24.05.2023 - 29.07.2023
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curator: Pavlína Morganová
Opening: 24th May, 7 pm
We have worked since 2019 under the unconductive trash label, which is an anagram of our home towns - Duchcov (Michal Pěchouček) and Traunstein (Rudi Koval). This fatalism-tinged pun metaphorically expresses the internal aspects of the joint working method. Trash accumulates during every creative process and production. Trash is an important and familiar concept from the landscape of cultural values. The The retardation property of the unconductive rules out the regulation of trash and the control of the direction of creative energy. The brand is therefore our distilled manifesto - in art, we do not consider it important to finish things. What matters is the beginning of creative activity, not its completed result. The purpose of our collaboration is to remove the layers of the past and discover a new artistic identity.
The starting point of our artistic interaction is the easel painting - it proved to be a suitable and accessible means in a joint search for a new linguistic and content identity. At the core of our collaboration is the desire to shed the layers of our own past, i.e. to learn to forget our original artistic handwritings. We explore a new painterly handwriting through different materials and methods, including the space and time dimensions of art. In a pair, it is possible to discover new subjects for artistic retelling and new ordinariness. We experiment with artistic means while trying to "moderate" the intensity and interconnectedness of joint everyday activities. We include in art not only common knowledge but also ordinary experiences, situations that can be planned and experienced together. We focus on one-day and long-term challenges. We try to employ this experience of subtle everyday reality in robust wholes such as exhibitions.
The title of the current exhibition LARGELY OBSERVED is inspired by one of the terms of the European macroseismic earthquake scale. It identifies a degree of critical condition that is widely observed, but need not be taken fatally - for us it is a possible expression of the quality of the viewer's experience, the power of the inner experience of an artwork. The exhibition opens with our first collaborative works, burning daylight (2020), and continues with unconductive chronology (2023), a series of forty-eight paintings sewn together. At the centre are two extensive cycles of paintings, gold tint (2022) and virgin blue (2023), inspired by research into visual evidence of suppressed stories of the past. We have conceived the exhibition as a dialogue between two worlds: past and present, big and small. Through monochromatic work with colour and figurative detail, we attempt to tell real stories of the 20th century that resonate with our everyday lives today.
virgin blue (2023)
This installation of paintings and a monumental work close to architecture, design and large-scale relief painting is inspired by period photographs of one of England's first women football teams, Dick, Kerr Ladies F.C., which was formed during the First World War. Despite achieving considerable popularity and sporting success, the team faced strong opposition from the Football Association which banned women from playing on their pitches and stadiums for fifty years. The reason for the ban was to "protect" women who, according to the association, were not physically capable of playing football. The series of paintings thus refers not only to the pitfalls of women's emancipation but also to the period of the world wars, marked by many structural social changes.
burning daylight (2020)
The first works of unconductive trash were created as an experiment - the artists jointly modified paintings created by Rudi Koval in 2017. The burning daylight series thus captures the moment of the encounter of two artistic personalities and their incompatible handwritings. A dialogue between abstraction and figuration, the painterly approached surface and the drawing of a sewing machine, the removal of a canvas and its stretching onto a different format, the elimination of what already existed as well as the clarification of work with paint were all part of a search for new procedures and subjects.
unconductive chronology (2023)
The continuous series of forty-eight paintings is conceived as a monumental element in space and as a sequence of film frames for a motion picture. The individual canvases show an intervention that shrinks their surface through repeated stitching, thus creating volume. The fabric creases irreversibly even after stretching on a wooden frame. Unconductive trash works on two sewing machines simultaneously, with minimum checking of the result and according to specified conditions that are repeated. In doing so, they capture a personal unity in something that is both work and idleness, that is both festive and ordinary.
unconductive loop (2023)
The subject of this interactive installation is the mechanics of the sewing machine, its magical sound and its unsurpassed contribution to human civilization. It is the stepping mechanism of the machine that made the movement of the film strip in the camera possible. The driving force behind this work is the observing audience - without their presence the work wouldn’t exist.
gold tint (2022)
The gold tint cycle of paintings is loosely inspired by documentary photographs of everyday life of soldiers during the Second World War. For example, a series of reportage photographs taken in 1940 by John Topham while working in the RAF intelligence shows a home guard unit in Gravesend, England rehearsing an entertaining Christmas show - the soldiers performed in female roles and clothes. The rehearsal was interrupted by an alarm and everyone had to move to a defensive position, there was no time to unmask and change into uniforms. The whole story, including the rehearsal, is documented in several telling snapshots. They capture the desire of the British soldiers to forget the reality of war for a while, to have fun and to make present the missing female element - to let the yearning for it sublimate. The images were censored for a long time by the British Ministry of Information to prevent them from being exploited by the enemy as they placed the soldier-hero in a completely new situation.
