The bubble we live in right now feels like a land of infinite opportunities. Everything seems to be within reach, everything is possible. When verbally communicating, our mind wanders. We jump from story to story from our online friends with a mere touch of a finger, even while walking. Our actions and reactions in daily situations, becoming automatic, give us an impression of having mastered multitasking. To stop the ever-present stream of information would seem to be impossible. We do not need to retain knowledge, since we can retrieve at least basic information, which we can further develop on any topic in the blink of an eye. So it is fascinating to observe how each and every one of us compiles the final patchwork of his or her individual knowledge.
The international curatorial project Anything Goes is a probe into the art work of the young generation of active female artists from Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria. The art work of Svetlana Fialová, Pavla Malinová, Nana Mandl and Titania Seidl reflect the latest trends in contemporary 2D pictures, with possible extensions into spatial art work. These artists work with traditional media (painting, drawing, collage, embroidery) and adapt them to the needs of the contemporary (world of) art. Whether working with intentional visual deformation or combining different and often uncombinable media, their works take the best from tradition while simultaneously underlining inexhaustible original techniques amidst current events.
The selection of art work is linked to reconstruction and deconstruction, in the visual and in idea, typical for their overlapping of frequently contradicting ideas and elements. It responds to the contemporary world (of art), where everything is possible. Creating rules, limits or institutional categories is no longer important or necessary. As a result, glimpses of pop culture, modern relics, digitalization, history, esoteric and personal (pseudo) mythology come naturally together in one place. Intimate stories are camouflaged by a universal language of contemporary art and general topics come across as surprisingly personal. High art contrasts with the intentional use of kitsch, and abstract scenes fight for our attention with figural works; the online world mingles with the physical. The difference between fiction and reality seems negligible. An intricate fabric of micro-worlds alternates with clearly understandable scenes with ambiguous meaning. Try to imagine ideological surrealism without its typical visual pathos. In audio terms, it most resembles trends in deconstructed post-club music, where in one place one hears the mutated voice of Rihanna blended with the well-known chorus of a post-2000 new-metal group. It all happens in a rhythm of reggaeton, where the traditional rhythm section combines with the sounds of teeming chains and clattering blades. Is this artificial, forced chaos or a reflection of today’s over-motivated world?
At first glance it becomes clear that the exhibiting artists are reflecting on the contemporary world. However, they do so with clear insight into the past. They combine rules of quotations, appropriations or visual “thievery” through collage into unique wholes. This effort results in a fragmented and subsequently-reconfigured DNA of portrayals, where familiar pictures meet in unusual shapes and constellations. Collage as a way of creating a new picture out of self-standing parts is in this case also applicable to how to think about the narrative of the works, which have no demarcated time axes – they meander, multi-faceted, with no beginning or end. Even if the ideologically layered scenes, full of symbols and psychologizing, require a higher level of concentration, they not only offer visual experience but also a new direction, transcending the limits of the chosen media. It is not similarity of aesthetic preference or core topics that would connect Svetlana Fialová, Pavla Malinová, Nana Mandl and Titania Seidl – it is how they work, through which they bravely communicate personal stories, interests or intimate snapshots from their lives. Although they are not averse to visual and the ideological strategies of contemporary arts, they successfully avoid any of the sterile and emotionally cool postures of the current visual culture. The imaginary spontaneity and organic character of their works is also fed by a natural intuition that helps to shift the content of the works without a need for preparation and detailed sketches.
|Svetlana Fialová, Pavla Malinová, Nana Mandl, Titania Seidl
|Place / venue
|White & Weiss Gallery, Bratislava
|Michal Stolárik Nana Mandl Pavla Malinová Svetlana Fialová Titania Seidl White & Weiss Gallery