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Text k výstavě v Nau Gallery v Praze, 22.6.-6.7.2017

V posledních letech řada prestižních lékařských fakult přistoupila k zvláštnímu kroku. Pro začínající mediky, u nichž se tradičně cení především jejich znalosti a dovednosti v oblasti přírodních věd, byly zavedeny kurzy rozvíjející jejich schopnost vizuálního vnímání, empatie a analýzy prostřednictvím recepce a reflexe uměleckých děl. V řadě amerických a britských muzeí umění tak můžete potkat skupinky mediků trénujících své vnímání a uvažování třeba na gotické pietě či barokním obrazu. Schopnost umělecké interpretace světa kolem nás stimulovat naše smysly a harmonizovat racionální a kreativní zaměření našich mozkových hemisfér, není žádná novinka. Spolu s rozvojem technologií a se současnými prohlubujícími se znalostmi o lidském mozku se však dnes stává čím dál tím představitelnější možnost ji exaktně doložit a také s ní systematicky pracovat.

Jonáš Strouhal se ve své práci zaměřil na propojení dvou současných technologií, které se přímo dotýkají našich primárních kognitivních schopností jako jsou lidské smysly a zpětná vazba na ně v našem mozku.
Zatímco dnes znova tak aktuální technologie virtuální reality je i v uměleckém prostředí velkým hitem, psychofyziologická terapie zvaná neurofeedback, která využívá zpětné vazby se senzory snímajícími mozkové vlny, stále může pro mnohé působit na hranici mezi sci-fi a účelovou terapeutickou metodou. Něco dříve tak neuchopitelného, jako jsou vnitřní lidské pocity, dlouho ploše vnímatelné jen v tak primitivních přístrojích jako byl Detektor lži, se díky technologii neurofeedbacku dostává do doložitelné přímé vazby s vnějšími podněty.

Pro tradiční společenskou pozici a modernistické chápání uměleckých děl však taková technologie může vlastně působit i jako hrozba. Slovo „subjektivní“, tak důležité pro klasickou percepční estetiku, se zde prostřednictvím dat získaných ze senzorů proměňuje v zevrubnou exaktní analýzu. Vztah subjektu a objektu, či fenoménu a jedince získává podobu obousměrného propojení datových toků a nervových impulzů. Pro běžného pacienta neurofeedback terapie ovšem takovéto teoretické úvahy nemají žádný význam. Pro něj je podstatná efektivita léčby a také přívětivost rozhraní na něž je napojen.

Strouhalův projekt Dr. Mozek se nesnaží o pouhé umělecké gesto, ale vlastně s velkou pokorou využívá kreativních možností uměleckého řemesla k vytvoření funkčního modelu, v němž neurofeedback plně využívá svoji terapeutickou roli. Schopnost definovat tvar, utvářet formu a vyjádřit jimi výtvarný záměr byla dlouho především doménou zpětné vazby mezi lidskými končetinami, okem a mozkem. Strouhal ovšem onu nejvíce fyzikální část, tedy gesto rukou, proměňuje naopak ve vyjádření, které bychom mohli trochu starosvětsky označit za „spirituální“. Fyzickým gestem při tomto „malování mozkem“ zůstává pouze senzory snímaný pohyb hlavy a očí, tedy naopak něco, co běžně pokládáme za pasivní nástroj percepce. Strouhalovu snahu o praktický přínos jeho práce nemusíme chápat nejen jako pohrdání samoúčelnou rolí většiny umělecké tvorby, lze ji v tomto ohledu vnímat i jako návaznost na altruistickou roli „sociální plastiky“ a víru ve schopnost kreativity být přínosem i mimo institucionálně definovaný rámec „umění“.

Text: Viktor Čech

Dr. Mozek je interdisciplinární platforma pro vývoj a aplikaci terapeutické metody neurofeedback.
Platforma vznikla v rámci diplomové práce (UMPRUM) a klade si za cíl terapeutickou metodu neurofeedback zefektivnit a zpřístupnit širší veřejnosti.

