Pavla Sceranková & Dušan Zahoranský

Work on the Future

 
Selection from the Fait Gallery Collection

ECHO

 
Vladimír Kokolia

The Essential Kokolia

 
Alena Kotzmannová & Q:

The Last Footprint / Seconds Before…

 
Nika Kupyrova

No More Mr Nice Guy

 
Markéta Othová

1990–2018

 
Valentýna Janů

Salty Mascara

 
Jan Merta

Return

 
Radek Brousil & Peter Puklus

Stupid

 
Milan Grygar

LIGHT, SOUND, MOTION

 
Svätopluk Mikyta

Ornamentiana

 
Denisa Lehocká

Luno 550

 
Eva Rybářová

KURT HERMES

 
Christian Weidner a Lukas Kaufmann

ERASE/REWIND

 
Markéta Magidová

TERTIUM NON DATUR

 
Tomáš Bárta

EXTERNAL SETUP

 
Václav Stratil

LANDSCAPES

 
Ondřej Kotrč

TOO LATE FOR DARKNESS

 
Kateřina Vincourová

"WHENEVER YOU SAY."

 
Jiří Franta & David Böhm

BLIND MAN’S DREAM

 
Ewa & Jacek Doroszenko

EXERCISES OF LISTENING

 
Jan Poupě

SET OF VIEWS

 
Peter Demek

STATUS

 
Josef Achrer

BACKSTORIES

 
Radek Brousil

HANDS CLASPED

 
Katarína Hládeková and Jiří Kovanda

SIAMESE UNCLE & MONTAGE

 
Jiří Valoch

WORDS

 
František Skála

TRIBAL

 
Jiří Franta and Ondřej Homola

A BLIND MASTER AND A LIMPING MONK

 
Alžběta Bačíková and Martina Smutná

CARPE DIEM

 
THE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

THE FRAGMENTS OF SETS / THE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

 
Tomáš Absolon

MONET ON MY MIND

 
Kamila Zemková

THE DEAD SPOTS

 
Johana Pošová

WET WET

 
Ivan Pinkava

[ANTROPOLOGY]

 
SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

READY OR NOT, HERE I COME

 
Veronika Vlková & Jan Šrámek

THE SOURCE

 
Jan Brož

SSSSSS

 
ONE MOMENT / PART ONE: PRIVATE COLLECTION FROM BRNO

COLLECTOR'S CYCLE OF IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

 
Alice Nikitinová

IT WOULDN'T BE POINTLESS TO

 
Ondřej Basjuk

THE CULT EXHIBITION

 
Tomáš Bárta

THINGS YOU CAN´T DELETE

 
HE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

FOR MANY DIFFERENT EARS

 
Katarína Hládeková

TO START THE FIRE

 
Marek Meduna

AMONG THE DOG THIEFS

 
THE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

WORDS AMONG SHAPES / SHAPES AMONG NAMES

 
Lukas Thaler

THE PROPELLER

 
Krištof Kintera

Hollywoodoo!

 
Ondřej Homola

ARANGE

 
THE SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION FOCUSED ON THE YOUNGEST GENERATION

TETRADEKAGON

 
Tomáš Bárta

SOFTCORE

 
Richard Stipl

SENSE OF AN END

 
Lubomír Typlt

THEY WON'T ESCAPE FAR

 
Kateřina Vincourová

THE PRESENCE AS
A TRILL

 
SELECTION FROM THE FAIT GALLERY COLLECTION

OPEN

 
Christian Weidner
/ Vincent Bauer
/ Cornelia Lein

HERE AND
SOMEWHERE
ELSE

 
The selection from the FAIT GALLERY collection

THE SELECTION
FROM THE
COLLECTION

 
Alena Kotzmannová
/ Jan Šerých

A CHI-
LIAGON



Karel Malich & utopian projects

16.10.2019 - 11.01.2020

Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

Opening: 16 October 2019 at 7pm

Curator: Denisa Kujelová

Exhibition architect: Tomáš Džadoň

The global rise of modern architecture with visionary projects by Richard Buckminster Fuller, Hans Hollein, Roger Anger, Kenzo Tange, Arat Isozaki and others, together with the publishing of Michel Ragon’s revolutionary book from 1963 devoted to the issues of housing and urbanism in more or less distant future, triggered in the 1960s and 1970s a number of neo-avant-garde responses among further architects, as well as artists. Within the period contextualization, those worthy of note include Ron Herron’s Walking City, Instant City and other designs by the British Archigram studio, New Babylon by Constant Niewenhuys, Spatial City by Yona Friedman, designs by the American Ant Farm group, sea abodes by Japanese Metabolists and the work of the proto-accelerationist Italian collectives Superstudio and Archizoom.

