piatok 15. januára 2016

The Fog, 2015

Curatorial text for the opening of exhibition "The Fog" back in 2015

I'm trying to remember: dozens of people passing through without seeing each others’ faces ... this is some medium-sized town, some coming out of the church, others heading towards it, I'm not able to recognize a familiar face in the fog, I’m trying to use other senses, recognise a voice, a silhouette, or characteristic steps.

Finding your own memories is marginalised in the face of the dominance of film stills, the character in the fog is still such a popular theme – the organic fragment of memories is replaced by the archetype of the film frame. Our life is filled with these artificial archetypes, our imagination is reduced to "remembering" images.

The experiment by Tomas Makara is designed to reverse the process, so that the artificially induced fog provokes the imagination to uncover the earliest memory.

The fog has double meaning here, on the one hand it is what separated us – from childhood, and from all previous influence shaping us. On the other hand, exposure to fog is trying to get artists invited to experiment (some are easily tempted, others with blushes explore still warm shameful areas, others yet react almost with aggression) to extract what is forgotten.

The process of erasing human figures from photos does this in a different way: it intensifies their presence. The presence through absence. Remembering through forgetting. The memory preserved in the photo can be verified - for example, by the process of erasing characters and preserving the background. Objects come to the fore and offer their memories - now they become advocates of the concealed truth. A realistic image containing a set of human figures can be exposed as a fundamental instrument of deceiving truth about the past, because, paradoxically, it distances us from our memory. Strangely, some key events in the life of Patricia are the realisation of this theory. 
The objects in the background of the photo are her closest companions, those with whom she can communicate better than with family and friends. They are her observed world and emotional reality. Only after the hemorrhage in the eye which exposes the growing tumor, bringing her to the edge of life and death, she is able to consciously "communicate" with the world and with herself. The eye - the most important and most intimate tool of perception and communication, which through the entire childhood allowed her to maintain ties with "the sighted objects" suddenly - cracks. The faith of an artist seems to be, if not intended, at least the only possible way of "going out". From the autistic trap of the world of symbols, it slips by harnessing them into orderly work.

Tomas Makara’s experiment looks like a bit of fun around the question of thesis. The thesis that somewhere in childhood, somewhere in the tangle of family relationships lies the hidden reason, or even a sequence of reasons, why we become artists. Not only that, that something embarrassing is hidden somewhere deeper. As if art were to be either an escape or a cure, or a tool used to transform meanings.

Therefore, it is not surprising that such statement can either irritate, or to the contrary, inspire confidence. What could easily escape attention here, however, is that the most important mystery is the condition of the artist itself. Asking questions about this condition is a bit like punching a spike into the ground in search of a long-lost border post - each question is like a punch, and each unsuccessful question - like a misguided punch - allows us to draw a more accurate map of the unfamiliar underground terrain. Wandering questions still target an extensive and dense network of doubt, dilemmas and associations, dreams, fears and anxieties, fascinations and obsessions, and lead to risky confessions, surreal jokes or hastily formed hypotheses. But no answer to the question - why I am an artist and what it means to me – is found.

On the other hand a subtle, surreal map of the territory is created. "The circus came to town, there were horses. I used to ride these horses with my sister. There is a photo - we were on horseback, a meadow in the background, playground, blocks, residents ... and ribbons with house keys around our necks."  Fleeting memories in the form of the cited photograph could serve as answers about the source of Kasia’s decision to explore her sensitivity and use it as a consciously chosen profession. The profession of an artist.

Or another memory: little Darek has just completed a large art piece, he painted over the entire floor, and hears the verdict of his uncle standing over him - you'll be an artist. You'd be more afraid of becoming an artist, than of striving to be one.

Do all these moments in which our mind is placed before a bizarre mystery decide whether we become artists?  Before the rhetorical conundrum placed many times by our parents, neighbours, teachers, classmates? This is the rhetorical conundrum!
Objects exist in their constant form. They can survive in photographs without damage for many years, and we still wrestle with these rhetorical puzzles, with the constant interference into our brains, courts, judgments, badly stated questions, artificial priorities, incentives for aimless investigating, competing, racing in stupidity.

