01.06.2022 - 30.07.2022
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curators: Denisa Kujelová and Jiří Ptáček
Opening: 1. 6. 2022, 7 pm
In the exhibition project of the versatile visual artist Petr Nikl, his creative approaches intertwine in a vast imaginative garden - a kind of ecosystem of moving and seemingly static organisms cultivated by the artist, but at the same time partially self-grown, much to his delight.
Petr Nikl is one of the few Czech artists who need little introduction to the cultural public. Almost everyone will remember some of his exhibitions, a painting, drawing or print, an exhibition project he initiated, a music recording, a concert, a theatre play or a performance or, for example, a book for adults and children he wrote and illustrated. However, it is not this multi-faceted and decades-long presence of Petr Nikl in our cultural space that makes him an unmistakeable and a rather unique figure. Indeed, this presence would not be worth talking about and would be just mindless hyperactivity were it not characterized by the imaginative poetics with which the artist draws us into a fascinating space of fantasy and play.
If we were to sum up what Nikl communicates to his viewers and listeners, it would probably be a non-violently subversive impact on the consensus of dignified and pragmatic adulthood which creates a wall of restrictions and a hard-to-fulfil desire to break it, and Nikl's ability to indicate, through the outcomes of his work, a path towards the fuller experiencing of the multi-layered and mysterious nature of existence that spreads underneath the veneer of the mundane and the superficial absorption of reality.
Nikl co-founded his puppet theatre company Mehedaha as early as 1985. At that time, he was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where intermedia fusions or performative forms in visual art were not discussed and taught. In accordance with the ideas of the cultural nomenclature of the period about clearly defined fields for the individual artistic disciplines, they were not even considered potentially enriching.However, he soon found kindred spirits among the members of the Tvrdohlaví art group which made its first public appearance in 1987, with understanding not only for artistic activity but also for self-realization in music and theatre. Yet only in Nikl’s case involving the wide spectrum of image, sound, language and body did it become the basis of all creative activities.
Like the performances of Nikl's plays where his visual sensitivity is strongly applied, many of his art projects are determined by the performative and procedural aspects of art. This is by no means limited to paintings which are executed by mechanical machines with the artist's assistance, often in the presence of the audience. This is also true, for example, of his recent works on paper in which he explores new possibilities by dipping rolls of paper in paint in anticipation of (again) only partially predictable results. Randomness and spontaneity help the artist to cross the horizon of his own imagination and provide him with the possibility of wonder at the resulting image. They are not far from Nikl’s drawing method in which his skill taps unconscious sources and the drawing is thus "let" grow out of contents which otherwise remain inaccessible. In them, too, Nikl is merely a participant who does not have a hundred-percent control over what kind of treasure his mind and hands will bring.
The exhibition in the Fait Gallery is rooted in the metaphor of a flower bed. While a garden is associated with a branching cultural symbolism, the flower bed as its sub-component is only a kind of working subject. Under normal circumstances it is cultivated and maintained in a state where it serves well the greater whole or a given purpose which, depending on the intentions of the grower, is either ornamental or utilitarian. A flower bed that is not weeded and consequently wild is a sign of neglect, while care is characterized by a high degree of restriction and control over what can take place in this demarcated area. In contrast, Peter Nikl lets his imaginary flower beds overgrow in anticipation of the unsuspected and surprising. For him, they are not what he carefully prepares and then follows a plan but a combined activity of plants, soil, sunshine, rain, insects, earthworms, moles and other elements that enter into the process. The flower beds - not dissimilar to stretched canvases or sheets of paper because of their limits - are thus filled with actions that we can only partially observe. And anticipate even less.
Thanks to this, they can turn into fascinating revelations which, through their self-organization and somewhat "disorganized organization" take us beyond (or "under") an objective and clear understanding of reality, to its massive organicity and complexity that is never fully graspable. And yet, this "big" takes place in the encounter with something as "small"... as a flower bed, a drawing or a painted image.
Text: Jiří Ptáček
Fait Gallery PREVIEW
Dominican Square 10, Brno
7/5 – 20/6/2014
Opening: 6/5/2014 at 6pm
Guest: Martin Baar
Curator: Martin Mazanec
The shell of the machine controlled unfolding of the exhibition space with book with black pages. The exhibition The Source by Veronika Vlková and Jan Šrámek exists based on a series of cooperative exhibitions, which was an assembling of the painting, models and blending of their form and content. The cooperation, which brings gradual merging of individual styles is within individual exhibitions conditioned by the topic, that affects also the process and dynamics of the ativity.
The exhibitions It does not have to dawn on straight away (Školská Gallery, Prague 2012) and The Lost perspective (Chodovská fortress, Prague 2012) based the outer shell on the mythological story, which was part of the animated video and a particular publication. A couple of exhibitions The Magic of forgetfulness (Blansko Gallery, 2013) and You get what you can carry (Nau Gallery, Prague 2013) again based their skeleton on a mythical story of an air crash at the Crimea, where the main hero, hidden under his own story, was Joseph Beuys. While the first two exhibitions were based on a parable about a girl living in a post-apocalyptic landscape and a main format was animation and a book, the story that was loosely paraphrasing the confession an artist was a gallery illustration consisting of a mosaic of watercolors, computer illustrations, objects and animations covering a broad range of symbolic and cultural themes.
The recovery of the figures from watercolors and drawings, was in previous exhibitions done through their animation and editing, that was done in cooperation with Martin Búřil. The current exhibition on the other side is intended to work mostly with the reality of the time experienced whilst visiting the exhibition. The exhibition leads to thoughts about the momentum of pictures that are static, but also moving freely in the environment of their own previously undefined landscape.
Projections in the centre of the space is a constantly changing image that will never be the same. Therefore the gallery is metaphorically changed into a board game, which can be accessed from the pages of the black book, through the projection or the absurd motion of objects measuring the "gallery time." There is an inspiration to discover the experienced space, to it´s literal and even purely literary permeability based on the presence of the borders of the exhibition itself.
Words from a book, paintings on the wall and onomatopoeic robotics of mechanisms revive the contents of the exhibition, which is not defined in advance, but is "derived" through the archetypes of literary genres and symbols. The exhibition The Source with Martin Baar as a guest opens another topic for Veronika Vlková nd Jan Šrámek. For the first time this is not a joint exhibition in the meaning of combinations or sub-assembly of individual artistic works, but the process of joint exhibition articulation.