Linie / Line - Stanislav Kolibal, Magdalena Jetelova & Federico Diaz
10 / 05 / 2017 - 31 / 07 / 2017
Cermak Eisenkraft, Pop Up Gallery Smetanovo nabrezi 4.
Exhibition‘s author: Tomáš Zapletal and David Železný
By Ysabel Pinyol
The line is of the most fundamental to “reading” a work of art: a single line can make shape, contour lines can evoke three-dimensionality, and implied lines can simply direct the eye. But beyond basic functions of a line for rendering shape or dimension or direction, depending on where a line is placed in space (the line-in-space) it has the power to alter human perception of the mind and body. Vertigo and optical illusions make strong cases for the line; these side effects distort what is perceived as real and material - what is truth and what is augmented.
Much of Czech contemporary art grapples with what is real and what is illusion. Whether in painting, sculpture, or installation, artists are looking for ways to both identify truth and either distort perception or completely augment one’s reality. To examine the ways lines are rendered is to find clarity in an artist’s mission to offer truth or alter perception; Czech artists Stanislav Kolíbal, Magdalena Jetelová, and Frederico Díaz are three artists who manipulate the line-in-space to draw attention to human vulnerability to error and misinterpretation.
The show features four of Kolíbal’s works, each work building on his exploration of line. His early use of line in primarily geometric, relating to themes of perceived differences in illusion and reality. Much of his oeuvre is informed by his penchant for geometric arrangement of matter and space. More recently, his emphasis has shifted to the need for order, a reflection on the unruliness of the earth, and the causal link to man’s presence there.
Jetelová uses thick, bold lines in all of the mediums she explores, including photography, sculpture, and land art. She sees the world turning faster, and as a result, people are losing contact with reality, which can be verified by the ubiquitous terrifying headlines of the media. By focusing on line, she allows the viewer’s vision to be narrowed to
a small point, which can then trace the pathway of the lines she has created. Her work often concentrates of these uncomplicated lines that start at point
A and end at point B. The simplicity points to the simplicity of the viewer’s vision, and the inability to see the surroundings. Her work is often characterized by this concentration on contextuality.
A busy artist and determined activist, Díaz chiefly creates installations, including many site-specific pieces. Most recently, his work has combined media and technology in order to create
a socio-political catalyst for social change. For this show, his installation Eccentric Gravity explores the time-tested tradition of designing and constructing buildings, specifically focusing on cathedrals, and their place as a religious icon in our culture. Line is as important, if not more, in design, and Díaz’s work points to this, exploring the relational qualities of line.
As a tool of expression, the line is integral to the artistic process, an understated communication of style. It links together these Czech artists in this exhibition who can seem, at times, quite disparate from each other. It reveals that an emphasis on any theme - geometry, humankind, the earth, order, social change - can be illustrated carefully through the use of line.
Ysabel Pinyol is the chief curator and co-founder of Mana Residences, Miami, Jersey City and Chicago. She lives and works alternately in New York and Miami.