23.05.2018 - 04.08.2018
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
opening: 23. 5. 2018 at 7 pm
A grid becomes a symbol of organisation in the most general sense of the word, a kind of order of things, and at a symbolic level also a world order.
- Jan Nálevka
The A4 format paper is the most widespread kind of paper in both households and offices. We use it to print ordinary documents, for photocopying, notes and sketches. It is also used for the printing of formal court decisions, meals of the day in cheap restaurants and university theses, as it is the only format with which one can be sure that the diploma work will be bound in covers imitating leather as late as an hour before the deadline. Files for this size are available from any stationery shop, and millions of sheets pile up in millions of metres of office archives. Text editors now offer the digital version of A4… The standardized A4 format is guaranteed by the ISO 216 international standard for paper of the A, B and C categories. The first attempts at standardisation go back to France during the Revolution in the late 18th century. The main advantage of this proportion of sides is the simple division in halves after which the sheets retain the same proportion of sides. The major benefit of the adoption and dissemination of the standard was its compatibility and coordination of the manufacture of a whole spectrum of products. Nowadays, when you ask someone to picture a “common sheet of paper”, they will most probably visualize paper of the A4 format.
When lining A4 sheets, Jan Nálevka adjusts the drawing to the standard. He opts for a neutral handwriting, and steps back as an artist. He uses blue ballpoint pens in order to emphasise office work where the compliance with prescribed administration procedures is essential. Reams of paper covered in lines and square grids are virtually indiscernible from mass-produced prints. And since Nálevka further segments the paper with lines and square grids, while in fact still preparing it for writing and drawing, he can talk about the creation of “standardised blankness”, a blankness achieved through work. Its volume, as well as the time it requires, are not proportionate to the result. However, in their reflection there is always space to realise the absurd nature of this activity. Nálevka’s drawings can thus be considered implicitly critical, yet at a more general level they are abstract visualizations of an order introduced into art, or into a work activity as such. And in its ultimate form, the segmented A4 paper format is a symbolic representative of standards predestining our factual possibilities, shaping our perception and behaviour, and providing a basis for our imagination in the private and social dimension of life.
The And now, finally, let’s finally turn the page exhibition can be understood as a public audit due to which the material that in the previous decade had progressively emerged at preliminary, autonomous and semi-autonomous presentations was gathered in a single place. And although the show exclusively presents drawings from the years 2009—2018, it captures Nálevka’s thinking concerning the external conditions of the organisation of human life. It is divided into three basic sections. The first one observes the subjects of the basic organisation plan and “standardised blankness” as the consequences of the adopted art-work load. In the second section, the issue of the time invested in the drawings, and lost, comes to the fore. Finally, in the last section Nálevka abandons the point of view of an individual and with plans drawn over reproductions of books on modernist art comments on the historical and possible future social orders.
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