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Exhibition review by Simona Mehnert
Enter the Painting, 2003
Rarely do we witness in contemporary art a concept in painting whose shapes – when transferred from the surface of the painting and converted to plastic form – extend their effect out into space. Petr Kvíčala’s exhibition at Gallery Behemot offers more than just an opportunity to see such an artistic process; we can also participate in a rare artistic adventure: Upon entering the gallery, we instantly find ourselves in Kvíčala’s painting and we have the opportunity to walk among his many-coloured lines. Being Kvíčala’s exclusive artistic means, they are familiar to us from his paintings. Six colors and six shapes intersect in his paintings in various ways. However, this time the artist comes up with a new solution for his theme.
In the first room of the gallery Kvíčala plunges directly into the spatial disposition of the gallery, placing individual color lines that break loose from the walls in such a way that the viewer is able to experience direct movement within the work’s composition. A spatial composition is placed in the center of the room in which lines are formulated in their negative form. Here we move directly among the trajectories of lines, passing red objects of materialized in-between spaces along the way. This is not about the presentation of a compact object which we can walk around; Kvíčala has made a spatial installation that we are physically pulled into and whose inner complexity of shape and space we are forced to negotiate. In the process,
the perspective of our gaze is changed. The view is not from the outside of a painting, whose compact closed form is perceived as a solid unity, but from the inner transitive space, i.e. directly from the middle, where one is physically drawn in and from where one perceives shapes, colors and the organization of lines in their material, plastic form. Kvíčala has created here a spatial situation using painting as its basis, and viewers are invited to participate, to take part in temporal painting in three-dimensional form – painting with a physical dimension, which at that very moment becomes the immediate essence of our being.