11.10.2017 - 13.01.2018
Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
11. 10. 2017 - 13. 1. 2018
Opening: 11. 10. 2017 at 19:00
Curators: Beata Jablonská, Denisa Kujelová and Jana Písaříková
The arrival of conceptual art in the early 1970s was associated with the shift of interest from aesthetic and material qualities of artworks towards personal, social, historical and often also theoreticizing contexts. In contrast to the art scene in the West, the conceptual approach of artists in Czechoslovakia was motivated by a more personal search for the essence of the relationship between artist and art, at the artistic level as well as the political-ethical, social or even ecological level. The turn towards conceptual art was thus not viewed as dematerialization and iconoclastic efforts but, rather, as a utopian escape from the official, state-controlled culture. It provided the artists with a free space which they worked with a wide range of media and subjects.
The exhibition “CS CONCEPTUAL ART OF THE 70s” charts the trends that were first distinctly employed in the art of ideas, records of projects and actions in the late 1960s and faded in the early 1980s. It presents different forms of conceptual work with drawing and photography, conceptual art exploring the relationship between type and image, and also futurological, action and environmental projects.
The exhibition observes, through its interconnected themes, the closeness of the Czech and Slovak art scenes that have been approached, since the breakup of Czechoslovakia, as two separate entities. The exhibition concept is rooted in a quest for their intersections and joint points of departure. Never in the history of Czech and Slovak art was the need for a mutual dialogue cultivated and developed as much as in the 1970s.
WORD AND SIGN AS A CONCEPTUAL MESSAGE
While concrete poetry of the 1960s reduced the semantic component of language to a minimum, the 1970s saw the return to its meaning. Words were placed in contrast with other types of communication in the form of pictograms, pictorial symbols and numerals, which resulted in a tension between different types of representations.
Graphic music with its formalized language came to the fore in the 1970s. Visual and acoustic art was produced both by musicians active in the field of new music and artists who observed the visual order and the semantic potential of musical scores.
GEOMETRY, ORDER AND ITS DISRUPTION
Under the influence of conceptual art, the geometry of the body, space, area and form grew more sensitive and started to involve aspects placed by the modernist order outside its boundaries. It became a platform for interventions challenging the distinctive nature of geometrical compositions, the relationship between order and randomness, while being enriched with a social, anthropological and political dimension.
ART AS A RECORD AND EXPERIENCE OF EXISTENCE, PERSONAL RITUALS, INTROSPECTION
Reflections of everyday activities and gestures, perception of their stereotypical nature and escape from it in the form of ritual and through the intense experience of one’s existence. Reflections of a person’s immediate surroundings and the passing of time.
REFERENCES TO THE RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE, CONCEPTUALIZATION OF PAINTING, DRAWING AND POINT ZERO OF A PICTURE
Search for the point zero of a picture, a moment when the invisible becomes visible. The picture medium refers to itself, to its area, colour and matter. It makes its elementary properties present or, conversely, induces their gradual dematerialization. Frequent references to the black square, an important symbol of the Russian avant-garde, to the belief that the art experience leads to a more intense perception of reality.
PROJECTS, MANUALS, INSTRUCTIONS, OBSERVATIONS AND COSMOLOGY
The emancipation efforts of art in the sense of exploiting scientific and rational thinking are, to a certain degree, subversive as they apply a pseudo-scientific language even to the phenomena of a personal, spiritual and transcendental character. The artists were inspired and fascinated by scientific progress, by the language of natural sciences and statistics.
NATURE AS A MEDIUM, EXPLORATION OF THE LAWS OF PHYSICS, NATURE AND ZEN BUDDHISM, EPHEMERAL MATERIAL DEMONSTRATIONS, ENVIRONMENTAL SUBJECTS
The natural environment as a place where one can hide from the estranged and impersonal urban space, a territory beyond the state’s control, a place suitable for art activities. Many of them echoed ecological and ethical issues that were frequent subjects of unofficial discussions and meetings.
CARTOGRAPHY AS AN INSTRUMENT OF RECORDING A PERSONAL JOURNEY
Artists appropriated the rationalizing language of topological drafts, plans and maps, and through them made visible phenomena and spatial relations that cannot otherwise be mediated to the human perception. They emphasise the objective and factual aspect of real phenomena; at the same time, they lend validity to those that have a utopian character.
In the 1970s, artists’ books became alternatives for gallery and exhibition rooms. With the post medium, they were among the key ways of mediating and distributing conceptual art. In addition, many artists pushed through their work the very limits of the definition of books. They created books-objects, accentuated the haptic qualities of paper and the principles of browsing, and made the reading process complicated. Conceptual art of the 1970s was often the subject of personal communication between the artist and the recipient, or a group of friends.
