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
Curator: Pavel Švec
Opening day: May 12 2021, 5 pm–9 pm
Obstinately precise technical rendering accentuating detail. Emphasis on direct, sensory experience and an almost physical effect on the viewer. Continuously developed expressive handwriting inspired by personal fascination rather than by an interest in the latest trends and tendencies in contemporary art. Spectacularly shared doubts over the distinction of the borders between reality and illusion, between machine algorithms of a virtual environment and a fluid realiy which surrounds us outside the reach of the monitors and displays of our smart devices. These are the main attributes in the work of David Možný (*1963), an artist who has earned recognition thanks to his digitally animated videos and video installations.
In the artist’s series for the Fait Gallery, the core of his oeuvre shifts closer to the classic approach to a work of art, whereas in the selection of topics Možný remains consistent. An almost ubiquitous film narrative gradually becomes a mere predictor and a fragment inviting the viewer’s active participation. As if it now were the viewer that is the hero of the film and the only one able to untangle all its metaphysical, latently criminal plots. However, like, for example, in David Lynch’s films, their solving is far from unambiguous and involves an emotional level intertwined with the feelings of oppression, emptiness and pointlessness. Through his well-considered and carefully elaborated interventions into the perceived reality or its modified visualization, Možný leads the viewer out of illusory certainties and balance and reveals the disquieting fragility of our ingrained conceptions of the world which, however, defies stability. The props here do not serve as a backdrop for a plot but become the main carrier of information, the content of which oscillates between an intimate representation of a mental and emotional state and a visionary report about the state of our civilization and the world in which we live.
The moment of disquieting disjoining is encountered at the very entrance to the exhibition, as the imaginary base of what is before our eyes is not found on the floor on which we stand: the space before us splits into two alternative worlds. Somewhere in a gap between them there arises a question of the cohesion of the props in which our lives are staged, the paradoxical nature of which we have come to denote reality. Možný’s fiction thus takes us via a detour back to the problems of reality, or more precisely, to the question “where does reality take place?”. The mentioned tendencies culminate in the installation LIMBO, whose title refers to the purgatory or in a broader sense, to a state of the separation from the conventional structures of the world. Our bipolar inclinations and thought schemas collapse here before our eyes, as does the flimsy spectrum of our rational thinking.
Nonetheless, the method which Možný often employs in his works and which could be compared to the construction of theatre props is seen elsewhere at the exhibition, completely reversed. A random viewer might overlook that instead of something posing as an ordinary cardboard box (provided with the mysterious and again somewhat disquieting inscription FEAR GOD) they are in fact looking at a polychrome bronze sculpture – an exact copy of a package in which the artist, when providing material, received one of his orders from China. While props are usually mere substitutes, imitations of more noble materials and more sophisticated work procedures, here we witness the factual opposite. Our perception and reality thus clash again.
One might get the impression that the imaginary content intersection of all the pieces on show is thus a poignant conflict relationship between two (or more) parallel levels, yet we find among them one that also offers a kind of catharsis. LOVE – the last word in the diary of the writer W. S. Burroughs – is transferred here into three dimensions and accentuated with the state of permanent burning. The bluish flame seems to indicate that in a sense sharing exceeds the categories of life and death on the interface of which Burroughs’s diary entry was created. Love as the only thing able to reconcile permanent and omnipresent conflict. Neither wisdom nor experience, no holy grail, no satori, no solution... And if love doesn’t last forever? Well, then we are left to make do with anything between eternity and the blink of an eye.