11.10.2017 - 13.01.2018
Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
11. 10. 2017 - 13. 1. 2018
Opening: 11. 10. 2017 at 19:00
Curators: Beata Jablonská, Denisa Kujelová and Jana Písaříková
The arrival of conceptual art in the early 1970s was associated with the shift of interest from aesthetic and material qualities of artworks towards personal, social, historical and often also theoreticizing contexts. In contrast to the art scene in the West, the conceptual approach of artists in Czechoslovakia was motivated by a more personal search for the essence of the relationship between artist and art, at the artistic level as well as the political-ethical, social or even ecological level. The turn towards conceptual art was thus not viewed as dematerialization and iconoclastic efforts but, rather, as a utopian escape from the official, state-controlled culture. It provided the artists with a free space which they worked with a wide range of media and subjects.
The exhibition “CS CONCEPTUAL ART OF THE 70s” charts the trends that were first distinctly employed in the art of ideas, records of projects and actions in the late 1960s and faded in the early 1980s. It presents different forms of conceptual work with drawing and photography, conceptual art exploring the relationship between type and image, and also futurological, action and environmental projects.
The exhibition observes, through its interconnected themes, the closeness of the Czech and Slovak art scenes that have been approached, since the breakup of Czechoslovakia, as two separate entities. The exhibition concept is rooted in a quest for their intersections and joint points of departure. Never in the history of Czech and Slovak art was the need for a mutual dialogue cultivated and developed as much as in the 1970s.
WORD AND SIGN AS A CONCEPTUAL MESSAGE
While concrete poetry of the 1960s reduced the semantic component of language to a minimum, the 1970s saw the return to its meaning. Words were placed in contrast with other types of communication in the form of pictograms, pictorial symbols and numerals, which resulted in a tension between different types of representations.
Graphic music with its formalized language came to the fore in the 1970s. Visual and acoustic art was produced both by musicians active in the field of new music and artists who observed the visual order and the semantic potential of musical scores.
GEOMETRY, ORDER AND ITS DISRUPTION
Under the influence of conceptual art, the geometry of the body, space, area and form grew more sensitive and started to involve aspects placed by the modernist order outside its boundaries. It became a platform for interventions challenging the distinctive nature of geometrical compositions, the relationship between order and randomness, while being enriched with a social, anthropological and political dimension.
ART AS A RECORD AND EXPERIENCE OF EXISTENCE, PERSONAL RITUALS, INTROSPECTION
Reflections of everyday activities and gestures, perception of their stereotypical nature and escape from it in the form of ritual and through the intense experience of one’s existence. Reflections of a person’s immediate surroundings and the passing of time.
REFERENCES TO THE RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE, CONCEPTUALIZATION OF PAINTING, DRAWING AND POINT ZERO OF A PICTURE
Search for the point zero of a picture, a moment when the invisible becomes visible. The picture medium refers to itself, to its area, colour and matter. It makes its elementary properties present or, conversely, induces their gradual dematerialization. Frequent references to the black square, an important symbol of the Russian avant-garde, to the belief that the art experience leads to a more intense perception of reality.
PROJECTS, MANUALS, INSTRUCTIONS, OBSERVATIONS AND COSMOLOGY
The emancipation efforts of art in the sense of exploiting scientific and rational thinking are, to a certain degree, subversive as they apply a pseudo-scientific language even to the phenomena of a personal, spiritual and transcendental character. The artists were inspired and fascinated by scientific progress, by the language of natural sciences and statistics.
NATURE AS A MEDIUM, EXPLORATION OF THE LAWS OF PHYSICS, NATURE AND ZEN BUDDHISM, EPHEMERAL MATERIAL DEMONSTRATIONS, ENVIRONMENTAL SUBJECTS
The natural environment as a place where one can hide from the estranged and impersonal urban space, a territory beyond the state’s control, a place suitable for art activities. Many of them echoed ecological and ethical issues that were frequent subjects of unofficial discussions and meetings.
CARTOGRAPHY AS AN INSTRUMENT OF RECORDING A PERSONAL JOURNEY
Artists appropriated the rationalizing language of topological drafts, plans and maps, and through them made visible phenomena and spatial relations that cannot otherwise be mediated to the human perception. They emphasise the objective and factual aspect of real phenomena; at the same time, they lend validity to those that have a utopian character.
In the 1970s, artists’ books became alternatives for gallery and exhibition rooms. With the post medium, they were among the key ways of mediating and distributing conceptual art. In addition, many artists pushed through their work the very limits of the definition of books. They created books-objects, accentuated the haptic qualities of paper and the principles of browsing, and made the reading process complicated. Conceptual art of the 1970s was often the subject of personal communication between the artist and the recipient, or a group of friends.
QUOTATIONS, INTERPRETATIONS, APPROPRIATIONS
Interest in the analysis of the art medium, its intellectual reflection. The hierarchy between original and copy was disrupted in favour of the concept of art as a changing structure open to interpretations. The majority of artworks produced as quotations are actually visual reflections on the functioning and continuity of art and its lasting values.
Artists represented at the exhibition: Milan Adamčiak, Karel Adamus, Vladimír Ambroz, Peter Bartoš, Juraj Bartusz, Ján Budaj, Pavel Büchler, Robert Cyprich, Hugo Demartini, Milan Dobeš, Ľubomír Ďurček, Rudolf Fila, Stano Filko, Daniel Fischer, Peter Graham, Milan Grygar, Sonny Halas, Olaf Hanel, Vladimír Havlík, Vladimír Havrilla, Pavel Holouš, Dalibor Chatrný, Jozef Jankovič, Ivan Kafka, Olga Karlíková, Michal Kern, Martin Klimeš, Svatopluk Klimeš, Milan Knížák, J. H. Kocman, Július Koller, Vladimír Kordoš, Inge Kosková, Jan Kotík, Jiří Kovanda, Milan Kozelka, Miloš Laky, Milan Lasota, Dáša Lasotová, Otis Laubert, Milan Maur, Juraj Meliš, Karel Miler, Jan Mlčoch, Alex Mlynárčik, Marian Mudroch, Eduard Ovčáček, Květa Pacovská, Marian Palla, Vladimír Popovič, Pavel Rudolf, Tomáš Ruller, Jan Ságl, Zorka Ságlová, Rudolf Sikora, Jan Steklík, Miloš Šejn, Petr Ševčík, Petr Štembera, Ivan Štěpán, Margita Titlová Ylovsky, Monogramista T.D/Dezider Tóth, Jiří Valoch, Jan Wojnar, Ján Zavarský, Jana Želibská
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.