25.10.2023 - 13.01.2024
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curator: Denisa Kujelová
Opening: 25th October, 7 pm
The early work of Jiří Hilmar (*1937) was marked by the art trends of the time, especially the principles of Concretism (whose club he co-founded in Czechoslovakia in 1967), as well as by the activation of the viewer, the processuality of perception and the thematization of movement. Kinetic objects in the form of mechanical machines and objects working with light sources and shadow effects were followed by several years of the artist's thorough investigation of the phenomenon of mobile procedural perception in paper reliefs folded into optical structures. These mostly square formats of various sizes produced an optical illusion through the movement of the observer and the change of his or her position in relation to the work, thus transforming the visual qualities of the surface.
In the square, whose shape the artist saw as an ideal anonymous form referring to the ideas of Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich or Victor Vasarely, he created structures in various systems according to mathematical principles and seriality from horizontally, vertically and diagonally arranged monochrome or multicolour strips of folded and, in many cases, also incised paper. The opto-kinetic principle was achieved by varying the height of the strips, their shape, the method and degree of their bending, the method of perforation, and also the shape and colour of the tempera used for individual fragments (most often circles and their sections). The variation of contrasts and intersections continued after his emigration to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1969, where he settled for more than 40 years.
The active involvement of the viewer was also part of the next cycle of works which were defined by a system of overlapping vertical strips or strings. In this new structural plan, in which one of the elements was always firmly attached to the base and the other hung freely above it, the works could again be set in motion, now literally, by the participation of the observer. Parallel to this, in the 1970s the artist created monochromes from layered tracing paper, fixed to canvas or wooden boards, most often also in square formats. The individual layers of transparent paper were only recognizable by their deliberate distortion with various types of creasing, perforation, rippling and gradations or variations of the repetitive regular patterns of the collaged fragments.
After moving to the Halfmannshof art colony in Gelsenkirchen in 1974, located in the heavily devastated landscape of the Ruhr area, Hilmar naturally moved towards environmental issues. In addition to paper, he began to incorporate into his reliefs natural materials such as jute, wax, kaolin and also wood, in the form of sticks and matchsticks. In the 1980s, when nature became an equal co-agent in his work, and creative intervention in natural processes started to prevail in his work, he turned permanently to a single material - wood. He partially dismantled the original autonomous shapes of branches and trunks and then reconstructed them by rejoining, tying or crossing them into new units of wooden objects and installations. He deliberately interfered in the originally round found fragments of trees in an invasive and openly completely contradictory square manner followed by a final gesture of re-rounding, in order to manifest the oneness of man and nature, which he sought in his work and life.
HILMAR, Jiří, VÍCHOVÁ, Ilona, HIEKISCH-PICARD, Sepp. Jiří Hilmar/ Adagio. Praha, Museum Kampa – Nadace Jana a Medy Mládkových, 2015.
POHRIBNÝ, Arsen. Klub konkrétistů po dvaceti letech. In: Revue K, 1988–89, nos. 32–33.
“Optické reliéfy“ Jiřího Hilmara, Rozhlas, ČRo 3 – Vltava, Mozaika, 24 February 2011.
 The principles of Concretism were defined in interwar art by Theo van Doesburg, who first used and coined the term in 1930, and later in the 1930s by Max Bill, the main promoter of this art movement. De Stijl, the Bauhaus, and also the Russian avant-garde were followed in the 1950s by the activities of the Swiss neo-concretists led by Richard Paul Lohse, and partly by kinetic art in the Düsseldorf Zero movement, the GRAV group in Paris, the Gruppo N in Padua and the Gruppo T in Milan.
 Together with Tomáš Rajlich, Radoslav Kratina, Miroslav Vystrčil and the art theorist Arsén Pohribný he co-founded the KK/CC - The Concretists’ Club (9 May 1967 - ca. 1972), whose activities were followed by the new KK2 in 1997 and KK3 in 2007.
 In this context it is also worth mentioning hydro-kinetic objects from 1974.
 “Optické reliéfy“ Jiřího Hilmara, Rozhlas, ČRo 3 – Vltava, Mozaika, 24 February 2011.
Fait Gallery MEM
Božetěchova Street 1 (entrance from Metodějova Street), Brno
22/3 – 16/5/2014
Opening: 20/3/2014 at 7pm
Curator: Jan Zálešák
The Fait Gallery invites you to a solo exhibition of last year's graduates from the Prague Academy of Fine Arts Jan Brož (*1988). The exhibiton installation presents a constricted dramaturgical unit, the most important parts are six large drawings, a neon object and an author's book. At the SSSSSS exhibition the political clashes with the poetic in a way, which is not very common today. What is missing is an explicit "political iconography", we will not find here the proven model of engagement, which leaves the gallery world to consequently return to "conquer" the necessary symbolic capital. The greater burden lies on the audience, who can not quite hold of the established clichés, the greater might be the synergistic effect of understanding of the author's message.
I want to start the closer introduction of Jan Brož’s exhibition SSSSSS a bit unusually: by residency stays. In the last two decades the artistic residency has become a routine part of artistic life. Since the adoption of the Bologna Declaration fifteen years ago the possibilities for exchanges during university studies have dramatically expanded. Even in the routine system, that - especially in the concept of the EU - most of all implicits support of tourism, there are exceptions when staying in a new environment significantly influences the students. One of the places that have long retained this ability to influence and move the young artists in their development, was the Cooper Union in New York, where the students from the Prague Academy of Fine Arts used to be sent. Jan Brož spent at Cooper Union nearly six months in the spring of 2012. At that time, the school had just entered a dramatic period when its leadership began to consider a move away from the 150-year-old declaration of its founder, industrialist Peter Cooper, that the school should be "free to all men and women". The fact that the school management had accepted the neoliberal logic seeing the studies as an investment in the future and introduced tuition fees, led to the activation of both students and a big part of teaching staff. It is surely significant that Barbora Kleinhamplová, who interned along with Jan Brož, after returning to Prague significantly profiled her activities leading into the organisation of the art scene and she is getting more and more involved in the area of engaged in journalism and organisational activities.
After returning from New York Jan was finishing work on a long-term project The Intruder (2011-2013), by which he completed the studies at the Academy of Fine Arts last year. Therefore the SSSSSS exhibition in Brno Gallery MEM is the first significant evaluation of almost two years of formative experience. The content of Brož‘s exhibition is substantively political. The author asks for the way in which individuals and communities are working within the structure of the world of late capitalism; a world that Jonathan Crary identifies by the well put three digits: 24/7.
Even though I point Brož’s work as "political" (and certainly I also could have used the adjective "conceptual"), it is also work that exclusively holds the autonomy of art, and artistic means of expression. In the longterm the dominant means of expression in Brož’s work is drawing. The author also uses his experience gained with graphics and graphic design that he gets through both the PhD study in studio 304 at the Prague School of Applied Arts and at work in the studio Parallel Practice. A substantial part of the exhibition is the artist's book of the same name, which in addition to reproductions of exhibited artwork also includes examples of the artist's older works and fragments of the "moodboard" that preceded the installation of the exhibition and also accompanied our discussions over the nature of the accompanying text.