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, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curator: Pavel Kubesa
Special opening day: October 8, 4 pm–9 pm
The Event of Painting
The RAFA MATA exhibition project is, after some time, the first solo show of Tomáš Absolon in the Czech Republic. The artist develops in it his internal motivation to go back to the issues of pure painting. He chooses as his means of expression the most elementary components of the paining arsenal, colour and shape, and at the same time reduces the possibilities of the exhibition and installation aesthetics to bare minimum. Such artistic strategy places in the centre of attention the format of a picture per se, and presents Absolon’s found forms of contemporary painting in condensed form.
Work with his own, continuously built corpus of inspiration has always been important for Tomáš Absolon. His extensive database of subjects, symbols and influences stemming from broad cultural consciousness framed by experience of the global world of web 2.0 enables Absolon in his visual reductions to go beyond the conservative approach to the picture towards “postmodern mythologies“: the picture is only linked with external phenomena existentially, i.e. ontologically, not in reflected form (i.e. semantically). The pictorial visuality is thus not iconically (not even “arbitrarily“) associated with inspirational contents: the reference function of the pictorial symbol is completely suppressed and the “theme aspect“ of the series is created by a defining aesthetic and formal environment in which Absolon explores the possibilities of the development of new picture motifs.
The aesthetic environment, i.e. the sum of aesthetic features and qualities, traditional symbols, myths and representations making up the backdrop of the RAFA MATA project, is a hybrid territory stretching between top-level sport and corporate ideology: Absolon’s topical pictures are rooted in specific internal aesthetics of top-level tennis and sophisticated visual systems of the tobacco industry. These two worlds seem miles apart but share visual attractiveness, as well as distinct pictorial representations and an equally powerful emotional charge of the overall image of these two “incredibly sexy lifestyles“. However, Absolon wipes off the borders between these two inspirational stimuli, only extracting from them their typical colour composition and essential shapes.
The RAFA MATA series marks a shift from the previous ones in which Abssolon embraced formal trends from other avenues of art such as graphic design and typography, and subordinated the individual pictures to a pre-defined summarizing concept. He now focuses on the painterly solution to a particular picture. In each painting he attempts, by means of a unique visual motif, to develop the purely painterly inner logic of a picture which only unfolds in the very event of painting. The colour scheme approached more through space mediated by both gradual and sharp colour transitions, and loosely rendered shape lines return to the play of Absolon’s pictures re-found objectivity of motifs; at the same time, they open the possibility of the theme of a painting error: the space of the error is also the space of the happening of painting which visualizes and unveils this inner logic.
Absolon’s latest pictures require an interest in detail. They make a picture present in time and physical space, they remove it from interpretation and reception strategies of the consumption of visual representations in the environment of digital platforms and place it in a physical relationship with the viewer. The event of painting thus becomes (in a more and more dematerializing manner of experiencing everyday life) a directly accessible event of experiencing painting; this gives rise to an inherent continuity between the inner self and the surrounding world, a continuity which is not mediated and which can’t be mediated, a continuity which is undergoing a major crisis in the current situation of a global pandemic.
A virtual tour of Tomáš Absolon's exhibition - RAFA MATA can be found here.