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Nitrianska Galéria, Galéria Mladých, Nitra, Slovakia, 16 Feb – 26 Mar 2017

The French sociologist and philosopher Gilles Lipovetsky described today’s society – characterised by a feverish hyper-consumer mania followed by a growing anxiety that reflects upon the decline of social values and the ever-growing social gaps as “a civilisation of paradoxical happiness”. An individual is thrown into a hedonic swirl of revelry with the widest selection of pleasures in human history. The seemingly unlimited choice and ever-changing selection tend to compensate for a true civil liberty of an individual. The feelings of satisfaction and self-realisation tend to disappear in such a wide range of stimuli and they are replaced with frustration and anxiety. These are accompanied by apprehension that leads to the feeling of a personal and social endangerment.

Today’s consumer of mass culture lives in a world that deletes the boarders between the actual and virtual environments. This is also the case of a consumer’s body that spreads its digital tentacles deep into the digital space behind the screen. The neurotic lust for this quasi-material world is related to the objectifying of ourselves, seeing our own body as an object or a series of objects. Sometimes we do not even know where our body ends and the rest of the world begins. We become a part of it just as well as other things start to work very well regardless of us (whether it’s the progress in AI or the so-called internet of things). This loss of borders and clear roles or identities just adds to the overall feeling of anxiety.

A number of results of the phenomena mentioned above can be seen in the work of Milan Mazúr whose exhibition in Nitra is named after Lipovetsky’s term. Mazúr’s videos and installations use the prisms of visual culture like motion pictures or objective situations that are based on the material core of our civilisation. One of the presented videos is called Myokymia, an involuntary quivering of muscles, often caused by anxiety. These seemingly smooth aesthetics of our material culture with undeniable signs of crisis are visually and narratively represented in messages that are spread along the whole presentation. The feeling of safety and peace the gallery visitor experiences while looking for an aesthetic experience can also become paradoxical considering the hidden anxiety the exhibition insinuates.

Viktor Čech

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http://www.milanmazur.com

 

 

Kostka Gallery, Meetfactory, Prague
Exhibition duration: October 11 – November 17

Curatorial text: Viktor Čech

 

The word pilgrimage used to have a poetic and freedom-associated flavor, be it the journeys of romantic poets and artists, in our environment e.g. Karel Hynek Mácha, or their fascination with the free, nomadic Gipsy lifestyle. At present, the word, meaning also our journey to fulfill our dreams and desires, is often being replaced by another expression, the migration. Until recently rather used in scientific, historical and sociological context, lately it has become an igniter setting to fire many of hitherto just smoldering social problems.

In his exhibition project for the Kostka Gallery, Ivan Svoboda returns to a more personal perspective of pilgrimage, a journey from somewhere, via different places, through time, space and cultural frameworks. In his video he captures a journey of a couple, taken at locations familiar to him since his childhood. A short story of two heroes told against a background of these visuals carries a more general message. We do not know where these pilgrims come from, and whether it concerns something in the past or in the present. We just follow the plot staged by the author in a strange timeless sequence where even the narrative line rather contributes to the situation buildup around the visual space of the film shots. Similar to the classical Czech movie Journey to the Beginning of Time, the heroes move outside the set of common rules of our reality. The author draws upon his older works: both visual and verbal narrative means serve him mainly as a pretext to make his image space deeper and define an existential situation. The Pilgrimage is, above all, a story of individuals, their memory and experience.

Similar to our predecessors migrating from Africa dozens of thousands of years ago, we too continue migrating, despite thinking we live within a closed and static social apparatus. Our movement among spaces, contexts and changes of both our physical and mental substance, may become, in our memory, a similar journey we have known from Zeman’s film mentioned above.

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Jiří Švestka Gallery Berlin

September 17th, 2016 – November 5th, 2016

Contemporary art often asks the question: What are things and how do we co-exist with them in our world? It takes into account the autonomy of objects that are created, exist, pass through different situations and cease to exist, just like us. Simultaneously, there is also the matter of material, its properties and physical effects. And this is also the case of actual artworks that often play many different roles during their existence.