Perhaps it is not praise or encouragement, perhaps, and not vice versa, not a desire to escape or create an asylum that makes us artists. Perhaps this part of our identity "I am an artist" is a natural repellent to treating those rhetoric puzzles seriously. Even if we make an attempt to answer this question, our inner motivation to pursue the truth means that we would not give in to temptation of finding final or binding answers. Hence, perhaps, an artist in the family is an unfortunate coincidence, another disqualified sex, a curse. Being an artist means, first of all, being misunderstood by members of the family. You will be like Cassandra, in the best case scenario, an established authority, a personal celebrity, and thus become marginalised.

The question about significant moments in life (here we get e.g. Beata’s story about her special relation to the drawings by her grandfather, whom she never personally knew) collides with the brutal question of whether an artist is a needed social role - presumably, a paid profession, as what else but a salary would be today’s certificate of social utility.

In case of Tomas Makara’s installation, we have a special situation, when an artist creating a piece of art (something with monetary value due to its social role) asks other artists the question about the meaning of being an artist. He transfers his personal obsessions, doubts and dilemmas in the form of questions onto the Wroclaw artistic community. The community he does not know, but which he discovers in the course of his work. He puts his hand into the bag and feels, once accidentally touching something prickly and once something intimate. Yet, he stubbornly clings to the sequence of questions, that purposely designed template which could format the expected response, but what he gets in return is a hail of stand-alone facts, shrapnel of imagination that hit anywhere but in the cut out shape.

Mariusz Sibila

sobota 4. júla 2015

The mouth of truth, 2015

Video was made spontaneously on holiday in Croatia during walking back from city center to the hotel. I asked automat machine called „Mouth of truth“ what can i do? in meaning of my artistic existence. It is first work from my upcoming project „What can i Do?“, based on research of meaning, role and un-necessity of contemporary artist for society.

Author´s statement

streda 5. novembra 2014

Prihláška (Application form), 2014


At the end of August 2014 this year a message with mysterious contents appeared in my email inbox. This message was encouraging me, to participate in the upcoming project of the new management of the Eastern Gallery in Kosice. Zero year exhibition project titled "Salon for all fine artists from east of Slovakia" spoke the words of a new director Martin Racko*, sculptor, and promised that "the exhibition will be a not select one, none of authors and their works will be singled out. Opportunity to present their work will be given to every artist who is a professional, a member of professional organizations like Slovak Union of Visual Arts, Slovak Art Association etc." Despite of the territorial definition “the artist should have a current residency in the eastern region" a minor segregation detail, exhibition project promises "to create decent and benevolent salon environment in the right form like Paris experienced before at the time of the Impressionists.”

Viewers will be able to "enjoy the excitement when meeting with the exhibited work as well as with trend in visual arts in Slovakia." To this invite, I decided to respond with a simple gesture, which is defined against to this curatorial experiment by its own means. After filling all formal requests that include the maximum extent of the work and payment of the participation fee, is the status of an artist limited to sort of thankful renter of public area institution. This melancholic folk-hold strategy returns art development two centuries back. This only convinces the viewer that the primary role of art is even in the 21st century wholeheartedly hang on the wall and blend in with the shades of interior.

Author´s statement

note: Martin Racko is painter, son of official communist party sculptor Arpad Racko in Slovakia.


