Vladimír Kokolia

The Essential Kokolia

 
Alena Kotzmannová & Q:

The Last Footprint / Seconds Before…

 
Nika Kupyrova

No More Mr Nice Guy

 
Markéta Othová

1990–2018

 
Valentýna Janů

Salty Mascara

 
Jan Merta

Return

 
Radek Brousil & Peter Puklus

Stupid

 
Milan Grygar

LIGHT, SOUND, MOTION

 
Svätopluk Mikyta

Ornamentiana

 
Denisa Lehocká

Luno 550

 
Eva Rybářová

KURT HERMES

 
Christian Weidner a Lukas Kaufmann

ERASE/REWIND

 
Markéta Magidová

TERTIUM NON DATUR

 
Tomáš Bárta

EXTERNAL SETUP

 
Václav Stratil

LANDSCAPES

 
Ondřej Kotrč

TOO LATE FOR DARKNESS

 
Kateřina Vincourová

"WHENEVER YOU SAY."

 
Jiří Franta & David Böhm

BLIND MAN’S DREAM

 
Ewa & Jacek Doroszenko

EXERCISES OF LISTENING

 
Jan Poupě

SET OF VIEWS

 
Peter Demek

STATUS

 
Josef Achrer

BACKSTORIES

 
Radek Brousil

HANDS CLASPED

 
Katarína Hládeková and Jiří Kovanda

SIAMESE UNCLE & MONTAGE

 
Jiří Valoch

WORDS

 
František Skála

TRIBAL

 
Jiří Franta and Ondřej Homola

A BLIND MASTER AND A LIMPING MONK

 
Alžběta Bačíková and Martina Smutná

CARPE DIEM

 
THE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

THE FRAGMENTS OF SETS / THE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

 
Tomáš Absolon

MONET ON MY MIND

 
Kamila Zemková

THE DEAD SPOTS

 
Johana Pošová

WET WET

 
Ivan Pinkava

[ANTROPOLOGY]

 
SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

READY OR NOT, HERE I COME

 
Veronika Vlková & Jan Šrámek

THE SOURCE

 
Jan Brož

SSSSSS

 
ONE MOMENT / PART ONE: PRIVATE COLLECTION FROM BRNO

COLLECTOR'S CYCLE OF IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

 
Alice Nikitinová

IT WOULDN'T BE POINTLESS TO

 
Ondřej Basjuk

THE CULT EXHIBITION

 
Tomáš Bárta

THINGS YOU CAN´T DELETE

 
HE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

FOR MANY DIFFERENT EARS

 
Katarína Hládeková

TO START THE FIRE

 
Marek Meduna

AMONG THE DOG THIEFS

 
THE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

WORDS AMONG SHAPES / SHAPES AMONG NAMES

 
Lukas Thaler

THE PROPELLER

 
Krištof Kintera

Hollywoodoo!

 
Ondřej Homola

ARANGE

 
THE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION FOCUSED ON THE YOUNGEST GENERATION

TETRADEKAGON

 
Tomáš Bárta

SOFTCORE

 
Richard Stipl

SENSE OF AN END

 
Lubomír Typlt

THEY WON'T ESCAPE FAR

 
Kateřina Vincourová

THE PRESENCE AS
A TRILL

 
SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

OPEN

 
Christian Weidner
/ Vincent Bauer
/ Cornelia Lein

HERE AND
SOMEWHERE
ELSE

 
The selection from the FAIT GALLERY collection

THE SELECTION
FROM THE
COLLECTION

 
Alena Kotzmannová
/ Jan Šerých

A CHI-
LIAGON



Vladimír Kokolia / The Essential Kokolia

17.10.2018 - 12.01.2019

Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
 
Opening: 17. 10. 2018 at 19:00
 
Curator: Miroslav Ambroz
 
To see nothing
For Vladimír Kokolia painting is an opportunity to reach things that one wouldn’t be able to get at well enough in any other way. Kokolia is the type of painter who wants to really see his subject.
 
Seeing
It might seem that Kokolia wants to be considered primarily as an impressionist, in the original derogatory sense of the term. He deliberately aims for the impossible: to be, as was quipped about Monet, “only an eye”. He does not, however, believe in a prepared innocent gaze — that would be a great affectation — but relies on an acceptance of the full torrent of visual sensations, or direct visual waste, when one doesn’t have the tools (and perhaps not even a reason) to distinguish illusion from the “overwhelming disorder of the real world”.[1]  He quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to this kind of view of the ordinary world is the knowledge about seen things that one carries in one’s head. Even the names of things are disruptive for the naked eye. Kokolia declares that information inhibits the image.
 
