21.02.2018 - 05.05.2018
Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Vernissage: 21.2.2018 at 7 pm
Curators: Denisa Kujelová & Jiří Zahrádka
Return is the movement of the Tao, yielding
is the way of the Tao. Ten thousand things
in All Under Heaven are born of what there is.
What there is is born of what there isn’t.
In a distinctive visual style rooted in his personal memory, Jan Merta transforms real-world subjects into specific projections of his own experiences. This unusually sincere approach is in its intensity and truthfulness towards the viewer remarkably transferrable and communicative. In most cases, the artist chooses as the subject matter of his paintngs, drawings and objects things and situations on the edge of ordinary attention that, however, are personally highly important for him. By removing them from their original context and by their free processing he fills them with new contents. The pure essence of seemingly ordinary objects demonstrated on a monumental scale with the use of unconventional; spatial structures provides Merta’s paintings with a strange tension, which is in some works even intensified by the refined employment of light and the atypically approached relationship between object and area when an accentuated background creates an illusory perspective.
All of Jan Merta’s works have their own raison d’etre in particular stories, and his art is so closely linked with personal experiences that it could be understood as the artist’s diary records of events, experiences, memories and reminiscences of people, objects and places. Every new painting is for him a return in thoughts, and it is therefore hardly surprising that he has chosen this word for the exhibition title. However, it should be viewed at several levels of meaning: apart from the tite of a sculpture, the motif of return also refers to the show itself, organised in exhibition rooms to which Jan Merta returns with his new project after eight years. First and foremost, it refers to regular returns to the artist’s key theme circles, as well as to particular motifs which are, nonetheless, always approached in a different way.
Within the Return exhibition, sections such as Liberec are important; the artist returns in it to the places associated with his childhood and has worked on it, on and off, for several years, as is the subject of civilization threats and cultural codes as homage to Old Masters and specific works of art. One example is Goya’s painting Third of May 1808 (1814) from which Merta borrowed the motif of a lamp. The lamp as a source of light is a vital element of the picture, not only in its form but also in its content, and Merta has utilised it several times. Last but not least, the exhibition presents works referring to the artist’s penchant for Eastern philosophy. In 2010 and 2013 Jan Merta designed the book Laozi translated by Oldřich Král, and his close friendship with this extraordinary figure reinforced his interest in Chinese philosophy. In the Fait Gallery exhibition project this leading sinologist agreed to incorporate into the LAOZI installation his sound recording of the book accompanied by Merta;s paintings with fragments of cups and saucers. These symbolize clay vessels: according to the teaching of the Tao, the meaning and purpose of their internal parts only come from emptiness.
Božetěchova Street 1 (entrance from Metodějova Street), Brno
Opening: 31/5/2012 at 7pm
Curator: Denisa Kujelová
The second exhibition of the Fait Gallery collection presents a selection of works by artists who now belong to the classics of Czech fine art of the 20th century. In the five decades, starting with the art in the 60s, there are works by Adriena Šimotová, Karel Malich, Milan Grygar, Stanislav Kolíbal, Jan Kubíček, Věra Janoušková, Jiří Kolář, Bohumír Matal, František Gross, Běla Kolářová, Alena Kučerová, Dalibor Chatrný, Václav Boštík, Václav Stratil, Jan Koblasa, Václav Jirásek, Ivan Pinkava, Jiří Kornatovský, Magdalena Jetelová, Petr Nikl and Vladimír Kokolia.
As it is apparent from the list of names, the selected works serve as an illustration of past fifty years although it’s not a complex image, but more likely a directed one in a sense that this image is based mainly on the polarity of rational geometric abstraction and the spiritual and meditative nature of art. Despite the diversity of artistic expression, from the strict geometry and the probability of structure of coincidence, acoustic recordings, collages, proláž, linear collages, assemblages, abstract expressionism, automatism, dematerialization of colored mass to recordings of movement of energies and manifestation of cosmological laws. It is a selection of artists who were influencing (or could have been influenced) each other given their joint work at contemporary artistic collectives and in cooperation outside these groups. In the presentation of this stylish and formal oscillation of artistic expression during the five decades there is an emphasis not only on indication of mutual ties, but also on the effort to present the work of some artists from a different angle in confrontation with use of media, for them not entirely typical.