The exhibition Petr Písařík SPACE MAKER offers a representative selection of works by one of those Czech artists who are very hard to pigeonhole. Písařík presents his critical thinking primarily through material, colour, shape and composition. The exhibition is not essentially retrospective; it does not follow a narrative line, but in each gallery hall, he initiates an attempt for synthesis of seemingly disparate expressive and formal techniques. The paintings and 3D objects invite us to survey the landscape of the author’s perception of the world around and inside us.
“Optical illusion, which highlights the disparity between what is seen and what is assumed, is one of the key techniques he employs. View-through elements of architecture in the entrance area have been modified with coloured plexiglass screens – white appears to the eye as blue, red as purple. This play is not without purpose; just as the corroded surface of giant cubes and torsos of furniture and figurines cunningly obstructs the viewer’s idea of the material used and the mass of the artefacts,” explains the exhibition curator David Korecký.
In the gallery, we can focus on observing and navigating these imaginary landscapes, situations composed of relatively simple forms and compositions. The focus we experience is a way of getting closer to the objects, of contemplating their relationship with present and past eras of the history of art, design and architecture. And of course, it confronts the fragmented attention of a human travelling through an urban landscape composed of colours and noises, virtual pop-up worlds reaching out from the small screen of the smartphone, and constant doubts of what is permanent and what is ephemeral. With his eclecticism, Písařík defies time; by employing objects of daily use, he invokes the feeling of familiarity and closeness, but, when combined with sparkly surfaces, these objects become micro-worlds of fairly-tale dreaming.
“The beauty, impressive technical ingenuity, brilliant form and often touching, on the verge of paralyzing beauty of his solutions – these are all reasons why we do not realize that, on the ruins of our modern civilization and its art, Petr Písařík creates – again and again – something between a memorial and utopia in progress,” writes the art critic Marek Pokorný in his paper Bez lešení čili Několik postřehů k dílu Petra Písaříka (No Scaffolds or Several Observations on Petr Písařík’s Art).
Písařík’s paintings and three-dimensional objects emerge from the broken remains of a seemingly complete picture of the world around us. The author unleashes a current of constant transformations of materials, forms and ideas, and his objects typically have a changeable, unstable composition; a fragmentary and temporary nature. His works do not have a uniform style; maybe that is why they are an authentic reflection of the nature and pace of modern life. Písařík has never been a follower of the latest trends; his solitary nature did not always do him any favours – which is a mistake, because his dwelling on no specificity is, for Písařík, a manifest of personal freedom as an indispensable condition for creative spirit.
“Petr Písařík’s work is associated mainly with the transition from postmodernism of the mid-1980s to the situational uncertainty of the mid-1990, a period with a different kind of sensibility. Together with the other members of the Pondělí collective, the author instituted not only a new notion of the role of the artist in a period of transition from the ‘normalizing’ socialism to a fragile and illusionary liberal social consensus, but also the possibility to expose, with this transposition, the affiliated topic of art practice – that is what is the chance of returning an intimate (personal, political or social) experience of the world in an environment of subverted and discredited discourses through individual creative strategies and obsessions. Already at that time, his art had the character of lost affirmative action focused on absorbing symbols and phantoms of a society coming to terms with the dream of the end of history,” elaborates Marek Pokorný in his text.
The result is fascinating – as temporary as it is final. Back in the studio, it becomes an available torso blending in with its environment, not distinguishable from fragments and objects that are yet to be given a chance.
Petr Písařík was born in Třeboň in 1968. He presently lives and works in Prague. In 1987-1994 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (studios of Stanislav Kolíbal, Milan Knížák and Aleš Veselý). In 1989-1993 he was a member of Pondělí collective (Milena Dopitová, Pavel Humhal, Petr Lysáček, Michal Nesázal, Petr Zubek). He shows in the Czech Republic and abroad. His work could be seen at Galerie Rudolfinum in 2006, as part of the group exhibition Acne – Czech Modern Painting from the Richard Adam Collection.