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
30. 11. 2016 - 17. 1. 2017
Vernissage: 30.11.2016 at 19:00
Curator: Christina Gigliotti
With Two Hands and a Magnifying Glass, Martin Lukáč is searching for something and so am I. We are searching for completely different things. Within his work, I am hunting for a deeper meaning that goes beyond his skilled aesthetic decision-making. He is searching for a way to escape this.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were named after Italian Renaissance masters – Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael and Michaelangelo. If anything this represents an example of the re-terretorialization of art into the realm of pop-culture, which is not an uncommon occurrence. Portraying these fictional crime-fighting characters on canvas plucks them out again from their designated position, and a constant back and forth shifting takes place. Their forms have been ground down to shabby silhouettes bearing sniggering grimaces and their numbers surge, they multiply and transform into ghoulish or uncanny versions of one another. These are not portraits, but likenesses, looking into cracked mirrors. Repetition and excess are ever-present throughout Lukáč’s work, which suggests a long pursuit, an exhaustive endeavor. For this exhibition the focused effort has been magnified, however, one cannot say that there is any sign the artist has found what he is looking for – there is no hint of satisfaction or closure. Instead, there is a feeling that the repetition may continue unceasingly, whether through creating twenty paintings or a thousand.
This notion of excess also leaks from Lukáč’s work as he regularly traverses the barriers between art, design, and fashion. Taking symbols from pop-culture, his gestural abstract paintings can be found placed within installations that resemble stage sets of Nike sneaker commercials. These deliberations are neither critiques of nor odes to consumerism – but lie somewhere in between. The question is whether or not the viewer can tell the difference between the very references he uses, and the original sources themselves. Perhaps it does not matter. I believe that Lukáč and his work are one in the same – that he takes on a kind of Deleuzian “controlled hysteria”, where the artist becomes the work, which in turn reflects the intensity of sensations and impulses present within him. Perhaps the works do not mirror one another after all, but the artist himself – the reflection of which is a bit arrogant, distorted, and unfinished – as all humans are.
Martin Lukáč (born 1989 in Piešťany, Slovakia) is a painter currently living and working in Prague. Lukáč’s work often nods to or directly references the recently-past aesthetic forms he encountered during his life growing up in post-occupied Bratislava. Subjects or motifs from 90s pop-culture (music, sports, television) are often present, and declare themselves through a certain gestural repetition on the canvas. Lukáč graduated from the Painting Studio of Jiří Černický and Marek Meduna in 2016. His most recent solo exhibitions include No Love all Hate at 35M2 Gallery, Prague, and "Bon Appétit” (duo show with David Krňanský) Ivan Gallery, Bucharest, Romania. He exhibited his work in group exhibitions in The National Gallery in Prague – Trade Fair Palace (2016), Leto, Warsaw (2016), I: project space, Beijing (2016), and Galerie AMU (2015), among others. He will exhibit his work in Nevan Contempo (under the name BHG) in December 2016.
T: Christina Gigliotti