12.05.2021 - 14.08.2021
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curator: Barbora Kundračíková
Opening day: May 12 2021, 5 pm–9 pm
Even today, we still tend to understand a picture as an autonomous entity, a unique, final object which has a life of its own and naturally separates itself from the whole of the world. For that matter, we have spent a long time pursuing this, so it’s all good! However, there exists a close link between picture and word, including the inner ones. They belong to each other by their very nature, yet we seldom stress that the connection should be direct and, especially, generally accessible so that everybody can go through the same gateway. Then, however, there come moments when a picture communicates nothing but solidarity, shared being and one existence when the picture itself not only moves between horizons and transcends them but it is also absorbed by reality. This fully applies to Petr Veselý’s pictures. Their objectivity involves not only the time dimension but also a transcendental one.
Ernst Gombrich writes in his reflection on illusion that the power of interpretation can’t be overestimated, mentioning J. M. W. Turner whom he views as somebody who deliberately and in favour of what he sees suppresses all he knows about the world. Both are also relevant today, as we are moving on the same border of discernibility. Petr, however, turns not to what he can see but to what he can touch.
The moment of touch is magical, a touch has the power to take life and also to restore it. The laying of hands is an ancient ritual, hands radiate warmth and coolness, recognise, and in some cases also heal. The essence is always the same: the expression of craving for the original, the real, for what is genuine and to what we, at least imaginarily, return. Gombrich does that himself when talking about abstracted forms as a phenomenon of western visual culture which is certainly remarkable yet fatefully lacking any assessment rules. In Petr’s case, however, we move on the opposite side of the spectrum; a picture is an abstract, grey form, yet it is permanently striving at figuration, or evolves from it. At the sane time, what is abandoned calls for attention which is equally reversible, and the movement we perform during its recognition is thus cyclic and without memory. Echoes of objectivity are secondary, yet they have rules – and these manifest themselves in this way.
Petr’s work is about constants which regularly come to the fore. This regards both his poetry and what can be termed the natural life of things. As in a truly home environment things do not just appear but exist, they meander in forms and functions and their being has an order which also involves decline, so they are like this in the artist’s pictures, or rather, his pictures are like that. They show what a close link there is between them and the world if we deliberately insert them in the framework of our existence. Matter captivates.
Petr is aware of this, of course, otherwise he wouldn’t put so much effort into the bridging of the gap between reality and its image, between what has come to pass and what we expect. He also likes to enter this space, shaping it and summarizing it. Medieval altars in museums are the relics of other autonomous worlds, and the objects of the ordinary world devoid of their function are also like that. Naturally, this is an expression of reduction, but also concentration and (controlled) absence which, paradoxically, grows stable in its loss and thus resonates all the more its original function and talent. A hand frozen in motion, a shirt stretched in its bend moving from the field to the picture and beyond expresses this perfectly. As Ivan Blecha writes, “a reflection that the restricted position of the observer (…) leads to a restricted presentation of a thing is wrong and the statement about the necessary non-representationality of some aspects of reality, about its permanent distortion, is in fact unreasoned extrapolation.“ A picture is often the only thing left of something that once existed. It is a notch of a knife in a cupboard.
 E. H. Gombrich. Umění a iluze. Studie o psychologii obrazového znázorňování. Praha 2019, p. 235.
 In the last decades the formative task and nature of “things” has also been resumed by the western philosophical tradition, namely by Bruno Latour and object-oriented ontology (OOO).
 Ivan Blecha. Prostory zjevnosti. Dílo ve struktuře světa. Zlín 2018, p. 129.
Fait Gallery MEM, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
opening: 23. 5. 2018 at 7 pm
curator: Denisa Kujelová
Markéta Othová is a visual artist transgressing the clear definitions of photography, her most frequent medium. Her work defies conventional photographic procedures which the artist deliberately opposes, also in the case of this show. Here, Markéta accentuates the seeming banality of the documented, completely ordinary things with the use of the non-photographic record characteristic of digital archiving and with the choice of an ephemeral material for her typical enlargements. Large formats are in stark contrast with the intimacy of the chosen subject. Through the use of billboard paper and a scanner, the artist again intentionally defies photography in the true sense of the word, wiping out the borders between photographic and graphic art.
Examining the potential of a visual communication reflecting, in particular, the subjects of reality, time and memory which she addresses continuously, Markéta Othová employs her own means of expression which are also, to some extent, facilitated by her freedom as a self-taught photographer; in addition, this position makes the appropriation of the alternative possibilities of records easier for her. In this somewhat depersonalised manner she processes personal things from her private archive, subordinating them to the A4 format on the 1:1 scale. The colour digital record subsequently became for her part of a natural transition to colour photography.
While in her previous works the artist had often taken photographs intuitively, without a pre-set frame, and the meaning of the photos was only defined by the composition of the whole, the series of small scanned objects was preceded by a clear concept. In 2004 Markéta Othová systematically recorded her favourite things such as boxes containing photographs, fabrics, printed matter and patterns on paper, as well as various diaries including this series. She continued with their active use and the following collecting, and another scanning process took place in 2005-2017, within the preparation of this exhibition project, and in order to complete it, again in 2018. The result was literally the archiving on an archive. The missing 1992 diary does not render the work deliberately incomprehensible, which was often the case with the sequence of the individual shots with her previous pieces, neither is the year attributed a different meaning.
Due to its character and a clear regressive time definition, the exhibition is partially a retrospective. The storing of a dictionary entry is definitely a look back, yet at the same time it concisely and with a time gap presents past events and realities. However, these are hidden and only sensed underneath the white-printed signs of the years when they happened. And although the meaning of the artist’s personal retrospective is not transferrable, the succession of four-digit numbers indicates the validity of associations as the given data also obviously relates to all of us. Presumably, everybody has their own or mediated experience with the use of diaries, and through the general effectiveness and topicality of this object can be steered towards collective memory and an unexpectedly intimate self-reflection.