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13. 12. 2012 - 13. 1. 2013

Two rising stars of contemporary non-figurative painting, graduates of Michael Rittstein's studio - Lucie Skřivánková and Ira Svobodová - present at the URBAN exhibition two characteristic female perspectives on depicting our living space. This space is increasingly connected to the city's urban environment and its basic building blocks – architecture. Lucie Skřivánková copes with personal memories of certain places through painting with a strong emotional charge full of explosive visual elements. Ira Svobodová, on the other hand, is still shaping her architecture and with pure geometric lines creates a solid ideal space for our possible alternative or real lives.

Deciding on a certain place of life in a world that is slowly being established in a new, disappearing post-modernity replacing setting becomes a fundamental step of every human individuality. What is this "place"? On a more general level, we can help ourselves to understand the concept of place by comparing it to the "starting point" as the center of the perceiving subject. The quality of the place then determines the horizon of our possible knowledge and the very stay here. Instead of objective, material qualities, it also accepts subjective qualities. Its totality is thus completed by our cognitive, emotional, interpretation and value schemes, which form an open, dynamic system from the place. The possibility of identification with this system is one of the basic conditions for the construction of human identity, the key to "ourselves among us".

I dare to say that both artists - Ira Svobodová and Lucie Skřivánková - build their artistic identity on a firmly established knowledge of their own place. I am convinced that "place" plays a huge role in the subject matter of their work as well. At the same time, I propose a hypothesis: the question of the strategy of its organization and the tactics of its mapping and display is related to the topic of place, now understood spatially. A place, as a spatio-temporal reality, always hides within itself at least the possibility of what we can call "URBAN" - that is, a culturally constructed, real phenomenon based on the being of architecture and its visual representations.

Ira Svobodová creates her current position by referring to the avant-garde trends of the 1920s and 1930s, understood mainly in terms of the visual aesthetics of constructivism or suprematism and inspired by the ideological heritage of the Bauhaus and its demand for the development of architectural principles across the spectrum of the field of art. The clean, calculated geometric visuality of Ira Svobodová's paintings then constructs an ideological layout of matter and space, an ideal (in the sense of "immaterial") architecture, which with its incompleteness calls for new possible (self) definitions. Lucie Skřivánková's creative approach, on the other hand, tends towards process-tuned painting and expressive visuality, now even completely abstracting from the concrete form of the depicted. Skrivánková always turns to a specific place, personal experience of the city and its real architecture, which, depicted in multiplicity of perspectives, she inserts between watercolor fields with plain, clear semantics.
The place, or architecture, in the paintings of Lucie Skřivánková and Ira Svobodová also serves as a basis for developing a more specific subject. Lucie Skřivánková processes her personal memory of a specific place in her paintings. Fragmented insights, often disrupting time-space continuity, are usually concentrated in a central composition. The image towards the edge of the canvas slowly disappears, and sometimes the uncut canvas completely replaces it on a large area of ​​the picture. As a result, the image depicts the very structure of the memory - we try to recall the hazy, volatile, fragmented fragments of what we once experienced within the concept of those memories. With the concept of that memory, the entire surface of the canvas, which can never be completely filled, is reproduced here. The boundaries of the canvas thus thematize the boundaries of what can still be told, the empty or watercolor surfaces then the extent of the forgotten, veiled.

On the contrary, the architecture of Ira Svobodová is a means to develop the theme of light. In a certain sense, light is also a philosophically traditional (in the Platonic line) topic of reflection on being itself, a synonym for good and a form of spreading ideas. "Everything comes from light, even ideologically", says Ira. Light permeates the entire situation of their paintings. Here, light shapes the form of what is shown (i.e. the place), light determines the optical and physical nature of the painting (colors are never mixed, monochromatic surfaces are only overlapped in several different transparent layers), light sets the basic conditions for the perception of images (different transparent layers can only be seen at a certain angle of view and lighting) and finally, light, somewhat metaphorically, stimulates our interpretation - light only enters a space that is essentially open, therefore, our interpretation strategy requires an open ness, the ability to perceive and discard the deposits of civilizational stereotypes of perception.

What does the joint presentation of both authors offer us? It is precisely that possibility of "trial" identification with their place (as a remembering subject - Skřivánková - and a creating, questioning subject - Svobodová) and with their places, i.e. with ideal or real places in our lives. If we also appropriate the presented strategies of depicting a place, i.e. the strategy of feeling-memory (Skrivánková) and interest in the general-ideal (Svobodová), then we get just that possible key to ourselves in the world, which should start to be more interested in local, public things, things of feeling and empathy. Through art, as is its age-old meaning, we can better identify our place and identity among ourselves.

curator: Pavel Kubesa

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