21.02.2018 - 05.05.2018
Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Vernissage: 21.2.2018 at 7 pm
Curators: Denisa Kujelová & Jiří Zahrádka
Return is the movement of the Tao, yielding
is the way of the Tao. Ten thousand things
in All Under Heaven are born of what there is.
What there is is born of what there isn’t.
In a distinctive visual style rooted in his personal memory, Jan Merta transforms real-world subjects into specific projections of his own experiences. This unusually sincere approach is in its intensity and truthfulness towards the viewer remarkably transferrable and communicative. In most cases, the artist chooses as the subject matter of his paintngs, drawings and objects things and situations on the edge of ordinary attention that, however, are personally highly important for him. By removing them from their original context and by their free processing he fills them with new contents. The pure essence of seemingly ordinary objects demonstrated on a monumental scale with the use of unconventional; spatial structures provides Merta’s paintings with a strange tension, which is in some works even intensified by the refined employment of light and the atypically approached relationship between object and area when an accentuated background creates an illusory perspective.
All of Jan Merta’s works have their own raison d’etre in particular stories, and his art is so closely linked with personal experiences that it could be understood as the artist’s diary records of events, experiences, memories and reminiscences of people, objects and places. Every new painting is for him a return in thoughts, and it is therefore hardly surprising that he has chosen this word for the exhibition title. However, it should be viewed at several levels of meaning: apart from the tite of a sculpture, the motif of return also refers to the show itself, organised in exhibition rooms to which Jan Merta returns with his new project after eight years. First and foremost, it refers to regular returns to the artist’s key theme circles, as well as to particular motifs which are, nonetheless, always approached in a different way.
Within the Return exhibition, sections such as Liberec are important; the artist returns in it to the places associated with his childhood and has worked on it, on and off, for several years, as is the subject of civilization threats and cultural codes as homage to Old Masters and specific works of art. One example is Goya’s painting Third of May 1808 (1814) from which Merta borrowed the motif of a lamp. The lamp as a source of light is a vital element of the picture, not only in its form but also in its content, and Merta has utilised it several times. Last but not least, the exhibition presents works referring to the artist’s penchant for Eastern philosophy. In 2010 and 2013 Jan Merta designed the book Laozi translated by Oldřich Král, and his close friendship with this extraordinary figure reinforced his interest in Chinese philosophy. In the Fait Gallery exhibition project this leading sinologist agreed to incorporate into the LAOZI installation his sound recording of the book accompanied by Merta;s paintings with fragments of cups and saucers. These symbolize clay vessels: according to the teaching of the Tao, the meaning and purpose of their internal parts only come from emptiness.
Fait Gallery MEM
Božetěchova Street 1 (entrance from Metodějova Street), Brno
02/11 – 1/12/2012
Opening: 1/11/2012 at 7pm
Curator: Jiří Ptáček
Tomáš Svoboda chose one second of the film with the American actress Julia Roberts and spread it to 25 separate images. He proceeded from the most common frame frequency used in film and television and he dissected the transient moment of one second, which is so short to which under normal circumstances nobody pays the slightest attention, into basic visual elements, as if it was possible to see two adjacent layers of the actress’s existence – Julie Roberts in the role of the second Julia Roberts “per se“.
Tomáš Svoboda belongs to an informal circle of artists using methods and means of expression of other disciplines. He oscillates between literature, stage design and film and combines them the most consistently in gallery installations focused on alternative forms of narration. He always maintains economy of means of expression and the model quality; he often works with curt, descriptive texts and their simple composition. The installation is completed with fragments of three-dimensional set pieces or architectural structures that refer to ephemeral structures in film and television studios.
Also in the spatial installation called Jedna vteřina života Julie Roberts / One second in the life of Julia Roberts we can find a number of the above-mentioned elements. Instead of narration, however, the main attention is focused on the specific existential duplication of an actor. Despite the performed anatomical study, the “fiction“ and the “non-fiction“ remain inseparable substances. Experiment – if it ever was an experiment – failed. To a scientist, such findings could cause a significant damage to his confidence and undermine his mental balance. To the contrary, for an artist, it could mean a poetic potential. Emptied space is filled with experience of different perception of an image which were flowing and now don’t flow anymore, a story which is necessary to put together piece by piece as a puzzle from each image and the time that began to expand, despite its original insipidity.