01.06.2022 - 30.07.2022
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curators: Denisa Kujelová and Jiří Ptáček
Opening: 1. 6. 2022, 7 pm
In the exhibition project of the versatile visual artist Petr Nikl, his creative approaches intertwine in a vast imaginative garden - a kind of ecosystem of moving and seemingly static organisms cultivated by the artist, but at the same time partially self-grown, much to his delight.
Petr Nikl is one of the few Czech artists who need little introduction to the cultural public. Almost everyone will remember some of his exhibitions, a painting, drawing or print, an exhibition project he initiated, a music recording, a concert, a theatre play or a performance or, for example, a book for adults and children he wrote and illustrated. However, it is not this multi-faceted and decades-long presence of Petr Nikl in our cultural space that makes him an unmistakeable and a rather unique figure. Indeed, this presence would not be worth talking about and would be just mindless hyperactivity were it not characterized by the imaginative poetics with which the artist draws us into a fascinating space of fantasy and play.
If we were to sum up what Nikl communicates to his viewers and listeners, it would probably be a non-violently subversive impact on the consensus of dignified and pragmatic adulthood which creates a wall of restrictions and a hard-to-fulfil desire to break it, and Nikl's ability to indicate, through the outcomes of his work, a path towards the fuller experiencing of the multi-layered and mysterious nature of existence that spreads underneath the veneer of the mundane and the superficial absorption of reality.
Nikl co-founded his puppet theatre company Mehedaha as early as 1985. At that time, he was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where intermedia fusions or performative forms in visual art were not discussed and taught. In accordance with the ideas of the cultural nomenclature of the period about clearly defined fields for the individual artistic disciplines, they were not even considered potentially enriching.However, he soon found kindred spirits among the members of the Tvrdohlaví art group which made its first public appearance in 1987, with understanding not only for artistic activity but also for self-realization in music and theatre. Yet only in Nikl’s case involving the wide spectrum of image, sound, language and body did it become the basis of all creative activities.
Like the performances of Nikl's plays where his visual sensitivity is strongly applied, many of his art projects are determined by the performative and procedural aspects of art. This is by no means limited to paintings which are executed by mechanical machines with the artist's assistance, often in the presence of the audience. This is also true, for example, of his recent works on paper in which he explores new possibilities by dipping rolls of paper in paint in anticipation of (again) only partially predictable results. Randomness and spontaneity help the artist to cross the horizon of his own imagination and provide him with the possibility of wonder at the resulting image. They are not far from Nikl’s drawing method in which his skill taps unconscious sources and the drawing is thus "let" grow out of contents which otherwise remain inaccessible. In them, too, Nikl is merely a participant who does not have a hundred-percent control over what kind of treasure his mind and hands will bring.
The exhibition in the Fait Gallery is rooted in the metaphor of a flower bed. While a garden is associated with a branching cultural symbolism, the flower bed as its sub-component is only a kind of working subject. Under normal circumstances it is cultivated and maintained in a state where it serves well the greater whole or a given purpose which, depending on the intentions of the grower, is either ornamental or utilitarian. A flower bed that is not weeded and consequently wild is a sign of neglect, while care is characterized by a high degree of restriction and control over what can take place in this demarcated area. In contrast, Peter Nikl lets his imaginary flower beds overgrow in anticipation of the unsuspected and surprising. For him, they are not what he carefully prepares and then follows a plan but a combined activity of plants, soil, sunshine, rain, insects, earthworms, moles and other elements that enter into the process. The flower beds - not dissimilar to stretched canvases or sheets of paper because of their limits - are thus filled with actions that we can only partially observe. And anticipate even less.
Thanks to this, they can turn into fascinating revelations which, through their self-organization and somewhat "disorganized organization" take us beyond (or "under") an objective and clear understanding of reality, to its massive organicity and complexity that is never fully graspable. And yet, this "big" takes place in the encounter with something as "small"... as a flower bed, a drawing or a painted image.
Text: Jiří Ptáček
Božetěchova Street 1 (entrance from Metodějova Street), Brno
25/5 – 12/9/2013
Opening: 23/5/2013 at 7pm
Curators: Denisa Kujelová and Martin Nytra
The selection of works from the collection of Fait Gallery is this time focused on the artists of the middle generation. It is advisable to mention at the very beginning that the category of middle-aged artist is not perceived dogmatically based on age, but as a selection of established artists whose work is well known to the audience. Although some of them have not reached the canonical status of the most famous names yet, they all belong to well established artists at home and abroad, and often act as inspiration, the starting point and the object of definition for the youngest generation of artists whose work was introduced in the last selection.
It is possible to see the common features in their significant approach and the selection of topics that these eight authors continually work on. For all exhibited works there is typically a specific system of characters, may be even symbolism, which they gain in relation to the general concept and definition of art. This interpretation also contributes a narrative of used motifs and their constant presence throughout the discourse of art. This is generally related to problems of symbolism and meaning and the historical role of a painting and language as a space, where the unity of body and consciousness happens, and the identity of society is created.
This relationship is best expressed in the work of Eva Koťátková and Jan Šerých. Koťátková focuses primarily on the function of the tools in the organization of the individual in the structures of power relationships, while work of Šerých is characterized by hermetic closure of the language to the uninitiated audience. Marek Meduna´s paintings personify the ideal of a character due to the replacing of images and text and the creation of post-conceptual decor.
The works of Michal Pěchouček and Lenka Vítková use figurative painting and the role of draping and clothing as an external expressive character of the body, it´s physical absence they replace as the only actual remains of human existence. The question of personal integrity, interpersonal relationships, memory, responsibility towards others and towards oneself, and, therefore, the basic human values are dealt with by Milena Dopitová. Her Solarium is a kind of objective body shape, hygienically cleared of individual features, which (somewhere between the symbol of a bed and a coffin) establishes the contours and limits of our physical being.
In his exhibited paintings Petr Nikl explores the psychology of looking into the face and its symbolic function for displaying the subconscious connections. Subtleties of the perceived world are a kind of permanent record of an indefinable mystery that instinctively draws our attention. The phenomenon of human memory and perception in general, is explored by Pavla Sceránková. By the reflection of creating methods of visual experiences, she tries to reconstruct them subsequently and, therefore, she closes the range of topics, which has a core in continued validity and universal value in the introspective role of art.