01.06.2022 - 30.07.2022
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curators: Denisa Kujelová and Jiří Ptáček
Opening: 1. 6. 2022, 7 pm
In the exhibition project of the versatile visual artist Petr Nikl, his creative approaches intertwine in a vast imaginative garden - a kind of ecosystem of moving and seemingly static organisms cultivated by the artist, but at the same time partially self-grown, much to his delight.
Petr Nikl is one of the few Czech artists who need little introduction to the cultural public. Almost everyone will remember some of his exhibitions, a painting, drawing or print, an exhibition project he initiated, a music recording, a concert, a theatre play or a performance or, for example, a book for adults and children he wrote and illustrated. However, it is not this multi-faceted and decades-long presence of Petr Nikl in our cultural space that makes him an unmistakeable and a rather unique figure. Indeed, this presence would not be worth talking about and would be just mindless hyperactivity were it not characterized by the imaginative poetics with which the artist draws us into a fascinating space of fantasy and play.
If we were to sum up what Nikl communicates to his viewers and listeners, it would probably be a non-violently subversive impact on the consensus of dignified and pragmatic adulthood which creates a wall of restrictions and a hard-to-fulfil desire to break it, and Nikl's ability to indicate, through the outcomes of his work, a path towards the fuller experiencing of the multi-layered and mysterious nature of existence that spreads underneath the veneer of the mundane and the superficial absorption of reality.
Nikl co-founded his puppet theatre company Mehedaha as early as 1985. At that time, he was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where intermedia fusions or performative forms in visual art were not discussed and taught. In accordance with the ideas of the cultural nomenclature of the period about clearly defined fields for the individual artistic disciplines, they were not even considered potentially enriching.However, he soon found kindred spirits among the members of the Tvrdohlaví art group which made its first public appearance in 1987, with understanding not only for artistic activity but also for self-realization in music and theatre. Yet only in Nikl’s case involving the wide spectrum of image, sound, language and body did it become the basis of all creative activities.
Like the performances of Nikl's plays where his visual sensitivity is strongly applied, many of his art projects are determined by the performative and procedural aspects of art. This is by no means limited to paintings which are executed by mechanical machines with the artist's assistance, often in the presence of the audience. This is also true, for example, of his recent works on paper in which he explores new possibilities by dipping rolls of paper in paint in anticipation of (again) only partially predictable results. Randomness and spontaneity help the artist to cross the horizon of his own imagination and provide him with the possibility of wonder at the resulting image. They are not far from Nikl’s drawing method in which his skill taps unconscious sources and the drawing is thus "let" grow out of contents which otherwise remain inaccessible. In them, too, Nikl is merely a participant who does not have a hundred-percent control over what kind of treasure his mind and hands will bring.
The exhibition in the Fait Gallery is rooted in the metaphor of a flower bed. While a garden is associated with a branching cultural symbolism, the flower bed as its sub-component is only a kind of working subject. Under normal circumstances it is cultivated and maintained in a state where it serves well the greater whole or a given purpose which, depending on the intentions of the grower, is either ornamental or utilitarian. A flower bed that is not weeded and consequently wild is a sign of neglect, while care is characterized by a high degree of restriction and control over what can take place in this demarcated area. In contrast, Peter Nikl lets his imaginary flower beds overgrow in anticipation of the unsuspected and surprising. For him, they are not what he carefully prepares and then follows a plan but a combined activity of plants, soil, sunshine, rain, insects, earthworms, moles and other elements that enter into the process. The flower beds - not dissimilar to stretched canvases or sheets of paper because of their limits - are thus filled with actions that we can only partially observe. And anticipate even less.
Thanks to this, they can turn into fascinating revelations which, through their self-organization and somewhat "disorganized organization" take us beyond (or "under") an objective and clear understanding of reality, to its massive organicity and complexity that is never fully graspable. And yet, this "big" takes place in the encounter with something as "small"... as a flower bed, a drawing or a painted image.
Text: Jiří Ptáček
Fait Gallery MEM, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curators: Marie Štindlová a Lenka Vítková
Opening: 23. 2. 2022, 7 pm
natural as the smoke from the smouldering end of a burning stick.
Inge Kosková's drawings are characterised by subtlety and sensitive precision. With extraordinary virtuosity, she touches on ephemeral subjects such as rhythm and breath, records landscapes and music, and writes letters in non-existent scripts. The Flow exhibition showcases a more vigorous form of her drawings which manifest that even subtlety can be firm and powerful.
Inge Kosková lives in Olomouc
her drawings have the most beautiful breaks
her drawings feature Czech forests and meadows, crushed grass by a pond
her drawings with mantras are happy wishes for the world
her drawings are her breath and perhaps also her spirit (of a kind jester)
Inge Kosková draws on her own, even though we can say that she belongs somewhere
Inge has been compared to Olga Karlíková who produced drawings as light as the feathers of birds whose sounds guided her hand
Inge has been compared to Václav Stratil, the old trickster
Inge has been compared to a few others (the circle of artists of the Olomouc drawing, as they are called)
Inge was often interpreted by Jiří Valoch when he used to stomp around at exhibition openings in pointy shoes
Inge's work is concentrated and balanced. She slowly cultivates what she has, and she has lots.
Inge sometimes draws as if she were writing letters
Inge sometimes draws
Inge Kosková is often associated with the circle of artists of the Olomouc drawing. However, her work has always been somewhat solitary. It was and is based on honest contemplation and the distillation of phenomena to the core. In the beginning, she created imaginative works referring to surrealism, gradually moving through figurative motifs with existential overtones to records of landscapes and a search for the order of nature in general. Over time, her drawing expression lost the narrative and verbal content in favour of various phenomena that are difficult to convey in words. Their common denominator is breath, rhythm, a break. The drawing expression is reduced to a simple black line and well-organised work with large white areas of paper. In her works inspired by nature, a similarity to script emerges, and this motif is developed in drawings inspired by the structure of letters and the laws of writing. This experience is further reflected in the works created to music. Another kind of record involves works recording bodily sensations and a series of drawings with mantras in which the artist covered the paper with concentrated drawings related to a circle while repeating a particular mantra. The selection of works for the MEM gallery is based on recent records of music, supplemented by several drawings with mantras and a large-scale drawing on the front wall.
When I look at Inge Kosková's delicate drawings, it is as if I was looking at materialized gestures, as if I was looking at a variant of a music score for the dance that Inge performed in her tree-shaded flat while listening to Janáček. Listening to music appears to be an excuse to allow her lifelong experience of music, rhythm, landscape, body and breath to be put on paper. The long drawing on the front wall originated in the gallery. We observed how ideas and movements were conserved in lines making up a stream that ran around the gallery whenever someone allowed it through their gaze.
Even small drawings after Janáček and Medek flow with the spontaneity and power of a river stream. It meanders and intensifies in robust drawings with mantras - concentrated records of meditation exercises produced in synchronicity with the artist's breath. A few precisely laid black lines on white sheets of paper in a white gallery.
Text: Marie Štindlová