Lukáš Kalivoda, Jakub Jansa: Matter of sensitivity 

Lukáš Kalivoda, Jakub Jansa: Matter of sensitivity
Museum Portheimka, Štefánikova 68/12, Praha 5 
5. September 2020 - 29. November 2020

Praha 5, Galerie Portheimka

Exhibition Matter of sensitivity is a joint presentation of Lukáš Kalivoda’s and Jakub Jansa’s works. Both belong among young, yet already distinct artists. It is an encounter of two author’s approaches – Lukáš Kalivoda works with glass and develops author’s painting techniques while Jakub Jansa focuses on the medium of dynamic image and on work with the genre of installations. The works of both artists may be understood as experimental, multi-layered in terms of meaning, yet attractive for audience.

They have prepared a representative insight into their work. Lukáš Kalivoda presents a series of paintings created with his own author’s technique – by taking a film of paint off water level. He fits foil on the inner side of a large cylinder. He then fills the cylinder with water and pours paints diluted in turpentine or various diluents into it. The solution creates a surface film. He then gradually withdraws the water from the cylinder. As the level drops, the pigments get caught on the surface of the foil. The individual steps of releasing the water create subtle transfers of colours as well as a typical line structure of the image. A part of the exhibition is also his installation called Chvění hladiny (Quivering Surface). It is a glass cylinder filled with water to the brim. We can see the water surface vibrate and ripple subtly. The ripples of the surface and their visual reflections may be perceived as an inconspicuous latent image hovering on the edge of substantiality as well as of our perception.

Jakub Jansa often works with narration. We know the principles he uses from media or social networks. However, he disrupts their visual and information strategies and shifts them in terms of meaning, uncovering thus various forms of manipulation as well as deeper hidden ‘poetically metaphorical’ motifs. Within the current media discourses or habitual forms of perception, he thus discovers (and, of course, also creates or implants in them) structures which hold inside certain almost mythopoetic elements. A part of this set is also his installation Occult table. It is a variation of an object belonging to a broader series of installations, performances and video projections titled Club of Opportunities. As the references to this large project may not be sufficiently unfolded in the context of a rather intimate joint exhibition, we encounter a work functioning as a fragment, as a reference to an absent whole. The entire object thus becomes more enigmatic and more ambiguous. Another Jakub Jansa’s work is a video titled Celery ASMR. What captures our attention apart from its odd atmosphere is its detailed soundtrack – the phenomenon of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian reaction) shifting the auditive experience to a literally intimate and genuinely physical level.

A part of the exhibition is also a video conceived as a specific visually-rhetoric commentary featuring the curator of the exhibition as well. In terms of genre, it is a loosely conceived video-essay interconnecting the individual artifacts. The purpose of the video is double: it should interconnect the works of both participating artists in terms of meaning and explain them and, at the same time, to complicate them slightly. This is given by the fact that the curator performs a double part – both as an ‘independent’ person and as a part of the game, which means that he is actually acting his ‘independent part’.

These duplicated essayistic readings try to interconnect both artistic projects in a discursive way – to show the exhibition as a whole within which both artists together create a certain ‘floating zone’, which each of them enters from his own side. The overlap of one to the position of the other may be understood as a part of their joint experiment: a connection of two artistic personalities, complementing and differing from each other at the same time.

Apart from this discursive connection, it is especially a detailed sensory experience what connects both artistic projects. Lukáš Kalivoda explores the substantivity of visual forms, pigments, and emulsions while Jakub Jansa overwhelms us with ‘auditive matter’. This way, they are suggesting us to immerse in the experience and sensory exploration of the presented works, in all the visual or auditive perception they are offering, to observe them carefully and let them carry us away…

Museum Portheimka