12.05.2021 - 14.08.2021
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curator: Barbora Kundračíková
Opening day: May 12 2021, 5 pm–9 pm
Even today, we still tend to understand a picture as an autonomous entity, a unique, final object which has a life of its own and naturally separates itself from the whole of the world. For that matter, we have spent a long time pursuing this, so it’s all good! However, there exists a close link between picture and word, including the inner ones. They belong to each other by their very nature, yet we seldom stress that the connection should be direct and, especially, generally accessible so that everybody can go through the same gateway. Then, however, there come moments when a picture communicates nothing but solidarity, shared being and one existence when the picture itself not only moves between horizons and transcends them but it is also absorbed by reality. This fully applies to Petr Veselý’s pictures. Their objectivity involves not only the time dimension but also a transcendental one.
Ernst Gombrich writes in his reflection on illusion that the power of interpretation can’t be overestimated, mentioning J. M. W. Turner whom he views as somebody who deliberately and in favour of what he sees suppresses all he knows about the world. Both are also relevant today, as we are moving on the same border of discernibility. Petr, however, turns not to what he can see but to what he can touch.
The moment of touch is magical, a touch has the power to take life and also to restore it. The laying of hands is an ancient ritual, hands radiate warmth and coolness, recognise, and in some cases also heal. The essence is always the same: the expression of craving for the original, the real, for what is genuine and to what we, at least imaginarily, return. Gombrich does that himself when talking about abstracted forms as a phenomenon of western visual culture which is certainly remarkable yet fatefully lacking any assessment rules. In Petr’s case, however, we move on the opposite side of the spectrum; a picture is an abstract, grey form, yet it is permanently striving at figuration, or evolves from it. At the sane time, what is abandoned calls for attention which is equally reversible, and the movement we perform during its recognition is thus cyclic and without memory. Echoes of objectivity are secondary, yet they have rules – and these manifest themselves in this way.
Petr’s work is about constants which regularly come to the fore. This regards both his poetry and what can be termed the natural life of things. As in a truly home environment things do not just appear but exist, they meander in forms and functions and their being has an order which also involves decline, so they are like this in the artist’s pictures, or rather, his pictures are like that. They show what a close link there is between them and the world if we deliberately insert them in the framework of our existence. Matter captivates.
Petr is aware of this, of course, otherwise he wouldn’t put so much effort into the bridging of the gap between reality and its image, between what has come to pass and what we expect. He also likes to enter this space, shaping it and summarizing it. Medieval altars in museums are the relics of other autonomous worlds, and the objects of the ordinary world devoid of their function are also like that. Naturally, this is an expression of reduction, but also concentration and (controlled) absence which, paradoxically, grows stable in its loss and thus resonates all the more its original function and talent. A hand frozen in motion, a shirt stretched in its bend moving from the field to the picture and beyond expresses this perfectly. As Ivan Blecha writes, “a reflection that the restricted position of the observer (…) leads to a restricted presentation of a thing is wrong and the statement about the necessary non-representationality of some aspects of reality, about its permanent distortion, is in fact unreasoned extrapolation.“ A picture is often the only thing left of something that once existed. It is a notch of a knife in a cupboard.
 E. H. Gombrich. Umění a iluze. Studie o psychologii obrazového znázorňování. Praha 2019, p. 235.
 In the last decades the formative task and nature of “things” has also been resumed by the western philosophical tradition, namely by Bruno Latour and object-oriented ontology (OOO).
 Ivan Blecha. Prostory zjevnosti. Dílo ve struktuře světa. Zlín 2018, p. 129.
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.