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 MEM
Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
15. 6. - 30. 7. 2016
Vernissage: 15. 6. 2016 at 7pm
Curator: Jiří Havlíček
In 1844, a British hardware store owner Charles Barnard introduced the first machine-made fencing mesh. For this invention he was inspired by the mechanical loom. Shortly after, the French engineer Joseph Louis Lambot used the wire mesh to reinforce concrete. In 1848 Lambot constructed a concrete boat and stiffened its bottom with wire mesh. The first one was three and a half meters long, over a meter wide and sixty-five cm deep. The second one was slightly smaller - three meters long and fifty-three cm deep. He tested the boats on lake Miraval, where one of them was photographed whilst being anchored by the shore.1 After more than a hundred years, two damaged pieces were lifted from the muddy bottom, one of them is still on display in a museum in Lambot's hometown, Brignoles.2 In 1901 the American inventor John C. Perry patented the method for welding wire mesh3. His original intention was a serial production of fences. Shortly after launch, however, metal bars found another use. First, they were used to reinforce roads and pavements, later served as reinforcement of concrete floors and walls of buildings made out of concrete. All floors of the Empire State Building, at the time the highest building in the world, are reinforced by wire mesh. Although the skyscraper is almost a hundred years old, and since its building it has undergone several renovations, the original reinforced concrete floors still remain unchanged.
Modifying a building requires some internal discipline from the architect. The outer design of the structure is a visible part of the surroundings, while at the same time it is pointing to the actual hidden purpose. On the facade of the house we can usually feel when the inside is without a heart. Our inner experience forms our exterior settings. We can feel similar tensions from the large-format drawings by Tomáš Bárta. They are internal messages in the form of complicated construction drawings. The drops of apathy are dripping down a pale forehead. Concentration turns into an impenetrable tangle of lines in the surface of a picture. Bright lines on a dark background penetrate and overlap each other. They point to what they hide. As Bruno Latour writes - the network is our ship. The network, which is a more flexible term than a system, older than a term structure, more empirical than a term complexity. Interconnection is everywhere, but more and more hidden. From time to time there is a break in a regular grid, a facade starts slowly to transform. Lines do not tie together with each other, the connection is interrupted. The ship starts to sink.
T: Jiří Havlíček