Gender parody and cross-dressing common in the theatre are not unique in the military, either as evidenced, for example, in the book Soldier Studies (Martin Dammann, ed., Soldier Studies. Cross-Dressing in der Wehrmacht, Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2019), with amateur photographs showing scenes featuring German soldiers dressed up as women - scenes that were in direct contradiction to Nazi ideology.
The scenes in the pictures captured through specific gestures and situations symbolically touch upon many aspects of today's discussion on gender stereotypes, human desires and various forms of identities. The artists want to emphasise, among other things, that men are capable of absolute empathy and that femininity is inherent to them. The search for normality and everyday ordinariness is natural for human beings, even in the chaos of war.
macroseismic scale, 2022
A figurative transcription of the European macroseismic scale which, unlike the older Richter scale, takes into account the intensity of human perception depending on physical changes. For example, the degree of largely observed defines the critical condition that is largely observed inside buildings. At this level, no one can pretend not to notice anything. Earthquakes inside buildings are felt by many, but only rarely outside.
you have no power over me, 2023
The textual intervention in the gallery window involves the line used to break the curse at the end of the fantasy film Labyrinth (directed by Jim Henson, 1986). Here, it is intended as a possible analogy to the figures of soldiers, or rather, to their experience of chaos and their desire to get out of it.
Fait Gallery MEM, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Opening: 26 Februar 2020 at 7pm
Curator: Denisa Kujelová
The interest in the record of natural sounds and rhythms links Olga Karlíková with the context of conceptual artists and composers of experimental music who combine tones with visual art. Her work captures the sounds of various animal species and natural phenomena in the painting medium, with the graphic records of bird songs making up the most prominent part of her oeuvre.
Olga Karlíková started to work on a cycle of original drawings involving the acoustics of anatural space, represented in her case by the songs of birds and later by the trajectories and rhythms of their flight, in 1965, and the series anticipated the efforts of other Czechoslovak conceptual artists responding to nature: It was in 1965. I was walking through the Chotkovysady park, I remember this distinctly, and I was listening to a thrush. Suddenly I also saw it. I made some very awkward notes in my pocket calendar. Apart from numerous, systematically created series of drawings capturing the songs of birds and whales, the croaking of frogs as well as the sounds of bells and drums, the artist produced over the next forty years drawing records of various natural phenomena, for example, the trajectory of a ray of sunlight at equinox.
Karlíková’s creative approach and thinking in the 1960s came close to Josef Šíma, and especially to Václav Boštík and Jiří John. However, the intuitive, lyrical and intimate sensitivity to landscape is in her work subordinated to the fascination by natural phenomena and laws and their ardent exploration, with strict self-discipline and precise, systematic work. Her unique records of acoustic perceptions show parallels with the work of artists experimenting with the new possibilities of musical record. Yet in contrast to John Cage and his pupils from the Black Mountain College, Milan Grygar and his performance acoustic drawings and other artists employing free musical records, Olga Karlíková’s work did not primarily serve reinterpretation but captured actions in progress. Olga Karlíková’s work in its unique fashion of the transformation of natural acoustic phenomena anticipated conceptual leanings in Czechoslovak art, and through its strong ties with landscape also the work of Dalibor Chatrný, Marian Palla, Miloš Šejn, Inge Kosková, Pavel Holouš, Milan Maur and others.
In order to induce synaesthesic perception, i.e. the interlinking of the visual aspect of an artwork and its sound model, the records of bird songs are presented together with their possible sound “templates” - the recordings of the songs of particular birds. The identification of the individual bird species and the following classification roughly corresponding to audio-recordings could be reconstructed thanks to the artist’s natural need for making records of different types of bird voices, thus creating a kind of index of linear signs. Selected drawings of a more intimate character produced authentically in the natural environment include both records of the individual bird voices and the wholes reflecting the layering and intertwining of the songs of several species of song birds.
Olga Karlíková’s conceptual works place various natural phenomena and processes in direct connection with landscape, making its time present. She understood her work as a process taking place in a real time and space, directly linked with it, which is why the creative process can’t draw on memories or a sudden inspiration. Her perception and interpretation of natural phenomena resonating with universalism are close to the ideas of the Swiss philosopher and anthropologist Adolf Portmann and his neo-evolutionary findings published in the 1960s. Portmann stated as early as 1951 in his lecture “Time in the Life of Organisms” at the conference of the Eranos association: Each form of life is for us a shape which evolves not only in space but also in time. In a sense, living creatures are materialized time, like melodies. Life manifests itself in time shapes.