Georg Ettl’s artworks also played many different roles from the end of the 1960s to the first decade of the 21st century. Starting with the dynamic environment of American art at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s influenced by minimalism, material art and conceptualism and ending with the local West German context of the 1980s and 1990s combined with the postmodern atmosphere of that time. Therefore, it is very hard to define Ettl’s artwork, using the traditional classification of art styles and movements. Yet, his artwork embodies an unexpected homogeneity and internal logic and shows clear intellectual starting points related to the initial humanities that he studied in Paris and the USA, as well as the playfulness and irony associated with them. It is the very moment of interplay manifested in his working with shapes, materials and later on with adopted figurative forms that represents the important aspect of his artworks. In principle, it is, however, rather a structured, analytical and combinatorial play that is more typical for conceptualism than for postmodernism. His artworks from the 1960s and 1970s often intercorporate both modern construction materials, such as cement, formica or acrylic glass, and traditional wood, marble and the most exclusive material – gold leaf. Analogically, his objects also combine the minimalistic austerity of a specific geometric object with archetypal forms, such as the step pyramid, polygon, etc., that have been a part of human culture since time immemorial. The interplay between transparent acrylic glass and the structure of hard cement and stone or between the solidity of a geometric object and the soft unboundedness of feathers creates an optically and physically perceived link between viewers and the object occupying the same space with them. Starting in the second half of the 1970s, the mentioned figurative elements became a part of this interplay while remaining the subject-matter of the analytically perceived and playful analysis.

Georg Ettl’s interest in tension between the physicality of an art object and the intellectual abstraction of a form represents a steady line of all his artworks. At the same time, we can see that it is a product of his experience from both worlds. His artwork seems to teeter, straddled over the Atlantic Ocean, between the freshness of American art, experienced in its unburdened topicality, and the cultural-historical heaviness of European tradition. This is perhaps its specific value, thanks to which we can even nowadays look at the seemingly defined story of the art of that time through today’s eyes.

Viktor Čech

Flamingo invitation

text for exhibition in Fait Gallery, Brno, CZ

The exhibition of art work by David Böhm and Jiří Franta combines the presentation of the first two episodes of the short film, that the authors have been working on this year, with an installation of their sculptures and drawings. All these works show their interest in the moment of a shift in the perception of the world caused by some restrictions and the feeling of being different and strange.
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A French mathematician, Bernard Morin is blind since childhood. Yet he has excelled in the so-called mathematical topology, a discipline that does not work only with numbers, but also with three-dimensional models. The subject of his long term work have become joint deformations, turning the models of spheres into complex and difficult to imagine shapes. The ability to recall an object or a form we usually associate with our ability to see. It does not matter if what we perceive is in front of us, or in our imagination, it is still a visual activity. In human biology the retina is linked to the brain by such a dense network of connections that a healthy individual can hardly imagine any other way to perceive the world. But Morin, when making his self-produced clay models, did not use only mathematical speculation, but an important – his imagination. The ability to “see” in his case gained another meaning. The absence of visual sensations of the outside world obviously did not prevent, and maybe on the other side strengthened, his inner vision. A door to a concentrated contemplation about form through touch had opened for him. What is for a sculptor a technique in daily practice, meaning dealing with the shape of a tactile activity, changed into an autonomous system in the work of a mathematician.

In the videos presented at the exhibition in the Fait Gallery David Böhm and Jiří Franta reflect just this situation where imagination is not associated with the experience of visual perception of an external reality. What can a blind man, who has never been able to see, dream of? Sure, it could be more a question for the cognitive sciences, however, here it is the questioning itself that is more important, it opens an interesting creative space for the authors. Both authors are already known for how, within their creative cooperation, they often, with a humorous playfulness, deal with the actual creative act as well as many obstructions. As the creative process is getting intentionally more and more complicated, it becomes an art piece itself. At this exhibition the moment of being different and obstacles, that move the normal functioning of man in this world, become directly a topic, to which both authors also relate their other presented work. The imagination of a blind man is just as impenetrable for us as the strangeness of faces of soldiers from the First World War, reconstructed during the first attempts at plastic surgery. The feeling of distance is associated with a grotesque and fascinating strangeness. The use of these sources of inspiration, is not merely a circus attraction in this case, but it actually points to the unexpectedly beneficial side of strangeness, revealing much more diverse parts of humanity and its quality in comparison to how it is being defined by the commonly occurring norm.