Michel Ragon’s book Où vivrons-nous demain? (Where Will We Live Tomorrow?) was published in Czech in 1967 and came out in instalments in the Výtvarná práce bi-weekly. It summed up the ideas and projects of international architects and urbanists in step with the era of intergalactic flights, anticipating changes in technology and society. Ragon explores in the book new forms of the cities of the future and their possible forms, including futuristic funnel-shaped cities, metabolic and underground cities. He also devotes considerable attention to individual houses, for example, in the form of statues, mobile constructions and future buildings on the Moon. The area of fictional utopian cityscapes without clear territory as envisaged by Thomas More, Tommaso Campanella and Francis Bacon became for many Czechoslovak authors the outlet for frustration over their hopeless situation in the totalitarian regime.

Karel Malich’s utopian architectural projects are the results of his long-term fascination with ideas of space and its potential for the needs of mankind in the future. The artist systematically recorded these visions from the 1960s in the form of preparatory drawings, studies and provisional models. However, only a fragment was executed in the third dimension, due to the limited material possibilities and unfeasible technical requirements.

The artist’s reflections on space were anticipated by landscapes from 1963 in which the motif of an acronex  circle rose from a low tempera relief. The landscape subject was developed in early reliefs which show the undulation of surface and segmentation resembling fields, and are viewed as original images of terrain seen from above. The artist increased the plasticity enabled by new materials in further monochromatic reliefs in which he developed the motif into a circle activated into an ellipse and individual dynamizing elements, most often rods and tubes. The interest in relief in the context of the 1960s can be explained by the general trend of special attention paid to relief  which progressively grew independent of architecture and sculpture. In regard to Malich’s relief monochromes we should mention other international artists of the period such as Pier Manzoni, Oskar Holweck, Günter Uecker, Yves Klein, Pol Bury, Herman de Vriese, Jan Schoonhoven and Sergio de Camarga.

In parallel with reliefs, the artist started to address in 1967 the subject of corridors in which he continued investigating the possibilities of representing spatial intersections, passages and planes for the movement of energies. The corridors in which the artist first primarily dealt with the problem of overpressure, were for him materialized zones of intersecting paths and flows of energy. These objects are characterized by the polarity of pure, calm planes and dynamic metal elements intersecting them or partially passing through cuts in them. The gradual restraining of the dynamics of the incisions resulted in 1970 in absolute reduction and monochrome areas. At the same time, the artist developed his fascination with space from 1967 also in structures referring to architecture and urbanist projects of utopian visions in which spatial simulations of the flows of energy took place.

Karel Malich continuously recorded the monoliths of elementary forms with unusual and varied shape combinations in the form of sketches approximately from 1964 onwards, yet only a small proportion was realized. Nonetheless, what survives is a large number of designs in several dozen sketchbooks and 3D models made of paper, cardboard and wood, showcased here in this extent for the very first time. Some of these visionary drawings and models were reproduced as early as 1969 in an extensive study by Jiří Padrta entitled To work in accord with the universe and the elements in the Výtvarné umění journal. In this article, unusually long for its time and including an interview with the artist, Padrta emphasized, among other things, that many of Malich’s plastic-spatial constructions were directly intended for the context of internal space without the traditional exhibition approach, i.e. were intended neither for the wall nor for the floor or pedestal but for an open, weightless space. “Others count with the interplay of winds, water and with changes in thermic relations. And yet others count with much larger scales, as well as with matters and materials different from those that can be utilized now in terms of technology and material.” Unfortunately, an ideal exhibition design as proposed by Padrta would be impossible to execute even today.

Karel Malich came closer to his objective of weightlessness and dematerialization of objects through the use of copper wire depicting the flow of energy in linear outlines; it also gave him the opportunity to test the possibilities of the transparent material of pure or colour plexiglass in the first year of the Artchema symposium in Pardubice in 1968. The artist employed this new material in the series called Broken Blocks and Boxes, where plexiglass perfectly blending with the surrounding space replaced non-transparent plywood and metal. Both these materials were used in some of the artist’s models of utopian architectures displayed here.

As has been noted in the broader historical context by Jiří Padrta and later by Jiří Ševčík, Karel Malich’s work shows numerous parallels with Russian constructivists. “Like some of the pioneers of the constructivist idea fifty years ago, namely Tatlin, Gabo and Pevsner, he understood at the onset of his work in the early 1960s that space was, in the words of Gabo’s and Pevsner’s Realistic Manifesto, one of the objective forms which underpin life itself, and on which art must be based as well. It needs to be said, however, that Malich always rejected the proposed affinity with neo-constructivism as he did not feel himself part of this (or any other) movement and his art had completely different points of departure. Yet Malich shared with the 1920s avant-garde the vision in the designs of ideal plans of the future environment addressing people’s alienation from nature and the universe, and the idea of this new dynamic model of mankind, the world and the universe brought him close to Kazimir Malevich.

