Dílna Mikulov - Art symposium
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Seven visual artists took part in the 14th Mikulov Art Symposium ‘dílna’ ´07; three photographers and four conceptual multi-media artists. This year, the Mikulov Art Symposium widened for good the scope of its visual art interests. The long-running tradition, until then associated with painting, sculpture and graphic art, opened up to the current tendencies in the world of art. The artists prezent use the techniques of painting, drawing or sculpture as well but they do not serve the sole purpose of creating a classic painting or a statue but they ‘borrow’ them for their own purposes crossing the limits of these categories. It is apparent that all the participants work within the ‘extended notion of art’ as coined in the 1970s by Joseph Beuys who used art qualities of ‘ready made’. This consists in bringing everyday-life elements into a work of art, be it in the form of ‘observed motifs’, whole objevte or their parts, common materials or recognizable visual signs. Extracting these real elements from their original setting and moving them to a new, artistic context; creates a new visual unit, a work of art which is not merely a closed autonomous entity but is connected with the surrounding world through an association network of its elements.

Jiří David created several large canvasses and a series of smaller photographs. His large-format ‘paintings’ display collages of various motifs and signs whose original meanings is modi. ed by the interaction of the form elements used: ‘Malevich’s’ black square, blown-up skin structure (associating finngerprints), elements known from Constructivist paintings (modernists’ visions), religious symbols (believers’ visions), Moon surface structure with fantastic shades (surrealists’ visions) – all this becomes the element of a new contextual association network which viewers have to labour through. Mr David’s ‘paintings’ do not have frames because they are not paintings enclosed in themselves but rather painted ‘nests’ of information sources from which the association network unwinds. In his small photographs, Jiří David works with revealing and updating the past – a temporary photograph of Nazi Mikulov is confronted with today’s view of the town.
Machiel Botman exhibits a convoluted series of small black-and-white views he photographically captured in Mikulov. In the middle of the visual composition of his shots he minor places ‘minor’ details (a corner of a house, a silhouette of a bat in a corner of a room, blades of grass, bare feet, etc.) and thus creates a ‘coincidental’ atmosphere of an intimate world. His views through a misty Windows emit the kind of poetry once exercised by Josef Sudek.
Milan Houser travels in between the notion, the script, the image and the dream. On three plexiglass boards we read the word ‘MINULOST’ (‘PAST’) engraved on their smooth surfaces, once against a
light background, then against a dark one. The shape of the type reminds of titles in fairy tales and books from the beginning of the past century – their syntax assumes independence and transforms itself into forms which bring about new content: neatly arranged hanging horsehair bundles forming mountain ranges with their top parts. The past as Art Nouveau forms, past as a dream. The space installation creates a sort of a labyrinth of the boards prompting the visitor to search.
Antonín Kratochvíl created portraits of his Mikulov colleagues: Jitka (Kapičáková), Klára (Nejezchlebová), Machiel (Botman), Milan (Houser), Jiří (David), Petr (Zubek), Vladimír (Špaček) and Libor (Lípa). With his unique style, he captures the characteristic features of the models in his black-and-white photographs in unexpected and fascinating games with light and shadow.
Klára Nejezchlebová presents two installations using the material of the Mikulov reality. On the western side of the Chateau walls, she . lled an embrasure with old paintings she had bought in Mikulov junk shops. She thus confronts folklore art with non-folklore historic forti. cation architecture in Mikulov – as two integral parts of Mikulov life. The other installation at the exhibition juxtaposes the museum reality (a seating set of the 1970s) with her projection in the same area (and thus paraphrases Joseph Kosuth‘s protoinvestigations from the 1960s).
Vladimír Špaček continues in his installation to theme the world of light and shadow in space. Into the centre of the darkened Gajdoš Hall he placed a black-and-white object with two white neon lights. The play of light, which can be observed from the Hall‘s windows, acquired a three-dimensional resonance. The two black-and-white photographs leaning against the walls, the same theme is happening in two dimensions. Špaček‘s installation moves from the reality through image to the object.
Petr Zubek “extends“ reality into art. In one of the exhibited photographs we can see how sea foam gradually “transforms” into plastic of a similar shape; in another, billiard balls become rounded images
or photographs of architecture. The still life, which is a major element of Zubek‘s installation, is a sort of a working desk of an art alchemist.

Pavel Liška
President of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague
Theoretician of MAS “dílna” ´07