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.
Fait Gallery PREVIEW
Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
15. 6. - 30. 7. 2016
Vernissage: 15. 6. 2016 at 7pm
Curator: Jiří Ptáček
Three years ago, a visual artist and art theorist Markéta Magidová held a solo exhibition Domestic dictionary in Brno Gallery Kabinet. She complemented a 3D installation by a printed dictionary interpretation of terms and phrases specially used only within her family. Interpersonal bonds within this basic social unit could have been viewed as a network emerging and confirming itself through language.
For Markéta Magidová the use of a wide range of artistic media is important. She, however uses spoken or written word, so regularly, that the exploration of these could be viewed as the significant focus of her work. It is the same case with the exhibition Tertium non datur. The installation part of the exhibition and the video are based on a single principle: the metaphorical use of the number 3. In the spatial installation created of objects and photographs there could be found traits that make the exhibition resemble as well as differentiate from the previously mentioned Domestic dictionary. As a similarity between the exhibitions you can see the efforts of the artist to bring together the fullest list of labels and names that, in this case, include the number three. The third eye, third hand, the tripod, the Third Reich ... Unlike the Domestic dictionary, however,this exhibition does not come with interpretation. It loosely lays one next to the other and leaves it upto us if we discover partial connections or the inability to create any justification for collecting these "third things" at one point. The consequence might be the impression that we are facing a somewhat obscure collection.
Magidová though monitors the role of language in shaping the thought structures and value systems. At the exhibition, called by the logical principle of allowing only two true statements, she draws the attention to "exclude" the third option. She focuses on the names that indicate redundancy, failure, a mistake, otherness, etc. She focuses on the deeply rooted binary schedule of human thought, within which case it is only considered to be "complete" and flawless. The author's intentions are yet political, at least as a discussion with the thought schemes, for which the deviation is considered a disadvantage without examination of its potential benefits. Exactly for this reason a part of the exhibition became a video in which the mime artist Petr Biel improvises movement of creations on three legs. It causes laughter or contempt within the audience. The question, however, is whether these two immediate emotional reactions are only two ways of rejecting that potential before it slowly starts to root.
T: Jiří Ptáček