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 PREVIEW, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
opening: 23. 5. 2018 at 7 pm
curator: Laura Amann
Feel free to walk in.
Let the sun set on your face.
Everything is in transition.
Light becomes dark.
Your core body temperature sinks.
Words create imagery.
Let the sun guide your rhythm.
You realise the table is a chair.
Or was it a bed.
Can you even feel the frictionless surface?
“Your living room is a cinema.”
It is real but also surreal in its dream-like fluidity.
If you feel like it, think about the following…
Sunrise paints the sky with pinks and sunset with peaches Text > Image > Text
We are inclined to assume that images are by nature static and poetry temporal. Are you really sure about this? Isn’t it so, that all media bear traces of other media and therefore are inherently mixed? Maybe it is more interesting to focus on decoding the precise dosages and ingredients of those mixtures? Think about: What is a medium made of? How do we experience it? How does it manifest itself in time and space? Which main sign system does it use?
Maybe the differences do not always lie where we think they lie.
In this sense it is interesting to think about the way we describe an image. Do you visualise or verbalise? Are you static or dynamic in your style? Do you tend to focus on spatial perception, precise localisations, detailed descriptions and use mainly nouns? Or do you focus on temporal expressions, dynamic descriptions, in short the narrative, and lots of motion verbs? Does it make a difference if the image is familiar to you? And what if somebody else had already described the image to you before?
Ultimately it is your choice how to describe and therefore how to see.
One day, I saw the sunset forty-three times Consciousness > Unconsciousness > Consciousness
When we dream, or rather when we remember a dream we operate at the borders of consciousness and at times in the transitions between waking and sleeping. And though typically thought to be passive and unproductive, the worlds that sleep contains and performs are worlds that inform and influence our waking lives. Though we know very little about why we need sleep, we do know it clears toxic metabolic debris, consolidates our memory and helps us learn and reorganise information accumulated while awake.
So if sleep is a productive mode in itself in a different state of consciousness,
Is it possible that the imaginative labour of artistic practice is a form of public dreaming?
Public dreaming, that allows us to enter a liminal state of emotional transference, where we cannot differentiate intimacy from distance, ourselves from the other and familiarity from reality.
A beautiful sunset that was mistaken for a dawn Ethics > Aesthetics > Ethics
If aesthetics has everything to do with sensation and perception through bodily feeling, good design has actually made us numb.
The smooth surfaces of modern design are there to eliminate any friction. Good design has become our anaesthetic, allowing us to prolong our liminal state of unconsciousness into waking ours. But good design was not only supposed to look like good design it was also supposed to make us ‘good’, to give us instant virtues. Good design is our antidote.
But who are we to need this smoothness so badly?
Your story left me with a bitter after-taste…
I hope your make-up is waterproof.