Eva Výborná, Tomáš Skalík

Date: 03.03.2006 - 21.05.2006

The exhibition is held by the National Gallery in Prague – Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art at Veletržní Palace, in the Respirium located on the 2nd floor
Dukelských hrdinů 47, 170 00  Praha 7.

Curators: Jiří Valoch, Helena Musilová
Main partner: HVB Bank
Main media partner: Hospodářské noviny
Partner: Termo, IFM Electronics
Media partners: Art&Antique, Classic FM, ČRo 3 - Vltava

With this joint exhibition of Eva Výborná (born 1965) and Tomáš Skalík (born 1978) the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art of the National Gallery continues its long-term effort to systematically present what it regards as the achievements of most importance and worth in the work of the youngest rising generation of artists.

Our visitors have already had the opportunity to see the work of Eva Výborná in the representative exhibition The Youngest (Nejmladší), curated by Milan Knížák, Tomáš Vlček and Jiří Valoch in 2003. The present encounter of the two artists in the space of the Respirium is not accidental – for they share a novel usage of the language of geometry, fairly rare in the Czech art of the youngest generation, which can be defined as an original reevaluation of the radical simplicity of minimalist art, together with an effort to enrich it with various meanings and allusions that were alien to pure Minimalism... Also important is the subtlety of the aesthetic components of the message. The works of both artists have in common that they – although in different ways – in fact programmatically do not allow the viewer to “plainly see” the forms they work with in their entirety.

Returning to České Budějovice after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Eva Výborná belongs to a generation of artists of whom many have exchanged painting or drawing for photography. But among the plethora of various visual approaches, she alone works exclusively with the abstract language of geometry, even though large format photography – made possible by modern technology – is for her too the most frequently presented final work. Her method is relatively complex – perhaps that is what makes it so singular. She assembles what are literally “chamber constructions” out of cardboard, drawing on her experience with lapidary interventions into concrete spaces – but these serve merely as her models to be photographed. In keeping with our postmodern predicament, she selects the form of the composition, which might range from aptly simple reductive sets, to diverse variations on the labyrinth. In the photographs, however, we see only fragments and details of these mini-installations – it is not the whole the artist considers of the essence, but the individual, segmented situations she might discover within. Several aspects therefore come into play: the forms of the details of the source construction, the nature of the still camera as a medium, and closely dependent on this, the use of light and color. For the artist lights her objects in various ways, selecting a color filter for each of her series. The result are photographic images in the best sense of the word, mostly rather fratmentary geometric forms surrounded by tinted light. It is then a matter of the attitude of the viewers whether they perceive these images more as a novel, fascinating aesthetic quality, and a contribution to the sphere of contemporary photography – one bringing forth a hitherto unseen conceptual and aesthetic value, one that thematizes the very possibilities of light and color – or whether they prefer to accentuate a certain transcendental appeal of the whole.

Tomáš Skalík, who will finish his magisterial studies in the studio of Jan Ambrůz at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology (VUT) has won recognition for the originality with which he manages to integrate rich concepts with novel visual forms. In recent years, he has been fully engaged in the artistic exploitation of a phenomenon which he has discovered. He understands it as something which brings into the sphere of visual art new visual qualities as well as experiences. He described his project for the Veletržní Palace as an “IFM space” – the abbreviation denotes a new technology based on sensors which he uses in his installation. The original designation of these, naturally, is for instance in factories, where they serve the automatization of production, and the safety of the personnel. The artist, however, translates them into the world of art, but not only as found objects which in a Duchampian tradition would become the point of departure for new aesthetic experiences. This aspect is of course also present in Skalík’s realizations, but this however works in inseparable synergy with the fact that the sensors, which project laser or infrared beams into space can – thanks to their placement, and their possibility to terminate a given line in space – outline separate geometrical forms. Thus simple geometrical forms appear in space, which we cannot identify otherwise than by getting into direct contact with a line, and provoking an audio or even visual signal. The aesthetic perception of objects which Tomáš Skalík uses in his installation in some sense serves to “detract attention” from the simple geometrical forms, which may be invisible, but which we may nonetheless identify once we realize the concept of a given work. Skalík develops his concept of individualized post-minimalist sculpture into a whole range of variations, starting with the elementary form of a square in space, delineated by its end points, down to a paraphrase of a robust circular work by Skalík’s teacher, which is by coincidence placed in a neighboring room, located just a few meters away. 

Admission fee:
standard: 50 Kč
reduced: 20 Kč

Opening hours:
Daily except Mondays 10 to 18 hours.       

Contact person for journalists:
Marcela Hančilová
phone: 224 301 167, 724 501 536
e-mail: hancilova@ngprague.cz

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