QUOTATIONS, INTERPRETATIONS, APPROPRIATIONS
Interest in the analysis of the art medium, its intellectual reflection. The hierarchy between original and copy was disrupted in favour of the concept of art as a changing structure open to interpretations. The majority of artworks produced as quotations are actually visual reflections on the functioning and continuity of art and its lasting values.
Artists represented at the exhibition: Milan Adamčiak, Karel Adamus, Vladimír Ambroz, Peter Bartoš, Juraj Bartusz, Ján Budaj, Pavel Büchler, Robert Cyprich, Hugo Demartini, Milan Dobeš, Ľubomír Ďurček, Rudolf Fila, Stano Filko, Daniel Fischer, Peter Graham, Milan Grygar, Sonny Halas, Olaf Hanel, Vladimír Havlík, Vladimír Havrilla, Pavel Holouš, Dalibor Chatrný, Jozef Jankovič, Ivan Kafka, Olga Karlíková, Michal Kern, Martin Klimeš, Svatopluk Klimeš, Milan Knížák, J. H. Kocman, Július Koller, Vladimír Kordoš, Inge Kosková, Jan Kotík, Jiří Kovanda, Milan Kozelka, Miloš Laky, Milan Lasota, Dáša Lasotová, Otis Laubert, Milan Maur, Juraj Meliš, Karel Miler, Jan Mlčoch, Alex Mlynárčik, Marian Mudroch, Eduard Ovčáček, Květa Pacovská, Marian Palla, Vladimír Popovič, Pavel Rudolf, Tomáš Ruller, Jan Ságl, Zorka Ságlová, Rudolf Sikora, Jan Steklík, Miloš Šejn, Petr Ševčík, Petr Štembera, Ivan Štěpán, Margita Titlová Ylovsky, Monogramista T.D/Dezider Tóth, Jiří Valoch, Jan Wojnar, Ján Zavarský, Jana Želibská
Fait Gallery & Fait Gallery MEM
Božetěchova Street 1 (entrance from Metodějova Street), Brno
28/9 – 14/11/2013
Opening: 26/9/2013 at 7pm
Curator: Denisa Kujelová
In his conceptual work Marek Meduna demonstrates ambiguity in the norms of human perception and the apparent definitions are deliberately disturbed by the linking of, or even the blurring of the border between language and image. The viewer, similarly to the model of medieval art, i.e. the production and subsequent perception, becomes a reader. A semantic game in the relation between text and pictorial motif, illustrating and illustrated, is further supported in the reading of the artwork by questioning the conventions of installing, various combinations and the accumulation of metaphors, symbols and attributes. As clues for the reader, except for the artworks themselves (they often contain text boxes as well), there are the descriptive labels, that are often changed into artistic video installations, which are works of art in themselves, and of course there are the titles of the exhibits. The interpretation of mutual connections and parallels intended by the author ultimately lead to their decoding. The overall impression of the carefully thought-out design is actually helped by intuitive arrangement and a chain of set out principles and themes.
The author's statement is intentionally directed semantically only in part. His resignation to a full understanding of the artist's intent, supported by multiple meanings of the particular artifacts used in the installation and hidden associations and connections, allows the reader complete interpretive freedom. In this challenging narrative Meduna only sketchily applied the main theme of the exhibition (which is an offence) in different paradigms, and presents a possible line of a detective story, which should, however, as well as it's reality, principle and form remain unreadable. Therefore the construction of the story is intentionally fragmented, the characters of the detective, the victim and the offender are interchangeable and the symbolism of variations and suggested motives and attributes of the characters unclear. By breaking down the canvases into horizontal, vertical and diagonal patterns and spreading most of the drawings into bands he additionally creates an impression of a celluloid movie, which has resulted (as well as a partial absence of perspectives) into impeaching of the reality of the offered event and also the possibility of distance and detachment. Any evocation of cinematic sequences is enhanced by close-ups of objects functioning as possible signs to reveal the core of the story and by repeating motifs of the used symbolism in the consequential reading of the drawings and their possible order. Iconographic patterns of crime are derived from the author's subconscious and are shown also in the form of details and the locations of particular objects in a site-specific installation, where there are repeated the symbols of traps, baits, lures, slings and boobytraps along with motifs of investigation, searching, tracking and wandering in different plans.
In the second room we move from the detective plots of the fragmentary presented story and drawings with encrypted personal messages into general levels of ethical and philosophical categories. Through the demonstration of concepts of balance, causality, fatality, and categorization as well as others, the author encodes via acrostic the word Europe and clearly refers to Aristotle and Immanuel Kant, and their theories of causation. It is clear that the work of Marek Meduna is based on the specific humor coming from a semiotic play with meanings and through this exhibition the audience will be intentionaly caught in the schemes of their own imagination.