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exhibition - The Illusion of Painting

The Illusion of Painting

The first exhibition in the newly updated online gallery, The Illusion of Painting, presents works of video art exploring various aspects of illusion as one of the basic elements of painting. The videos of Jiří Černický, Elen Řádová, Michal Pěchouček, Jan Šerých, Anna Balážová, Miroslava Večeřová, and Pavel Příkaský present various different methods of working with color and light, as well as the possibilities of adding the dimension of movement and time.

In this context, we understand illusion on multiple levels. In its primary meaning, illusion is the sense of visual deception – an imitation of reality – and as such it is inextricably associated with the history of painting. The illusion of painting in film or video can be interpreted as the ability of another medium to spread or replace the traditional aesthetic qualities of painting. The goal of the medium of video may be to abstract an image of reality in the same way as a painting.

Another level of illusion is the idea that the contemporary painter takes the painting for granted. But the exact opposite is true: a visual idea can be expressed in any medium, and there exist multiple ways in which a true painter can apply his medium in both space and time. At the same time, painting can be easily migrated into object art or performance art, or it can become the object of stories and abstract conceptual situations.

Venus Elen Řádová 1993, video, 9:26 min.

One of Řádová’s first student videos (and also one of the first digital animations to be created by a Czech artist), Venus consists of a series of intimate close-up shots of a woman shaving various parts of her body. 

The Collector Michal Pěchouček 2003, video, 7:26 min.

The cycle of paintings The Collector and the eponymous video represent a comprehensive synthesis of the work of Michal Pěchouček. The 28 individual paintings in this series are like the frames of a movie. The video, in which Pěchouček (in the role of artist) presents the paintings one by one to an unseen collector, tells the paintings’ story. 

Paramnesia Jan Šerých 2009, video, 6:39 min.

Video art is a lesser known but equally characteristic area of painter Jan Šerých’s artistic production. In both these areas, he works with a reduction of form by using the geometry of shapes, and with content that encodes an external message. 

The Stoning Jiří Černický 2011, video, 3:58 min.

In The Stoning, Jiří Černický uses video post-production to alter an amateur video of an actual stoning of a woman. In line with the traditional Arabic manner in which the punishment of stoning is carried out, in the original video the woman is half buried in the ground. In Černický’s video, the only thing we see is the red of her dress.

The video Something in the Picture is a collage of parallel unrelated sounds and images showing close-ups of people and artificial (cinematic) landscapes. “Despite its name,” writes Anna Balážová, “Something in the Picture tries to point towards what is outside the image.” 

Inner Monologue Pavel Příkaský and Miroslava Večeřová, 2016, video, 7:14 min.

In the video Inner Monologue, we watch a gentle medical-painting therapy that alternates with graceful images
of bodies floating in colored liquids. The camera films in close-up as a woman’s voice (Sally
Troughton) whispers quietly. However, it is just as important to start listening as it is to
watch. Only when we listen to the voiceover do we realize what kind of waiting room we are
actually in. This isn’t about treating the ills that afflict the human body – it is about cursing
the world of headlong technological development and our need to control processes that are
uncontrollable. 

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