23.02.2022 - 14.05.2022
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Exhibition design, artistic collaboration: David Fesl
Graphic design of the book and pendants: Daniela & Linda Dostálková, Sonni Scheuringer
Text: Marek Pokorný
Opening: 23. 2. 2022, 7 pm
I’ll do something somehow
The most remarkable, for some perhaps somewhat old-fashioned but at the same time unusually topical aspect of Lenka Vítková's work is its emblematic nature. However, not in the art-history sense of the word when an image is directly linked with a text in a single sign unit which contains a gnomic title, allegorical representation and an epigram revealing the meaning of the enigmatic title and the even more enigmatic representation. In her case, the emblem is more appropriately understood as a metaphor for a variety of rather personal tactics and artistic strategies in uncovering meaning by obscuring it, and a multifaceted manifestation of the unity of poetry and image.
It is therefore not a literary extension of a work of art, or, conversely, of the imagery of texts but, first and foremost, a condensation of lived experience that allows the artist to perform meaning through a multi-directional exchange between the seen, the thought and the written, an exchange conducted through words, a spatial intervention, sound or moving image, a painterly gesture or the selection and processing of a specific material - in recent years, for example, plaster, which is not just the basis for painting etudes but also comes into play as a visually and haptically active thing-sign. The title of Lenka Vítková's current exhibition and the accompanying publication, First Book of Emblems, is therefore an explicit acknowledgement of the principle of her creative practice, as well as the artist’s suggestion of how the viewer (and the reader) could approach them.
Waving, circling, approaching and receding, leaning, walking, falling. Transformation. A meaning created by the movement of words and the action of the painted surface, by an image related to a sentence. A meaning emerging from the image following a sentence, from a sound or film sequence as a transposition of a word or image. Lenka Vítková's approach to her work is typified by a special kind of civility and ability to speak for herself in relation to the emerging whole of the world through subjects whose prospective banality is cancelled not only by the mentioned emblematic nature but in recent years predominantly by working on the painting, painting as a still-effective way of showing what I mean. Clues which are obviously distilled starting points include not only signs, abstract patterns and abstracted realities or objects and configurations of the seen - glimpsed, but also objects, body fragments and figures. Yet it is always about the whole. Indeed, the subtle objectivity of the subject with which Lenka Vítková is currently working is accompanied at every step by her ability to share much broader contexts, more like a condition than an explanation of the present ones, which make the choice even more significant. Or, last but not least, there is that unsentimental way in which the artist, through painterly means, lays out and activates the surface in order to keep in play the affective qualities of the creative process and their sources.
If Lenka Vítková's works and exhibitions sometimes make the sympathetic viewer feel slightly dizzy, it is due to the continuous stream of exchange between seeing and intellectual work. Her art (she is an exceptional colourist among painters of her generation and beyond) amplifies and intensifies the feeling of the viewer's physical presence in front of the painting or in its space, while at the same time giving meaning to the actual experience that the recipient is undergoing in a difficult-to-convey state of consciousness. One aspect of this type of artistic experience (emphasized by the tradition of modernism) is the result of long-standing exercises through which we still, albeit rarely, and then with a certain suspicion that we are definitely missing something, master the dialectical relationship in which the self and the universe, immediacy and mediation, subjectivity and impersonality, or tradition and its unique fulfilment, can be found. Although we can speculate about what the postmodern emancipation of the sign universe has made possible for the artist and which line of modernist subjective universalism she may be following, the artist herself has described her art practice most accurately: “I’m coming,/ don't know what I’m bringing./ I’ll start somewhere,/ I’ll do something somehow./ Some things the material will do on its own. The gestures I own.”
Text: Marek Pokorný
The project was financially supported by the City of Brno and Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.
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