Seeing the seeing
Nonetheless, a painter wants to “see this seeing”. When seeing, how does a person notice that they are looking? According to Kokolia, this can happen only when we sacrifice meaning and simply let our view float. “I have the distinct impression that precisely such blank looking is the default setting of our vision. It is the most fundamental state, the ‘container’, the womb, the landscape, the pilot frequency, the Tao of seeing, only on account of which individual forms arise”, adds Kokolia.[2]  He believes that a lack of information brings astonishment. Truly, a lack of information? We know, after all, how James Joyce’s characters marvel at a sudden recognition of very fragile and evanescent moments, when a character experiences a sudden revelation about the “whatness” of a thing.
 
Similarly, for the nameless heroes in the hundreds of drawings from Kokolia’s Big Cycle, the inescapable mechanism of their actions is suddenly revealed to them at a single moment. Here, the vehicle of wonderment is an unexpected recognition of meaning. However, wonderment that is purely visual in origin is, in contrast to narrative epiphany, lacking in substance. The one who is experiencing wonderment just stares and does not actually know anything. Here, the intensity of not knowing shows the depth of wonder. It is as if the one in wonderment sees only one thing, so emptied that it can be considered null. For Kokolia, an example of such views momentarily without content are the squares and rectangles in Mondrian’s paintings. Here, they also have roots in Kokolia’s individualistic theory about cubism and in his thinking about the picture plane and “paintings within a painting”. For Kokolia, the view gradually became an independent entity in which it is possible to study only the visible content and to eliminate for the given moment both the observer and the observed thing.
 
Painting seeing
Why would the one in wonderment even paint at all? Isn’t it enough just to have the experience? A painter’s embodiment of what is seen is a passage from one world to another, and what was true in one world is not necessarily true in the other one. It is a completely new situation that presumes “the picture has the logical form of representation in common with what it pictures”. [3] A painting may be able to adapt to the form of depiction, but it also has its own special demands as a physical object covered with paint as well as an object with the aim of controlling how the viewer will see it. It must remain adequate, even if it has done away with the function of depiction. The same brushstroke is both a physical trace and also creates the ideal of an image that arises only with the viewer’s gaze.
 
Kokolia describes the realisation he had in the Hermitage Museum in 1980 while standing before one of Matisse’s paintings: “... something tells me that this is the genuine space, not the three dimensions out there; at the same time, it really and truly is on the surface, literally just oil paints on a canvas. I am looking directly at the union of the greatest abstraction and the greatest materiality…”[4]  For Kokolia, the idea of transferring images across different worlds might have its origin in printmaking. He has dedicated himself to this medium for almost as long as he has to painting (originally to be able to disseminate his drawings under the previous regime, when copy machines were under supervision). Since 1992 he has led the Studio of Experimental Graphics at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts. The themes of a matrix, an imprint and a reversal of the image appear repeatedly in his written musings. He similarly incorporates his experience with Tai Chi in his painting. Both of his Chinese teachers, Gene Chen and Zhu Jiancai, taught Tai Chi to him in a completely matter-of-fact manner, without a pseudo-spiritual overlay, and Kokolia likewise leads his brushstrokes with a consideration for the precise transfer of strength.         
 
Seeing painting
The concentration on direct, unprejudiced seeing and effort to see seeing was followed by the materialization of seeing in an artefact. Apart from this, Kokolia certainly does not underestimate the special moment when a viewer turns up in front of a picture. This is confirmed by the fact that at his exhibitions he examines in detail the distance between the viewer and the picture, their movement around it, viewing angles and orientation of the view, as well as the time spent before the picture.
For the sake of interaction, Kokolia occasionally resorts to popular or “discredited” forms. He styled one of his shows as a commercial sale in the course of which he lived, cooked and worked in the gallery. Another time he displayed “healing pictures” to which visitors were to “expose themselves”.
 
These and other strategies sought to provide viewers with sufficient time in front of pictures. Kokolia believes that the spent time itself causes that the mode of perception switches from a simple registration of visual information to abidance in a field of vision. The viewer, at least for a while, does not perceive a picture as a separate object, and the distance in the field of vision disappears. This situation can be generated, for example, by the induction of afterimages on the retina or by a view into the visual space of autostereoscopic pictures, as manifested by some of Kokolia’s exhibitions.
 
The image-in-itself
In interviews and texts, Kokolia speaks ironically about such common and seemingly problem-free terms as “communication”, “opinion” and “expression”. And he doesn’t even have the word “art” in his lexicon. So, if he isn’t just taking a position, what would he offer instead? I suspect that Kokolia has own sect (of which he is the only member) that believes in the “image-in-itself”. Meaning that images exist, even if they are independent of observation. Even if nobody has seen them yet. Perhaps it is this belief that helps him not to be perilously captive to changes in the contemporary context.
 
