquisition to current purchases and to demonstrate the extent of thr mediums ad particular painting, drawing and sculptural approaches collected thus far.