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 PREVIEW
Dominican Square 10, Brno
13/11/2013 – 10/1/2014
Opening: 12/11/2013 at 6pm
Curator: Michal Pěchouček
Katarina Hládeková focuses her work on the magic of depicting, the conditions and mechanisms of vision, which she closely, but still intuitively, reveales through photographs, sculptures and installations. She deals with relationships between the subject and the technical image using only minimal resources. For her frugal and clear visual pieces she typically discovers clever ways to assess the potential plastic qualities of the plain white Bristol-board that she uses for producing most of her models for direct presentation or subsequent documentation.
For the Fait Gallery Katarina Hládeková has prepared an open cycle, where, as the name of the exhibition suggests, the phenomenon of fire rules. It is not an objective study, but rather that of uncovered poetic dreaming about the dangerously ambivalent, but mainly creative element. Hládeková respects fire as a dynamic and archetypal power. Her dreaming turns, with a certain nostalgia, to a fight, which seems to be finished a long time ago, to the very history of the technical image, the techniques of film and the dawn of the photographic media. That’s why the greatest emphasis in the images and objects is put on the localisation of the light source, shadow and it’s reflection, and also on the mechanism of imaging, photo montage, or the projection of moving images by praxinoscope. The references to pre-cinematic technologies, however, never become more important than the depicted object itself. Into the imaginary and carefully closed lab of this artist the outer reality penetrates only marginally through a small and carefully open gap. The depiction is as if defined by changed perspectives and the shifted scale of the whole item and details. We can see it all in a sort of closed environment where we find traces of the running processes and open forms.
Through this exhibition Hládeková steps slightly aside from the principles of museum or definitive framings and adjustments, that we, as her audience, are used to. It offers us a more authentic insight into her current creative workshop, because this time she has arranged the exhibition with much more spontaneity and left the relationships between objects in study in the germinating stage. Despite the conscious possibility of some disorder, her view remains acute, revealing and complete. Chaos is omitted. In the long term Hládeková sees chaos as a quality of a rather extreme nature. In words of the poet Paul Valéry: Any diversion is fatal, the artifact is destroyed. If the fire is too moderate or flames too much, it brings disaster on it’s whim .....