26.02.2020 - 25.07.2020
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Opening: 26. 2. 2020 at 7pm
Curator: Miroslav Ambroz
In my past lives, I was a hunter and a gatherer. I would always start my everyday routine
with decorating tools, weapons and creating musical instruments for myself.
1) Even though you were considered as the creator of spatial objects, in this exhibition your major emphasis is on paintings. What was the impulse?
The new atelier, where for the first time in my life, is light, space and warmth, this helped me to finally start painting. An eternity of horizons was open in front of me, together with two big travels to Columbia and Australia, I understand this happy season as staying on an abandoned island, therefore the name "Two years’ vacation".
2) In 2004 you painted large format canvases "Roads of swifts" and "Mother Earth". In the sametime frame you also painted "Chaple of Karlin", and even before that, "Envelopes" were created, therefore in your own way you are continuing with something that was created long before?
Of course, I was already painting in the '70s during my studies. Back then I inherited very rare pigments from prof. Slánský, which I am using presently. The first time I used them was during my exhibition in Rudolfinum, when there was a need to paint something great for "Silent Hall" and a figure of the central deity arose, which is appearing in my works in different varieties. Connection with the material was always important for me. The type of work on the ground on the non-gesso canvas, together with water diluted pigments and acrylate bonds demanded this physical contact. Even in some places on the paintings, there are my footprints.
A wall painting "Chaple of Karlin" was in somewhat a cleansing exhibition after the floods in 2002, and according to an agreement I had to turn it white. The oldest envelopes date back to 1986. The style of their decoration is connected with the style of "Third rococo" and that epoch is accumulated in my works. In the '90s I created multiple large format envelopes, which I perceived as the object/pictures having multiple-meanings and it opened an inexhaustible line packed into certain cushions, similar to guitars. This is related to my favourite non-standard formats (ovals) and adjusting large canvasses "free" without the stretcher bar.
3) What was most interesting thing about Australia?
First of all never ending space and starry skies. Five weeks, every evening by the fire in the desert. Furthermore, colours and rock paintings as old as 60 000 years. This was the first time I have seen baobabs and eucalypti that were 800 years old, which existed way before the arrival of whites... breathtaking scenery. I brought back a lot of collected materials and natural clay, with which I am painting. Australians have a "story" for each god, they are mostly cautionary stories, which have helped to keep the tribes viable. It appears to me as there are various imaginary divinities, however, they were born from the transcultural backdrop. Something interesting is that the rock paintings and figures on it are very similar all around the world, but I am not the type who would study these things in much detail. On the other hand, I deliberately keep certain blindness, to be astonished, and I would recommend this to consumers. Those who ask too much will learn too much.
4) Some rusty images look a bit apocalyptic, did it have any specific impulse?
"Rusty images" are painted by some rusty mud from a forested swamp in West Czech. In fact, they are ferric nano-shells of microorganisms. I discovered this beautiful colour in the '70s, which came back to me now, to extract it artistically. Thematically, they partly follow the cycle of thermo-drawings "Landscapes from Timelessness" or the cycle of graphics "Giants", where the power of nature is personified into supernatural beings. People desire to witness a miracle or other paranormal acts, and we have this advantage that we can also paint them. Also, people are drawn to the aesthetic of natural disasters and the theatre of extinction. Towards the end however, the road took me elsewhere.
5) When you were in Columbia, did you try yagé -the most renowned shamanic hallucinogen?
I don’t need to check what I suspect. I don't need to meet God. I don't want to upset him. He
could stop passing me.
The interview led Miroslav Ambroz
Fait Gallery PREVIEW
Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Vernissage: 21.2.2018 at 7 pm
Curator: Tereza Rudolf
The sewing machine needle goes up and down at a steady pace. The work finished is observed, with equal persistence, by a sliding camera of the Friend of the Moon video. The close look at fabrics and their structure is typical ofTania Nikulina’s work. The camera which she uses always seems to stare a bit too long, longer than it is pleasant for the viewer, as if it was trying to penetrate the surface of objects and things which it observes, or as if trying to grasp the relations of the people in the video that are far too human, and not only for a machine. The seams of objects inhabiting Tania Nikulina’s stories are created by the same hand as the editing of the final videos. Digital cuts of the individual takes are layered like the multiple materials used by the artist, be it plastic, felt, naturalia, foam or polystyrene.
A motif often present in Nikulina’s work is the longing for a touch. This involves the need to touch a soft fabric with one’s hand, as well as touching unusual structures only with one’s eyes, like performers (in a video or gallery) not only touching one another but also simultaneously present for the objects-costumes which they inhabit and which touch them. It might be slightly exaggerating to say that this trend is stronger with the artist as a sculptor than with others, as touch can be understood as one of the primary elements of communication, both direct and indirect.
Friend of the Moon video has been stripped (with the exception of the final section) of expressive rituality and theatricality characteristic of Nikulina’s previous efforts. In contrast, the video is unusually plain, striving to appear as a routine affair. Nonetheless, the behaviour of the characters (character) in the video differs from what we see as ordinary. Not so much in the sense of strange clothes and the manner of speech, but the Moon or its friend (or both) differ from the rest of the society and find it difficult to participate in its rhythm, time and manners. Based on Sasha Sokolov’s book A School for Fools, the artist asks what our surroundings mean to us: the surroundings which sometimes softly enwrap us and at other times choke us furiously. She asks: who am I, who are you, and who are they? In the end, we all meet at one feast at one time or at different times. Some are protected by their costumes, others are imprisoned in them.