Malich’s architectural designs have a character of urbanist projects for future, more human societies. In the studies of constructions he incorporated the finding that the stereometric shape was not impenetrable but hollow under its surface, and that this passive block could be activated by a narrow crack, thus linking it to the surrounding space. Based on the needs of new structures, the artist gradually abandoned rectangular shapes, and from circles and ovals employed chiefly in reliefs, he moved to ovoids (by transformation to 3D form) and spirals (by extending into space) as his main motifs in the second half of the 1960s. Spiral also appears in the model of architecture syntheticizing on a circular base several shapes of different materials, one of which is an oval surface of plexiglass underneath which is a spiral-shaped undersea corridor linking copper satellites of different shapes. This morphology, together with the pellucid and transparent materials, gave rise to utopian projects of cities under the sea and rivers, under the ground, thermic architectures, cities for states without the existence of the police, cities on other planets‚ tidal cities, cities in deserts, and the like. Malich’s interest in architecture was triggered by his journey to the USA, and especially his visit to New York in 1967 and its right-angled network of streets in which in his opinion sound traces were confined and amplified. He mentioned the hypothetical realization of some of his studies, provided the flourishing of science and technology continued, in an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist in 2003. Malich’s proto-images of future environments were thus born out of the combination of abstract forms and existential contents, in complete harmony with natural elements.

The importance which Malich attributes to his architectural projects is illustrated by his comment: “Architecture is the final issue that interests me and which I’d like to have a go at. The approach chosen by many sculptors, the sculptors of dwellings, may not be interesting. Architecture of this kind has existed for a long time. It is strange nostalgia for life in the times long gone.”

Although Malich’s architectural work is cited alongside Yona Friedman, Walter Jonas and Paul Maymont, Malich’s sketches and notes were probably closest to the French architect Robert Le Ricolais whose reflections appeared in Michel Ragon’s book: “And as it will be necessary to coin a new word for the urbanized landscapes arising out of the disintegration of old cities, because those will no longer be cities, or perhaps cities — galaxies (is a scattered planet still a planet?), so it will be necessary to find new names for future constructions, as the word house sounds really anachronistic.”

The ideas of utopian urbanism of future states and cities, as well as small-scale plans and buildings, were preceded, with Malich and further artists represented at the exhibition, Milan Knížák, Václav Cigler, Alex Mlynárčik and the VAL studio, Július Koller, Dalibor Chatrný, Stano Filko and Jozef Jankovič, not only by the rejection of the concept of the existing constructions and cities but, in particular, by radical criticism of the unfree society and the newly introduced ecological topics. The unprecedented progress of cosmic research advanced the visions of futurological worlds as well, including a strong emphasis on their social and environmental aspect.

                                                                              


Vladimír Kokolia / The Essential Kokolia

-

Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
 
Opening: 17. 10. 2018 at 19:00
 
Curator: Miroslav Ambroz
 
To see nothing
For Vladimír Kokolia painting is an opportunity to reach things that one wouldn’t be able to get at well enough in any other way. Kokolia is the type of painter who wants to really see his subject.
 
Seeing
It might seem that Kokolia wants to be considered primarily as an impressionist, in the original derogatory sense of the term. He deliberately aims for the impossible: to be, as was quipped about Monet, “only an eye”. He does not, however, believe in a prepared innocent gaze — that would be a great affectation — but relies on an acceptance of the full torrent of visual sensations, or direct visual waste, when one doesn’t have the tools (and perhaps not even a reason) to distinguish illusion from the “overwhelming disorder of the real world”.[1]  He quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to this kind of view of the ordinary world is the knowledge about seen things that one carries in one’s head. Even the names of things are disruptive for the naked eye. Kokolia declares that information inhibits the image.
 
Seeing the seeing
Nonetheless, a painter wants to “see this seeing”. When seeing, how does a person notice that they are looking? According to Kokolia, this can happen only when we sacrifice meaning and simply let our view float. “I have the distinct impression that precisely such blank looking is the default setting of our vision. It is the most fundamental state, the ‘container’, the womb, the landscape, the pilot frequency, the Tao of seeing, only on account of which individual forms arise”, adds Kokolia.[2]  He believes that a lack of information brings astonishment. Truly, a lack of information? We know, after all, how James Joyce’s characters marvel at a sudden recognition of very fragile and evanescent moments, when a character experiences a sudden revelation about the “whatness” of a thing.
 