Viktor Čech

úvodní text k výstavě Miry Gáberové v Open Source Gallery, New York, která proběhne 7.-30. listopadu 2015.

A stage curtain is a peculiar form of a barrier. It is the barrier between our ordinary and mundane world and an anticipated event of the virtual world of theatre. At the same time it divides the space with a passive position of the viewer from the space of the stage where the artistic process takes place. The curtain conceals, divides and determines the space. In many instances we perceive it as a two-dimensional blind that obstructs vision, not different from a sleepy screen of a computer or closed eyes.

Contemporary artists, just like their performative activities, often oscillate on the borderline between the mundane world around them and an artificially determined field of creative process. One of many possible ways how to define this is to use a medium of video. Mira Gáberová uses video especially in this sense. In many of her works, like in the presented one, the video frame reflects the space of artist`s passive presence confronted with a given environment, rather than a theatre stage for an active performance.

Here an analogy between the theatre space and artist`s activities is fully expressed by the author. The particular videos capture the artists performing on the proscenium of various theatres. She stands exactly on the imaginary borderline where the stage curtain opens or closes or is lowered and raised. The artist is in a literal physical contact with the curtain in these situations. A minimalist straightforwardness of the performance itself is contrasted by pathos of theatre environment. Mira Gáberová might at first glance present her body as an object, but standing on the borderline of the stage and auditorium proves how important the value of own experience is to her.

The stage curtain is a three-dimensional actor as well as a spatial object. Simultaneously, it serves as a metaphor for a relationship between an artist and reality, where the intersection between the ordinary and the imagination becomes the matter of physicality.

Mira Gaberova (born 1979 in Lučenec, Slovakia ) lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic. She obtained her BFA from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava and her MFA from the University of Newcastle. She has had residencies at the Museum Quartier, Donumenta Regensburg, and the ISCP. Gaberova has exhibited at the Pradelna Bohnice (Czech Republic), Umelka Gallery (Slovakia), Approach Art Association (Hungary), and Oi Futuro (Brazil) among others.

Text by Viktor Čech. Čech is a curator, art historian, and lecturer at Charles University in Prague.

Výstava Dana Gregora a Tomáše Roubala v bratislavské HotDock Gallery

5.-14.5.2015

kurátor:  Viktor Čech

Výstava Tma představí práce dvou pražských umělců, jejichž tvorba se na první pohled může zdát těžko slučitelná. Zatímco Dan Gregor se pohybuje především v oblasti práce se světlem a jeho technologicky založenou projekcí, Tomáš Roubal se řadí mezi tvůrce, jejichž projev je příznačný svou výtvarností a přítomností opracovávaného fyzického materiálu,

Slovo tma se většině z nás v mysli automaticky asociuje s představou černé. Černá jako fyzikální absence světla se v naší základní imaginaci rovná černé jako viditelnému chemickému pigmentu. V Gregorově práci hraje tma zásadní roli, bez níž si ji lze těžko představit, je vlastně prostorem v němž realizuje své světelné formy. V Roubalových dílech zase často nalezneme práci s černou barvou jako s dominantním pigmentem, vytvářejícím malované plochy a strukturální povrch jeho plastik.

Věčný spor fyziků a malířů, zda je černá pouhá tma nebo barva je přesně onou komplementaritou pozic, do níž se dostávají naši vystavující. Pasivní tma zpracovávaná světlem a aktivní černá definující formy. Můžou přes tuto protikladnost oba autoři nalézt společnou řeč? O tom se můžete sami přesvědčit na výstavě TMA.

www.initi.org
www.tomasroubal.com
www.hotdock.sk

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