[1] Borges, Jorge Luis, The Cambridge Companion to Jorge Luis Borges, p. 209
[2] Kokolia Vladimír, Úžas, habilitační přednáška, 1996, Akademie výtvarných umění
[3] Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Tractatus logico-philosophicus 2.2
[4] S.M. Blumfeld, Prozření Vladimíra Kokolii, Vokno monthly, 1993, no. 27
                                                                         


ALŽBĚTA BAČÍKOVÁ AND MARTINA SMUTNÁ / CARPE DIEM

-

Fait Gallery PREVIEW
Dominican Square. 10, Brno
28/1 – 13/3/2015
Opening: 27/1/2015 at 6pm
Curator: Martin Nytra

 
Carpe Diem: a dance on the ruins of a museum
 
Returning to the recent past is not unusual in the practise of contemporary art. The effort to cover the period immediately preceding their own lived experience has become an observed symptom of the art work of the generation that knows the reality of the normalisation era only indirectly, but grew up surrounded by its artifacts. The fragments of the past in everyday life miss their original context, are irritating by their nonconformity and therefore they provoke to a new interpretation.
The ceramics by Olga Hudečková was largely created at this time - in the 70s and 80s of the last century - and its relative availability in the stores of Dílo has made it a common decoration of households built in the times of real socialism. That is where our experience with her objects begins – by looking at the shelves in the living room. When visiting a gallery you can leave and forget, but the motionless presence of a strange object in the family household will gradually become a part of personal history.
Therefore, we went beyond the lines of our own past, but the generational gap was still kept in front of us. First, we regarded Hudečková‘s vases and candlesticks awkwardly, with a light touch of antipathy to the demonstration of a specific period taste. In order not to slip to quick resolutions, we firstly tried to understand the work in an historical context. The absence of any critical discourse from its time (there are available only a handful of non-critical articles in journals about applied arts and housing about the author) led us to search for a more current art history reference of her work. In the collected works about applied art the author’s name is not mentioned among the important authors of her time. In the collections of The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague Hudečková is not represented, in the deposit of the Moravian Gallery in Brno only one vase, donated in 1984 by the Ministry of Culture of Czechoslovakia, rests. In the archive of Czech Television, you can find a few TV clips, but they are rather personal lyrical portraits, in which she always appears alongside her husband, the sculptor Miroslav. The main topic is always the tragic fate of the creative couple - a painful loss of both children. The materials we found spoke about the author's life, but not about her work. There is currently no clear institutional establishment approved opinion on Hudečková’s work. Maybe it's too soon, maybe she will forever be lost in the junkyard of the history of Czech normalization art. Because of the author being completely forgotten by history she is in our eyes a subject to which we relate much more personally. We visited the artist in her studio. In the interview, she avoids any judgements of her vases other  than through the 'timeless' aesthetic criteria. Neither is our request for a time indentification of each ceramic object fullfilled. They are all very similar to each other and Hudečková‘s memory fails to recall. In her studio, they are all together and therefore they together become a metaphor for a type of timeless zone that surrounds Hudečková - a metaphor for the grey zone for art works that are beyond any interpretation.
With our learned need to have a distanced look at our own work and its context, we face a completely different approach. The author's resistance literally "moves us out of our concept". Instead of abstract evaluation we rather try to reconstruct  Hudečková‘s world from the inside.
Martina Smutná starts to study formal components of Hudečková’s ceramic objects. She tries to find the roots of the morphology vases. She examines the the folds, that make folded flags from the objects, she explores the erotic (or a lyric?) crinkles and multiple layered plates. Martina's main interest is a vase from the 70s, that she always observed in her family household, just being on view, without ever been used. She tries to copy her in ceramics several times. Sitting behind the potter's wheel, where she competes with Hudečková in an uneven contest in which she fights not only with clay, but also with the perfection of the original. The heat of a ceramic kilns is swapped by the warmth of dissolved wax and the fear of failure becomes replaced by playfulness.
Menawhile I take the original of the vase from Hudečková into Prague's Museum of Decorative Arts, where they are about to finish the preparation for reconstruction of the historic building. A permanent exhibition of decorative art is already closed and the last show ends in a few days. The offices of the museum staff are emptied and collections are packed into boxes. The archives lie neatly packed in wooden boxes and wait to be moved. After many years of residence inside the museum the collections are moved. In the musem a turntablist Petr Ferenc puts the vase on a gramophone. It rotates in a circular motion, that, once in a ceramics workshop, allowed its creation. Gramophone records with recordings of Smetana's My Country from the years 1963 - 1990 serve both as a physical and musical background for the ceramic object. The musician deconstructs a pathetic melody of Vltava River and connects it to playing a vase itself. Instead of the nostalgic playing of records, that were in our home, always placed on the shelves of living room furniture, emerges edgy sound journeying across their circular tracks. Everyone needs to get out of their interpretative comfort zone sometimes, even the authors of what is in fact a slanted exhibition.
 
Alžběta Bačíková
On behalf of the authors

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