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
15/1 – 5/3/2014
Opening: 14/1/2014 at 6pm
Curator: Martin Nytra
Basjuk’s game with meanings, character of the depiction and formal methods is based on his own experience, but also on a thorough investigation and is greatly influenced by the aesthetics coming from the illustrations in adventure literature, boys novels and travel books, as well as by the legacy and the morphology of modernism and
the early avant-garde, which are for contemporary art practise appealing and actual again for many reasons. These appropriations, which he approaches consciously and carefully, are mixed with reality and collector items often of East Asian and Buddhist origin. By this a certain aesthetic model is created, which evokes topics that are both esoteric and of an occult nature as well as displaying the idea of an interest in the exotic and so called primitive cultures, which is typical for modern western society. These cultures represent the ideal of the escape and insight into the nature of things, as well as just contemporary fashion. However, as the name of the exhibition, as well
as the work of Ondřej Basjuk, suggest, the project of romantic return or escape is an ideal, it’s perception constantly oscillates between the importance, sincere need, pathos, facileness and sarcastic irony that mocks it’s own lack of freedom, therefore destroying all the myths which arose from the desire of the spirit. It can easily happen that only grimace is created by this, as contemporary trends and affectiation, which depends on our assessment of the importance of autonomy, relation to objectivity, or the definition of true nature.