Similarly, for the nameless heroes in the hundreds of drawings from Kokolia’s Big Cycle, the inescapable mechanism of their actions is suddenly revealed to them at a single moment. Here, the vehicle of wonderment is an unexpected recognition of meaning. However, wonderment that is purely visual in origin is, in contrast to narrative epiphany, lacking in substance. The one who is experiencing wonderment just stares and does not actually know anything. Here, the intensity of not knowing shows the depth of wonder. It is as if the one in wonderment sees only one thing, so emptied that it can be considered null. For Kokolia, an example of such views momentarily without content are the squares and rectangles in Mondrian’s paintings. Here, they also have roots in Kokolia’s individualistic theory about cubism and in his thinking about the picture plane and “paintings within a painting”. For Kokolia, the view gradually became an independent entity in which it is possible to study only the visible content and to eliminate for the given moment both the observer and the observed thing.
 
Painting seeing
Why would the one in wonderment even paint at all? Isn’t it enough just to have the experience? A painter’s embodiment of what is seen is a passage from one world to another, and what was true in one world is not necessarily true in the other one. It is a completely new situation that presumes “the picture has the logical form of representation in common with what it pictures”. [3] A painting may be able to adapt to the form of depiction, but it also has its own special demands as a physical object covered with paint as well as an object with the aim of controlling how the viewer will see it. It must remain adequate, even if it has done away with the function of depiction. The same brushstroke is both a physical trace and also creates the ideal of an image that arises only with the viewer’s gaze.
 
Kokolia describes the realisation he had in the Hermitage Museum in 1980 while standing before one of Matisse’s paintings: “... something tells me that this is the genuine space, not the three dimensions out there; at the same time, it really and truly is on the surface, literally just oil paints on a canvas. I am looking directly at the union of the greatest abstraction and the greatest materiality…”[4]  For Kokolia, the idea of transferring images across different worlds might have its origin in printmaking. He has dedicated himself to this medium for almost as long as he has to painting (originally to be able to disseminate his drawings under the previous regime, when copy machines were under supervision). Since 1992 he has led the Studio of Experimental Graphics at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts. The themes of a matrix, an imprint and a reversal of the image appear repeatedly in his written musings. He similarly incorporates his experience with Tai Chi in his painting. Both of his Chinese teachers, Gene Chen and Zhu Jiancai, taught Tai Chi to him in a completely matter-of-fact manner, without a pseudo-spiritual overlay, and Kokolia likewise leads his brushstrokes with a consideration for the precise transfer of strength.         
 
Seeing painting
The concentration on direct, unprejudiced seeing and effort to see seeing was followed by the materialization of seeing in an artefact. Apart from this, Kokolia certainly does not underestimate the special moment when a viewer turns up in front of a picture. This is confirmed by the fact that at his exhibitions he examines in detail the distance between the viewer and the picture, their movement around it, viewing angles and orientation of the view, as well as the time spent before the picture.
For the sake of interaction, Kokolia occasionally resorts to popular or “discredited” forms. He styled one of his shows as a commercial sale in the course of which he lived, cooked and worked in the gallery. Another time he displayed “healing pictures” to which visitors were to “expose themselves”.
 
These and other strategies sought to provide viewers with sufficient time in front of pictures. Kokolia believes that the spent time itself causes that the mode of perception switches from a simple registration of visual information to abidance in a field of vision. The viewer, at least for a while, does not perceive a picture as a separate object, and the distance in the field of vision disappears. This situation can be generated, for example, by the induction of afterimages on the retina or by a view into the visual space of autostereoscopic pictures, as manifested by some of Kokolia’s exhibitions.
 
The image-in-itself
In interviews and texts, Kokolia speaks ironically about such common and seemingly problem-free terms as “communication”, “opinion” and “expression”. And he doesn’t even have the word “art” in his lexicon. So, if he isn’t just taking a position, what would he offer instead? I suspect that Kokolia has own sect (of which he is the only member) that believes in the “image-in-itself”. Meaning that images exist, even if they are independent of observation. Even if nobody has seen them yet. Perhaps it is this belief that helps him not to be perilously captive to changes in the contemporary context.
 
[1] Borges, Jorge Luis, The Cambridge Companion to Jorge Luis Borges, p. 209
[2] Kokolia Vladimír, Úžas, habilitační přednáška, 1996, Akademie výtvarných umění
[3] Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Tractatus logico-philosophicus 2.2
[4] S.M. Blumfeld, Prozření Vladimíra Kokolii, Vokno monthly, 1993, no. 27

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