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
11/3 – 2/5/2014
Opening: 10/3/2014 at 6pm
Curator: Martin Nytra
The exhibition title "It wouldn't be pointless to" is a kind of play on words (in Czech) and a variation on the theme of continuity of work in progress with the object and language and is a direct reference to the recently finished exhibition "Away from the thing" in GAVU in Cheb, which Alice prepared together with Jiří Ptáček.
To interpret more specifically Alice Nikitinová‘s work, which oscillates between the format of a picture and complex grasping of the area of the installation, is not easy. The audience is rather kept in a wide sphere of associations and references and at the same time they are confronted with a clear idea of the art work. Mainly thanks to the skilful play with language, elliptic way of using the means of painting and simplification, new possibilities of attraction and working with the subject taken out of it‘s causal coherence and the effectiveness of daily practise open up. Despite, or perhaps because of this, her work is open to free interpretations and ways of reading. The author does not work with a clear vision of direction. Her work is not defined by clearly formulated meanings and explicit literary contents. It is described by its autonomous language which often, in a humorous way, critically points to it’s own defects or to the limits of our understanding of the world around us. The sarcasm of these comments often comes from almost grotesque comparisons and factual statements, which are based on a careful and analytic investigation of a narrowly defined problem. It‘s definition, on the other hand, opens up a wide area of topics and interesting issues that are closely linked with the relationship of the painting, it’s format and the subject representation within the topic . The author does not make any specific conclusions in advance from this approach, she rather follows the process of mutual discovery , in which the next step is based on the previous step.
The character of Alice's painting work is based on experimentation with the form and a repertoire of the basic elements of paintings, which is clearly influenced by the interwar avant-garde movements and their concept of art and design as one holistic environment of social practise. That is probably what her subconscious selection of models and painting inspiration is based on, most often we can identify them as products which lack specific features, but do not lose the symbolism that defines wider group of items of daily use. In our cultural environment and with the aesthetic experience of socialist realism, the utilitarian visuality of these objects feels extremely familiar. But Nikitinová does not work with cultural identity intentionally, she rather tries to uncover the universal essential nature of the objects reality and language, unladen by the era and local context . That is why her abstracted forms are defined within the terms of basic and understandable codes.
Nikitinová‘s art work is also full of paradoxes, sometimes almost shifty in Magritte’s way, suggestive and unobtrusively subversive to the excessive seriousness of the art. This lightweight game with concepts and their understanding is possible thanks to the wide spread Dadaist methods and the Duchamp lesson that can be explored by the current author and the audience with a critical distance, but still with awarness of the protected background.