Reframed (Jiří Valoch)

Petr Dub (1976, 13/05) studied at several studios at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Brno University of Technology, as well as JIří David’s studio at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. Currently, he is working on his diploma thesis at Petr Kvíčala’s studio again at the Faculty of Fine Arts. He invited Janu Bernartová (1983, see “Ateliér” Vol. 16-17/06) as a guest. She studied at Stanislav Zippe at the Technical University in Liberec, completing he Master’s degree in Brno at Václav Stratil’s studio. Due to personal reasons that ultimately led to an interesting, multi-layer view of more general issues of the phenomenon of a painting and defining its context, they have now both organised an exhibition together. They ask the Correct Interior Company to lend them furniture and interior equipment, converting the gallery space into a representative “flat”. Both authors could then intervene with their own realisations: Petr Dub intervened in a complex manner, showing the whole scale of his strategies, while Jana Bernartová (as a good guest) contributed with a single television programme.

Petr Dub works with the theme of the border of the traditional painting as anything on which the canvas may be stretched, what can be done with it or what it can be replaced with, ranging from a “classical” monochrome, through various forming of untraditional wooden or possibly metal shapes. The viewer soon found out that the exhibits were mostly grouped outside the usual places: in drawers and cupboards, on shelves around the television set or simply one behind another near the wall, just as it can usually be seen in painter’s studios. We do not even know whether we may be rummaging through them curiously or whether it is prohibited. Most of Petr Dub’s realisations explore the very codified borders of the work of art – many of them are objects, sometimes tiny and at other times quite large, yet they can never be installed as classical paintings. It seems as if the artists wanted to warn us that art does not have to be a planar picture or the statues or objects scattered around the space, focusing on the situation “between the wall and the floor”. In the defined space, he develops the work into the form of an artefact, both in its form and the painter’s interpretation which also includes its absolute negation, i.e. keeping a certain form in which it is, for example, the stretched canvas that localises the final work of art in the sphere of the picture convention… In this respect, both artists are subtle and playful, which we could become aware of once we had rummaged through the whole “exhibition” – obviously, it also included realisations packed for transport or left packed after the transport… These are all forms in which they works of art may function. They search the very reference frameworks of the picture at least twice: at first, by casting doubts on the usual codified form of the picture as a rectangular painter’s area, as its innovation situated between the painting and the object, and then in a broader context of the interior which may be perceived as a single and complete aggregate, as a single work of art consisting of correlations among all the elements, starting from the furniture, up to all the partial artefacts. Whether it may be considered as an artwork or meta-artwork is, in their case, a nominal issue only which they deliberately leave open. At the same time, they are really consistent in this respect, not missing any opportunity inducing situations which the art reaches, ranging from assembling, packing, the possibility to “rummage in it”, etc.

Jana Bernartová’s contribution proved to the contribution of a partner who helps so that not a single opportunity is left unattended. Apart from that, she presented a single exhibit, a computer visualisation entitled “Winter Landscape” (2007-08) created by means of her own programme. It consists of several geometrical shapes remaining “gray in gray”, so that they were hard to perceive on the usual television screen at the beginning. Only those who sat down to watch this “deliberately boring” programme discovered that the picture was slightly changing. For the purposes of generating these changes a new programme was made. However inconspicuous and changing slowly, it is never-ending; yet it is not a loop but rather a way to guarantee that nothing will ever be repeated. Who has the chance to make sure of that? Theoretically anyone and practically actually no-one: this is a beautiful contradiction to the contemporary importunate clip period, not only on television but also in the world, unfortunately.

Since we do not know how long their cohabitation will be or how long their creative co-operation will last, we should take their exhibition in Brno as important right now because it represents a new and authentic form of their efforts making them distinguished personalities of the youngest generation.

Reframed (“Ateliér” Magazine, Vol. 3, Jiří Valoch, 2009)