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.
Božetěchova Street 1 (entrance from Metodějova Street), Brno
Opening: 23/2/2012 at 7pm
Curator: Denisa Kujelová
The Fait Gallery Collection will introduce itself to a wider audience for the first time with a selection of works by leading representatives of the Czechoslovak pre-war and the interwar avant-garde. Selected works of Antonín Procházka, Emil Filla, František Foltýn, Josef Čapek and others are, in order to the outline of the collection profile and its connection with the contemporary art collection presented in Fait Gallery Preview, accompanied by graphic works of established artists from the late 20th century - Alena Kučerová, Milan Grygar and Jan Kubíček.
The dominating part of the exhibition is formed by the works of Antonín Procházka, that reflect the author's many years of effort to master the universality of the artwork with the help of geometry and inspiration by the art of ancient cultures. Through the tendencies close to unorthodox cubists Metzinger and Gleizes and Delaunay’s orphism, Procházka crossed the cubism by gradual reduction of the shape and completely specific stylisation, full of strongly coloured and curved shapes and spiral scrolls. His painting gradually grew in volume and plasticity, intensified by the use of unusual materials. In the years 1925-1926 Procházka grew into the Neo-Clasiccism affected by the figural art of archaic Greece, ancient Rome, Hellenistic Egypt and India.
Mostly Cubist paintings are accompanied by the bronze cast of the famous sculpture Anxiety (Úzkost, 1911) by Otto Gutfreund. This sculpture is generally seen as the first sculpture of not only Czech but also world Cubism. The influence of Czech Cubo-Expresionism can be found in the canvas by František Foltýn (Na stavbě /At the building site, 1924), where culminated his utter interest about the figure in a characteristic sharp angular shapes and robust expression. The emphasis on social topics and simplified factual depiction culminated in the year of the creation of the picture, when the Foltýn moved to Paris and there, under the strong influence of his surroundings, including František Kupka, began to devote himself exclusively to abstract art.
The need felt to respond to the growing dangers of Nazism in the thirties is evident in the work of Josef Čapek. At the same time, the war is also the main painting theme for Emil Filla. Because Filla and Čapek were both arrested by the Gestapo on the very first day of the war and imprisoned in a concentration camp, Filla's works from the years 1938-1939, mostly with the topic of Heracles’s fights, duels and bouts, were exhibited for the first time in 1945 in Mánes, in Prague. Emil Filla’s rich sculptural artwork is at the exhibition represented by the head of a woman who is deliberately confronted with a surrealistic sculpture A girl with a child by Vincent Makovsky from 1933.
Cubism was originally an inspiration also for Milan Grygar, postwar Emil Filla’s student at The Academy of Arts. In this exhibition he is introduced by a collection of acoustic drawings Antifon, that are a specific visual realization of the transcript of an audio event. Grygar has been working with the phenomenon since 1963. Also since 1963 has the graphic designer Alena Kučerová been using perforation in her works and since 1965 she has been adding the used printing stamps to the shown prints as specific art pieces. In the seventies she replaced the scenes from quite ordinary human situations by genre themes and she started to depict the animal motives in her graphic art. In the eighties she completely replaced the figures motives with landscaping themes. On the contrary, Jan Kubíček started as a landscape painter and through a unique form of lettrism and by rigorous analysis of order and exploration in the area of a form, he reached a fully autonomous rationalistic geometry.