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 & 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.