It's Easy to Forget about Machine II.
IT'S EASY TO FORGET ABOUT MACHINE II.
/ About a pleasure from working. Work and working process./
It’s easy to forget about a machine II is a collection of works created with a special/strange motivation for the exhibition in Gallery Půda. With the motivation of creating (designing and in the very next moment producing) work for work.
Everything has its beginning in the painting Lacemaker from Vermeer van Delf. „This tiny painting (24x21_cm) of working girl is so impressive because it inclines the feeling of a perfect happiness that people feels when – equally as lacemaker – are completely focused on interesting activity.“1 In 2010 I used Vermeer’s Lacemaker as a base for a reproduction of „some classical” piece in my own special way. It became one of the commentaries of reality, that today a big part of our world we experience through – not so good quality – the content of our internet browsers. Instead of galleries or to books we often look into searched pictures on our computers, getting the feeling that we know these works. Unfortunately, it is not true. Maybe we know the composition or shape of the object but what about the physical encounter with the size or colour of the art piece? Painting of lacemaker is a reproduction in a bad digital quality. Pixel after pixel I wrote down the number of light’s colours – RGB values. A received picture is not “a print” (we would have to use a CMYK scale) but “a screen” that shines and drags in the observer. This principle places the work between a canvas and a screen – between an analogue and a digital world. In the same way, as lacemaker is creating her lace, I am observing the tip of the pen writing each symbol in absolute concentration.
In the last sentence of the concept described above is an important moment that inspired the creation of exhibited pieces. It is this painful work of writing down symbols. Why it became so important and addictive for me? And why it makes me feel good although for my surrounding it looks as self-destruction (12 symbols in each square centimetre, 5-8 hours per day)? The answers I found in few sentences from the text of Peter Dormer who describes to the eagerness of a craftsman: “Formulas and repetitions are the core of each practice of a craftsman.” “…mind and body are completely immersed in the work practice” and about Vermeers’ Lacemaker – and myself – “…the work absorbs her. She completely identifies herself with her activity, as she was in ecstasy that pulls her away from this world and maybe even from herself. Her expression is peaceful, not disturbed by doubts.”.2
The whole exhibition is about work. About sawing, precise glueing, grinding and polishing. About uncountable layers of varnish. Everything because of 8 old slides that at the end are not so important, maybe except the fact that they will drag spectator’s attention from mentioned work. It is an exhibition about assembling the frame only for the sake of it being assembled, stretching the canvas for the sake of it being stretched and everything is done 20 times – just to be sure. Frames are rested one on another, waiting to be used – something that will never happen. Together they create a monolith – spatial art – that paradoxically become a monument for all painters for whom stretching canvas is a necessary (evil) process before they can start to create.
Animation pictures the work process. A manual that without any explanation shows how to stretch canvas. It resembles rather a list of dancing steps. From the unwanted duty to the self-existing art piece.
At the beginning of the exhibition, we meet Lacemaker – the starting point of the whole concept– that became just a page from the work-manual. Manual that was used for the series of paintings It’s easy to forget about machine I. Lacemaker (2010, liner on canvas, 120x105cm) is still present in every single piece and in the whole installation. It is a generic code that cannot be dismissed however within the scope of the whole exhibition it cannot be also pointed out. It is present but it is a puzzle – the element that brings uncertainty.
The side product of this small celebration of “cult of work “ is a fact that in today’s art practice there is very little of craftsmen work. I presume that even this small bit is for any inconvenient. Uncomplimentary for anyone however in my opinion true are words from Tom Stoppard: „Talent without imagination brings many useful objects as for example wicker baskets. Imagination without talent brings us modern art.“3
Are we looking at wicker baskets?
1Peter DORMER, The Ideal World of Vermeer’s Little Lacemaker,
2 as above
3Tom STOPPARD, Artist Descending a Staircase
Text by mfc.
Solo exhibition Půda Gallery, Jihlava, Czech Republic, 2014
Curator: Michal Kříž