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: 26 February 2020 at 7pm
Curator: Tímea Vitázková
We are exploring the world to know how it works by just as like peeling Baumkuchen layer by layer.
There I wish the world is surrounded by moments to know small surprising facts which shake our understanding of the world a bit but not to the extent to completely change the structure.
… like when I came to know that couscous is a type of pasta.
Čert 180 g is a type of bread, which you can find on St. Nicolaus day in Tesco, Loupák pes 60g in Albert. Although these products are on offer in self-service checkouts, there is no real chance to buy them. Mirroring this situation, “bez omáčky” is most likely an option, that you can choose from while ordering fries from the same type of self-checkouts, but this wish may not be granted. Sometimes we are offered things by the system, which we cannot choose from, another time for a change we can choose things, which will not be allowed by the system. These are outwardly insignificant and easily overlooked objects and situations. We stop and think about it for a while and then we continue on with life, or we don’t pay attention to them at all.
Nonetheless, Minami Nishinaga with her daily obsession and sensitivity towards detail, pays attention to those situations, appreciates them and thus transforms them into her works. The essence of her work results in mostly objects and miniature sculptures, often having performative or audiovisual overlap. One of the main themes, which the artist deals with, is language. At the beginning, the author of Japanese descent perceived the Czech language as very difficult, even
inaccessible. She managed to get acquainted with the language only after getting to know the diminutives. These peculiar words, which contain a kind of mercy are also a sign of proximity between the subjects of communication, became a source of fascination for the artist. Minami Nishinaga became a collector of these phrases, the inventor of her imaginary vocabulary, looking for and assigning local equivalents to the diminutives of her native language. These diminutives
are the bearers of proximity but especially their cuteness - and it winds throughout the artist's work, which is also manifested at the exhibition in the Fait Gallery.
I’ll give brownie points to something like Čert 180 g, Loupák pes 60 g, or perhaps Bez omáčky visualises personal stories of eight anthropomorphic objects from different materials. These subtle narrative pieces capture a tiny murmur between objects and subjects. At first sight, these dialogues are not clear however, thanks to the author’s sensitivity and imagination they speak to us and are waiting for empathy, recognition and attention. It is subtle in personifications of zoomorphic works or objects, which are addressed with humanity and care. Other works are related to the artist herself, her "ritual" or situations, full of intimacy and are reflecting the search for support. Throughout these subtle poetic objects, Minami Nishinaga encourages sensitivity, receptive understanding and appreciation of not only your surroundings but also to you personally.