Dílna Mikulov - Art symposium
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Photography was the most widely used medium of this year's Mikulov Symposium. Half of the six participants of the Symposium worked with it; each of them, however, is located at very different coordinates of the genre.

Veronika Bromová used her space and time in Mikulov well. She took pictures and painted at the same time and was trying to capture the genius loci with various methods. She chose to stay in a room hidden away from the exhibition halls that has not yet been quite deprived of its unique atmosphere of oblivion. These parts of the castle, still serving as a background for the Museum's exhibitions and collections, have an archive spirit about them within which it is difficult not to plunge into the memories of the past. This bizarre environment with persisting myths and past destinies brings about a spontaneous stream of imagination in all of us and Veronika Bromová let it come upon her. She worked in day and night shifts. Right after her arrival she created a series of photos in which we can see her in dark narrow streets that are still breathing with warmth before dawn. The heat, the lazy southern atmosphere spiced with wine, the morphology of the town built of stone clinched by limestone rocks, its welcoming and intimate feel that will overwhelm anybody – all this is colorfully staged in these raw "auto-pictures". Her paintings from the interior, on the other hand, speak to the viewers with transparent and spiritual atmosphere. She portrays herself as a mysterious sorceress communicating with the shining dominy through the large windows aligned in an arch. This very moment links her to her previous series entitled "Autobiograph" from 2003. A high degree of concentration on work together with the persistence and density of everyday experiences in a new environment made Veronika come back to paint on even a larger format to be able to make her images run even faster and more freely. In her expressive and dynamic work, she combined her private histories with fragments of local reality in a symphonic poem about the unusual relation between her and her inseparable dog friend.
Tomáš Ruller also used photographic records as a basis for his project. His attitude towards the world has always shown great method and conceptual consistency with which he constructs his series. From his provision castle "studio" he had a direct view of the Holly Hill that for him became the central focus of the entire landscape. Tomáš observed the Hill for many days and managed to capture many interesting atmospheric events. In the next phase, he purposefully began entering the take with fragments of his own body from which our glance climbs up to St. Sebastian. The motif of the window as a symbol of the breakthrough from the inside to the outside, as a stage for various visual events, has been appearing in his work with some diligence (Window – Vision, Image – Window, Virtual Window, 1994;Wall – Window, 1995). Apart from this series in which he completely recorded a series of possible results of his observations, he also captured a clear cut of the local day and night sky, another unrepeatable yet locally specific natural phenomenon. He then placed the enlargements on the ceiling of the exhibition hall as a transformation of an illusionist mural painting.
The photographer Antonín Kratochvíl is above all a renowned documentarist and portraitist. His travels to theaters of the world's catastrophes and wars has been in progress for twenty years. As a journalist, he created many award-winning pictures that display deep humanism and humility and yet do not lack action and dynamic pulse. On his dangerous missions he sets out fearlessly and with great courage and he does not dread any hardships. However, his Mikulov work shows that he is not completely invulnerable. Traumatizing experiences would not leave him even in this almost idyllic environment and in his project Homage to Abu Ghraib, he returns to his pill so difficult to swallow – cruelty and wrongfulness. He shot all the photographs with his models in the rooms of the castle, their authenticity is nevertheless depressing. The methods he uses in this series are very close to those of his agency pictures. Victims of violence are recorded with a similar degree of stylization but that does not take us away from the harsh reality.We know that tears are shed and people are formidable, surrounded by dirt and illnesses and that their bare lives will still be in danger even after the camera's trigger is released.
The other "section" of the Symposium focused – in a rare concord – on the object and also displayed some more common features.
The aesthetic ideals of Eva Eisler seemed to be constant, faithful to modernism, pure geometry and minimalism. In the Mikulov scenery, however, something unexpected happened and her hand did not hesitate to guide the pencil and brush in a dramatic rhythm into the swinging bundles of field lines. She abandoned the territory of unambiguously defined shapes of circles, squares and rectangles and with Amazony energy, she plunged into the physically as well as mentally experienced gesture. Besides the monumental paintings and drawings, she also created their correlates of steel wire. These space objects differ in volume and expand in various ways into the surrounding space; some of them are aggressive, others are closed within themselves just like loaves of bread. Their diverse expressions, dynamics as well as outstanding lighting qualities are amazing to observe.
Vladimíra Klumparová in her position of a glassmaker without glassworks was by no means taken by surprise. She brought some glass waste with her and that set her on her way. She used the glass fragments to fill the volume she had shaped crudely of plaster, sanding it in a traditional manner into the desired curves and absolutely smooth surface. For her other object, on the contrary, she hang a drop of glass into a plaster "funnel". The objects she created are identical in their construction and shape with the akcidence of her glass sculptures and refer to the organic and biomorphic elements of nature. Plaster was not used here as an auxiliary material, but rather as a definite medium, which created interesting structural tension between the substances that are rarely put together in such ways.
Richard Kočí did not leave his usual tools even in a chateau environment and he bound, cut, and ground plywood into the intriguing lines of his objects he derived from the shapes of vessels. Gradually, he began to unveil the mystery of the hidden contents and worked his way through to complicated accidence that switched from the rudimentary shapes of containers to the sphere of industrial aesthetics. These turbinelike formations emit centripetal and centrifugal forces at the same time. They display permanent pension caused by mighty curves bound by even mightier rings, elements evoking the impression of fast rotation and other details that pretend to be mechanical and are in an inevitable conflict with the firm and anchored parts. As opposed to classical verticality, he usually places his objects in horizontal lines. He is visibly taken with the complicated structure and with an obsession that is typical of him creates more or less credible illusion of some mysterious expedience of his pseudo-mechanism.The monumental vigor and the craftsmanship is a bedeviling guide of a pure art thought that is a metaphor of the unity of opposites.

Magdalena Juříková
December 2006