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 PREVIEW
Dominican Square 10, Brno
29/5 – 13/9/2013
Opening: 28/05/2013 at 6pm
Curator: Tomáš Pospěch
Congratulations on your newly born fruit. Vendula Knopová takes the aesthetics of humor to the line of embarrassment. She returns us to what we used to find funny, but that was overwritten by adulthood. She arranges staged slapstick humour, makes it present - sometimes through a picture, sometimes through text. Anyway, the need to come across as not serious, the need to make fun out of her own serious effort has always been Vendula’s characteristic. It would seem that you can find plenty of similar cartoon jokes on the web, so why to carry coal to Karvina. Personally, I was attracted to these pictures rather because of intuited layers behind the surface of the photographs. I imagine how Vendula uncovers memories of children's games, she hunts in a parallel world of their baby sisters, solemnly carries the archeology of childhood, to dig out fun. She rediscovers the world of special orders or only the statements from the adult world, all of which are in the minds of children becoming just ridiculous rhetoric, lacking any sense. Vendula‘s photographs illustrate this bizarre thing, children discovering different structures, how to relate to the outside world and social conventions.
When we are talking about photography, we should specify what we mean. Photography is a very diverse range of strategies, as if it were a variety of media. We can hardly interpret the photographs by Vendula Knopová using quotes from Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag and John Berger, whose thoughts are referenced on any photographic exhibitions here. Although in this project Vendula borrows from many different sources - from photo blogs, humor of her younger sisters, childhood memories or traditions of Czech jokes - the important thing is how she manages to weave this diverse material into an exhibition as a relationship between picture, text and space. Girly whispering on the bench at the village bus stop, pictures doodled on the walls of school toilets, wisecracks stated over dirty pub tables are changing here in strange aesthetics mixed from memories, banalities and awkwardness.
We usually do not cry in front of a painting, and mostly do not laugh either. Usually we stay at a much finer scale in between. And why not. But Vendula tries to pass at least some of the emotions on to us, a weird blend of humor, uncertainty and perhaps even embarrassment. She serves them to us as something very familiar. Also this text carries strangeness and embarrassment. To write about these photographs just somehow does not suit them from the beginninig.