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
21/9 – 27/10/2012
Opening: 20/9/2012 at 7pm
Curator: Petr Vaňous
Richard Stipl’s work is primarily fulfilling of critical relationship to the genre and what it represents. Genres are not viewed from a distance, with no contact, from a safe distance, but to the contrary. The author himself puts on a mask of a genre to be able to play on of the selected roles. The important thing is to get inside the problem, to places where the first moments of narration occur, the first words of narration, to places where the dead matter changes in subjects and bodies, where it can communicate something.
History of art studied the human body literally from all sides. What else is left to exploit from it today? Probably the same thing, but in a different way. It will not be the cult of physicality, titanic strength and health anymore. It will not even be erotic attraction or metaphor of divinity, the healthy spirit in a healthy body. This version is heretically rejected by Stipl and exacerbates physicality in a different direction, toward repulsion. He explores the expressive range of the face. Anywhere from resting state to states of exaltation and aggression. Gesture deforms. It changes the composition of matter, shortens or lengthens physiognomy, caricatures all seriousness, transforming the face into grimace. There is something very conniving here. Transformation of a human into some kind of a puppet, in a silent actor, in a sad clown or a circus clown. The sadness is multiplied when the composition of bold human dummies executes an ugly ritual. When the limbs are being shortened, the viscera are being exposed and there is blood everywhere. Nudity is not attractive. In the case of Richard Stipl, it is scary. The parody of the genre in put into details, not only in gestures. Head devoid of hair and eyebrows has elongated hybrid eyelashes, sometimes even braided into dreadlocks (Stigma). Elsewhere, the author does not hesitate to separate the head and arms and make them into independent totem-like elements (Ruce), or to place on the head of a statue real denture. Naturalism of most statues stems from used materials: wax and surface polychrome. The author seeks by all means to ensure that the statue does not serve the myth. The more it is obvious the evocation of the fact that it’s impossible to escape from the myth and that we still remain its hostages. Its persistent echoes are seeping through everywhere. It only reveals its reverse, dark side. The mere gesture of closed eyes remains forever full of mysteries and secrets.
If this exhibition is called Pocit konce / Sense of an End, then let’s imagine this “end” more like a repetitive and never-ending Promethean ritual. Recurrent pain, followed by recurrent relief. The desire for definitive death that will never be fulfilled. Genre is breaking down on metaphor. The metaphor is not the death of the genre, even if we wished it thousand times. It is impossible to start again from zero.