Koncom augusta tohto roku sa v mojej  e-mailovej schránke objavila správa (bez predmetu) s tajuplným obsahom. Obsah správy ma vyzýval k účasti na najbližšom projekte nového vedenia Východoslovenskej galérie v Košiciach. Nultý ročník výstavného projektu s názvom Salón východoslovenských výtvarných umelcov“ prehovoril slovami nového riaditeľa Martina Račka, akademického sochára, a sľubuje, že: „táto výstava nebude výberová a autori a ich diela nebudú selektované. Príležitosť predstaviť svoju tvorbu bude mať každý umelec, ktorý je členom stavovských, profesijných organizácií typu Slovenská výtvarná únia, Umelecká beseda slovenská atď.“ Napriek teritoriálnemu vymedzeniu „prihlásený umelec by mal mať aktuálny trvalý pobyt vo východoslovenskom regióne“ a drobným segregačným detailom, výstavný projekt sľubuje „vytvoriť dôstojné a žičlivé prostredie salónu v tej pravej podobe, v akej ho zažíval niekdajší Paríž v čase impresionistov. “  Diváci si budú môcť „vychutnať nadšenie pri stretnutí s vystavenými dielami ako i súčasným smerovaním výtvarnej tvorby na Slovensku.
Na túto výzvu som sa rozhodol reagovať jednoduchým gestom, ktoré sa vymedzuje voči tomuto  kurátorskému experimentu jeho vlastnými prostriedkami. Po naplnení formálnych kritérií výzvy ako maximálny rozmer diela a úhrada účastníckeho poplatku sa štatút umelca zužuje na akéhosi vďačného predplatiteľa priestoru vo verejnej inštitúcii. Toto melancholicko-ľudové uchopenie kurátorskej stratégie vracia vývoj umenia o dve storočia naspäť. V divákovi tak utvrdzuje pocit, že primárna úloha umenia je ešte aj v 21.storočí bezvýhradne visieť na stene a ladiť s odtieňom domáceho interiéru.

Vernisáž  „Salónu východoslovenských výtvarných umelcov“ sa uskutoční zajtra 6.novembra 2014 o 17tej hodine vo Východoslovenskej galérii na Hlavnej ulici 27 v Košiciach. Výstava potrvá do 31.12.2014

utorok 4. novembra 2014

Blank, 2014

One eye-catching feature of the central part of city of Topoľčany is the absence of a number of historical architecture, which was recently removed. It was probably the most significantly reflected in the residential area (partly Jewish), which was built in the first half of the 20th century. Historical sources and contemporary photographs from this period are now almost inaccessible. The whole area was in the 80s of last century razed to the ground and replaced by cold and an oversized architecture of a bus platform.

Project Blank works with the identity of the place where hardly noticeable gesture interferes with the function of the bus station, an area designated to transport people. Installing exterior panels used mainly to refer to residential homes in the premises of platforms, blurs the boundary between private and public space. Subversion intervention occurs at the moment when the panel, the function of which is to identify the location of the building in an urban context, does not carry any number. Confused traveling viewer is at one point located in the area of public as well as in the private space. The presence of plaques also symbolically restores its original place identity, where paradoxically points out the presence of erased history of the town. It raises unwanted questions from Slovak history from the period of the first Slovak state, as well as megalomaniac raging of communist regime.

Author´s statement


Jednou z neprehliadnuteľných čŕt centrálnej časti mesta Topoľčany je absencia množstva historickej architektúry, ktorá bola v nedávnej minulosti odstránená. Asi najvýraznejšie sa to odzrkadlilo na obytnej štvrti (z časti židovskej), ktorá bola postavená v prvej polovici 20.storočia. Historické pramene a dobové fotografie z tohto obdobia sú v súčasnosti takmer nedostupné. Celá štvrť bola v 80-tych rokoch minulého storočia zrovnaná so zemou a nahradená chladnou a predimenzovanou architektúrou autobusového nástupišťa. 
Projekt Blank pracuje s identitou tohto miesta, kde nenápadným gestom narúša funkciu autobusovej stanice, priestoru určenému k transportu obyvateľstva. Nainštalovaním exteriérových tabúľ používaných najmä na označenie obytných domov v objektoch nástupíšť, rozostruje hranicu medzi privátnym a verejným priestorom. Podvratnosť intervencie nastáva v momente, keď sa na tabuli, ktorej funkciou je označiť polohu budovy v urbánnom kontexte, neobjavuje žiadne číslo. Zneistený cestujúci divák sa v jednom momente nachádza v priestore verejnom a zároveň v priestore privátnom. Prítomnosť tabúľ zároveň symbolicky prinavracia miestu jej pôvodnú identitu, kde paradoxne identifikuje prítomnosť vymazanej histórie miesta. Vynárajú sa tak neželané otázky slovenskej histórie z obdobia prvého Slovenského štátu a taktiež megalomanského besnenia komunistického režimu.


pondelok 3. novembra 2014

Guests, 2009-13


Series GUESTS is not attacking the spectator, but it has an ambition to be pleasing for a first sight. An appearance is using aesthetics of mural textile, well-known from our childhood, when it used to dulcify habitations of our grandmothers. Project is working with authentic trivial and banal reactions of Slovak contemporary art galleries guests written in a guest book: “Thank you very much, we’ll surely come again!” etc., giving them into context with classical Slovak mythology and fairy-tale book illustrations, which are closely connected with our cultural awareness or national history. It results a new simulated mythology of relation between ordinary spectator and contemporary art.

