Collective Body

Matěj Smrkovský, Jan Brož, Pavla Malinová

19.06. – 22.07.12

“A collective body is a body without organs; a receiver as well as a transmitter. And still it is a full, productive body flexible with its organization structure. It creates a temporary commune or platform taking over internal/external actions and positions that further mix and migrate within. What became a source of inspiration for this exhibition is the concept of the “Body without Organs” (BwO). While it has wide interpretation in literature, where it is seen as e.g. an information network, a dimensionless artery or transit of different intensities, this body is specific and materialized. The collective body is a project asking for an exhibition of paintings. That is why it connects four young painters with different presumptions and results. Different approaches to work with media meet here: the effort to simplify the process of recording a thought or constructing complex sets of paintings. This contrast defined the key for selecting the artists and evokes mutual tension between them.

The leitmotif of the exhibition, or – to be precise – its installation model, is paradoxically a variation of a gastrointestinal tract. “The BwO is not opposed to the organs; rather, the BwO and its “true organs” which must be composed and positioned, are opposed to the organism, the organic organization of the organs.”* The exhibition in the form of a gastrointestinal tract uses from its model particularly the way of going through the installation, which in fact ascribes the visitor the position of food that moves through the exhibition to be eventually released from the tract. The exhibited works are placed alongside this trajectory.

When I had a conversation with the project initiator Matěj Smrkovský, we came to the conclusion that the exhibited spectrum of works has two limiting points in two different approaches: one aiming to dematerialize painting resulting into integration of processes into different forms of thoughts (statements, news, etc.) and at the other end of the line painting results into experiencing physical demonstrations of painting or creating materialistic values (artefacts). Whatever the case may be, painting is always present in the forms used for this exhibition.

Painting enables to express intention with simple and fast means as well as compose structured sets of paintings. It can be a part of a larger set of thoughts and refer to other immaterial coherences or it can be an independent visual event when its meaning has no substantial overlapping. The concept of painting as a mediator of a communication naturally includes the mutual relation between an artefact and a viewer. The artefact of painting with accentuated internal dimension is in the middle of the viewer’s attention and no partial coherences of a given work could possibly change the prevalent centrality. On the other hand, a painting accentuating overlapping of thoughts is rather an attraction which is out of this centre of meaning. It serves as a reference to other coherences that a viewer links together and – with retroactive effect – fills the exhibition space with them. Between these two limiting points, where painting is rather a picture and rather a thought, respectively, a new specific space – some kind of a scale – is created. By taking a position on this scale we also create a ratio relation between the two poles.

At the beginning, in the course of creating and at the end of painting there is always movement. The physical movement is elementary; it can be done by a hand holding a pencil, a fly’s flight of a fly drawing tangled lines in the air or a rhythmical march of a soldier walking in a prescribed configuration. The psychical movement is immanent; when first the author and later the viewer have to set on a journey of linking connections, analysing references or imagining possible versions. When we imagine a sophisticated painting composed of many lines and moves that the author put down intentionally, we can also imagine the movement of the viewer’s eyes exploring the painting. We can also imagine how the author works with the primary idea, transforming it and looking for the most appropriate ways of expression and deciding what indications will be left for the viewer. The viewer then sets on the journey of grasping its meaning, linking references and further specifying the meaning of the work. In order to seize the beauty, the viewer shall thus walk the necessary distance. In this context we can think of the relation between painting and thinking being similar to movement, development, transformation. Painting is like building relations, selecting suitable lines or thoughts, creating new linkages, etc…”
Text: Jan Brož, Matěj Smrkovský
*Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari: A Thousand Plateaus; 1980 (Czech edition: Hermann a synové publishing house; 2010, p. 181).
1987 (English edition: the University of Minnesota Press, p. 176)
The exhibition will be introduced by the authors by a lecture from the series ENTRANCE TALKS.
The “Entrance Talks”“ project draws attention to contemporary young authors in a new way. A series of contemporary art presentations for general public will be held approximately each month in the Entrance Gallery. Selected authors will introduce themselves and their work in direct confrontation with their author’s exhibition. At the end of every event the participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, express their opinions and provide their reaction to the presentation.