23.02.2022 - 14.05.2022
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Exhibition design, artistic collaboration: David Fesl
Graphic design of the book and pendants: Daniela & Linda Dostálková, Sonni Scheuringer
Text: Marek Pokorný
Opening: 23. 2. 2022, 7 pm
I’ll do something somehow
The most remarkable, for some perhaps somewhat old-fashioned but at the same time unusually topical aspect of Lenka Vítková's work is its emblematic nature. However, not in the art-history sense of the word when an image is directly linked with a text in a single sign unit which contains a gnomic title, allegorical representation and an epigram revealing the meaning of the enigmatic title and the even more enigmatic representation. In her case, the emblem is more appropriately understood as a metaphor for a variety of rather personal tactics and artistic strategies in uncovering meaning by obscuring it, and a multifaceted manifestation of the unity of poetry and image.
It is therefore not a literary extension of a work of art, or, conversely, of the imagery of texts but, first and foremost, a condensation of lived experience that allows the artist to perform meaning through a multi-directional exchange between the seen, the thought and the written, an exchange conducted through words, a spatial intervention, sound or moving image, a painterly gesture or the selection and processing of a specific material - in recent years, for example, plaster, which is not just the basis for painting etudes but also comes into play as a visually and haptically active thing-sign. The title of Lenka Vítková's current exhibition and the accompanying publication, First Book of Emblems, is therefore an explicit acknowledgement of the principle of her creative practice, as well as the artist’s suggestion of how the viewer (and the reader) could approach them.
Waving, circling, approaching and receding, leaning, walking, falling. Transformation. A meaning created by the movement of words and the action of the painted surface, by an image related to a sentence. A meaning emerging from the image following a sentence, from a sound or film sequence as a transposition of a word or image. Lenka Vítková's approach to her work is typified by a special kind of civility and ability to speak for herself in relation to the emerging whole of the world through subjects whose prospective banality is cancelled not only by the mentioned emblematic nature but in recent years predominantly by working on the painting, painting as a still-effective way of showing what I mean. Clues which are obviously distilled starting points include not only signs, abstract patterns and abstracted realities or objects and configurations of the seen - glimpsed, but also objects, body fragments and figures. Yet it is always about the whole. Indeed, the subtle objectivity of the subject with which Lenka Vítková is currently working is accompanied at every step by her ability to share much broader contexts, more like a condition than an explanation of the present ones, which make the choice even more significant. Or, last but not least, there is that unsentimental way in which the artist, through painterly means, lays out and activates the surface in order to keep in play the affective qualities of the creative process and their sources.
If Lenka Vítková's works and exhibitions sometimes make the sympathetic viewer feel slightly dizzy, it is due to the continuous stream of exchange between seeing and intellectual work. Her art (she is an exceptional colourist among painters of her generation and beyond) amplifies and intensifies the feeling of the viewer's physical presence in front of the painting or in its space, while at the same time giving meaning to the actual experience that the recipient is undergoing in a difficult-to-convey state of consciousness. One aspect of this type of artistic experience (emphasized by the tradition of modernism) is the result of long-standing exercises through which we still, albeit rarely, and then with a certain suspicion that we are definitely missing something, master the dialectical relationship in which the self and the universe, immediacy and mediation, subjectivity and impersonality, or tradition and its unique fulfilment, can be found. Although we can speculate about what the postmodern emancipation of the sign universe has made possible for the artist and which line of modernist subjective universalism she may be following, the artist herself has described her art practice most accurately: “I’m coming,/ don't know what I’m bringing./ I’ll start somewhere,/ I’ll do something somehow./ Some things the material will do on its own. The gestures I own.”
Text: Marek Pokorný
The project was financially supported by the City of Brno and Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.
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.