We are liked this exhibition very much!, 2009


Guestbook is a common folklore of our galleries, on one hand, guestbook is sort of "presence chart" for traffic and on the other hand it serves to the average viewer as a medium, where he has the opportunity to express views on the production of a particular gallery - exhibition (note by author) view on contemporary art – and this can be done “here and now”.

Direct quotes from Tomas Makara are instructions for reading the project, but at the same time it is the point he is trying to make, if we should identify with that statement, or we should thought it is ironic – at that time using a notional quotes. 
This argument is in fact according author one of the most frequent references or can be viewed as current language of the younger generation - the "comments" to visited exhibitions that are located in the Guestbook in galleries. We can think about whether it is meant really sincere or vice versa, it is only a comment added as obligation and does not refer his true feelings about exhibition. 
Apart from that, the typology of reference in guest books (chronicles) can be really different: positive, sometimes enriched with broader formulation, why show it viewed in positive way, through neutral, to explicitly negative, from which it is clear that artist has failed to reach the viewer, disappointed his expectations or he just did not understand exhibited art.

Tomáš Makara starts his new project from this point, which focuses on the relationship of viewer and contemporary art. He notes in particular how it is perceived, or whether we are able to read it and how. Project was preceded by "research" of Guestbooks in selected Slovak galleries, especially those including exhibitions of contemporary art in forms other than painting, sculpture, drawing, graphics - that is the position of installation, object of intermedia and media art . 
At this point we can develop reasoning why a barrier between the audience (the laity), who came to the gallery for exhibition (doing so for different reasons) and contemporary art, the nature of which is generally foreign to him is created. 
One reason may be the reluctance / inability to use the viewer's own mental input in reading contemporary works, subject to persistent, but already dated opinion, that the expectation from the viewer's side is that the work of art should have in the first place hardly specifiable aesthetic value and should influence the perceiver on its own. On the other hand, precisely galleries have the option, in addition to presentations of visual art, to find and offer more ways to perceive it, although this part of the of gallery (educational) activities is still in our country more marginal. In our opinion this is also connected to creating of mentioned barriers. This aspect is invisible but an important part of the project.

It may be called by the term "antiexhibition" as it defies the traditional form of the presentation - "something presented in something" that we see mainly by our sight. In this way the dominant component is sound, which is the only part that can be grasps by the viewer, as he finds himself in the dark without the possibility to see anything. 
Viewer faces only voice of anonymous people who express negative attitudes and beliefs of contemporary art and its presentation, these were "borrowed" by the author from the aforementioned guestbook. 
Although it cannot be denied, that speech is deliberately exaggerated and expressive, it has also its authenticity - some of them come from the guestbook from Považská Art Gallery in Žilina. (Not)viewer is in this way exposed only to author's gesture - reflection on the art coming from visitors directly.

Mira Putisova-Sikorova - art theorist


Kniha návštev je bežným folklórom našich galérií, jednak je kniha návštev akousi „prezenčkou“ návštevnosti, a na druhej strane slúži bežnému divákovi ako médium, kde má možnosť vyjadriť svoj názor na produkciu tej-ktorej galérie – výstav (pozn. autorky textu), názor na súčasné umenie ako také - priamo „za horúca.“

Citované slová Tomáša Makaru sú návodom na čítanie jeho projektu, no zároveň i jeho pointou či už by sme sa s daným tvrdením stotožnili, alebo by sme ho mysleli ironicky – vtedy s použitím pomyselných úvodzoviek. Toto tvrdenie je totiž podľa autora jedným z najfrekventovanejších odkazov alebo, aktuálnym jazykom mladšej generácie – „komentov“ ku zhliadnutým výstavám, ktoré sa nachádzajú v návštevných knihách v galériách. Dá sa zamyslieť nad tým, či je zo strany návštevníka myslený naozaj úprimne, alebo naopak ide len o odkaz pridaný zo slušnosti či povinnosti a nereferuje tým o jeho skutočnom pocite z výstavy. Odhliadnuc od tohto faktu je typológia odkazov v knihách (kronikách) naozaj rôzna: od pozitívnych, niekedy obohatených i širšou formuláciou, prečo výstavu hodnotí kladne, cez neutrálne, až po vyslovene negatívne, z ktorých je zrejmé, že diváka neoslovila, sklamala jeho očakávania alebo vystaveným dielam jednoducho nerozumel. 
Z tohto bodu vychádza projekt Tomáša Makaru, ktorý sa zameriava na vzťah diváka a súčasného výtvarného umenia. Všíma si najmä, akým spôsobom ho vníma, prípadne či je ho schopný čítať a ako. Projektu predchádzal „výskum“ návštevných kníh vo vybraných slovenských galériách, predovšetkým v tých, ktoré vo svojich dramaturgiách majú aj výstavy z oblasti súčasného umenia vo formách iných ako maľba, socha, kresba, grafika – čiže v polohe inštalácie, objektu, intermediálneho a mediálneho umenia. Na tomto mieste sa dá rozvinúť úvaha, prečo vznikajú bariéry medzi divákom (laikom), ktorý do galérie na výstavu (i keď z rozličných dôvodov) prišiel a súčasným výtvarným umením, ktorého povaha je mu spravidla cudzia. Jednou z príčin môže byť neochota/neschopnosť diváka použiť vlastný mentálny vklad pri čítaní súčasných diel, podmienená pretrvávajúcim, ale už prekonaným, očakávaním z jeho strany, že výtvarné dielo má mať v prvom rade ťažko špecifikovateľnú estetickú hodnotu a má samé oslovovať vnímateľa. Na druhej strane práve galérie majú možnosť poskytovať okrem prezentácií výtvarného umenia i spôsoby ako ho vnímať, hoci táto časť spektra galerijných (edukačných) aktivít je ešte stále v našich podmienkach viac marginálnou, čo sa tiež podpisuje pod vznik spomínaných bariér a tento aspekt je neviditeľnou, ale dôležitou súčasťou koncepcie projektu. 
Možno ho označiť termínom „antivýstava“, keďže sa formou vymyká tradičnému rámcu prezentácie – teda „niečoho vystaveného v niečom“, ktoré vnímame predovšetkým zrakom. Dominantnou sa tak stala zvuková zložka, ktorá je pre diváka jedinou uchopiteľnou, keďže sa ocitne v tme bez možnosti čokoľvek vidieť. Čelí iba hlasom anonymných osôb, ktoré vyjadrujú negatívne postoje a názory ku súčasnému umeniu i jeho prezentáciám, a tieto si autor „vypožičal“ zo spomínaných návštevných kníh. Aj keď sa im nedá uprieť zámerne prehnaný expresívny prejav, majú svoju autenticitu - niektoré z nich pochádzajú i z kroník Považskej galérie umenia v Žiline. (Ne)divák je tak vystavený iba gestu autora - reflexiám na umenie pochádzajúcim z radov návštevníkov. 

MIRA PUTISOVA art theorist

Painter, 2007

Painter. This is the reconsider rough copy about anonymous family as an accidentally chosen sociable unit faced with arts in micro world of their living room. Already rough copy itself supported promising success. Author is still going moreover - he gave to the family a work of art from author, which is responsible for biggest rousing war as an overhaul on apocalypse. Of course the family doesn't know the name of the author, after three weeks co-existence with this picture in theirs firesides, they talk about their sensations from art - picture, from impulse of Makara. On exposition is this document presented as video included with duplicate of this picture and digital press portraits of families. Makara, with these special natural results of rough copy, offers a few interpreter plains in a moment. It is an immediate social feel out on art objects and raises a question: is important knowledge of the author - artist for our experience from art? In ultimate implication its also confront prodigy of art generally perceive as something positive, with absolute evil represented by politician in which hands it became just an another tool of propaganda.

PETER TAJKOV art theorist