Jan Kovářík – Xushi / The Substance of Emptiness 23/4 - 11/6 2017
exhibition opening: 22/4 2017
exhibition dates: 23/4 – 11/6 2017
exhibition space: experimental space
curator: Richard Drury
Jan Kovářík (born 1980) searches for the meaning of nature and the cosmos in the fascinating kaleidoscope of their structures. Through a gradual simplification of form, he arrives at the abstracted spatial essence of their inner logic and energy, thus revealing their mystery and connection with the world of people. He thus becomes not only a discoverer of the microcosmic and the macrocosmic spheres, but also their intuitive artistic interpreter. In his animating of plastic substance, Kovářík focuses on the elementary core of nature as it is perceived by humanity, one in which volume, proportion, solidity, construction and composition all find their common equilibrium. His ‘struggle with matter’ leads to independent forms representing the transformation of shapes from nature into the spatial poetics of humanist consciousness.
Kovářík’s exhibition at GASK is, however, radically aimed in the opposite direction to the traditional presentation of plastic artworks. Instead of showing the resulting casts, this project presents moulds that are the sculptures’ ‘birthplace’. Here, an artistic instrument that, as part of the process of manufacture, usually remains hidden in the studio, enters the symbolic limelight of the exhibition space. An ordinary piece of sculpture equipment thus transforms into something like a readymade, exchanging its role as the invisible ‘womb’ of aesthetically beautiful sculptures for the status of a post-aesthetic, conceptually provocative object that raises a series of questions relating to presence and absence, original and copy… Kovářík compels us to consider the very meaning of sculpture and art in general: What defines the charm of an empty mould? Is it merely a material intermediary stage in the creation of the sculpture? A vessel, husk, shell, intervening path and halfway shape? What is the correspondence between the inner negative content and the outer technical form? Is it able to bear the burden of being an artistic artefact? Doesn’t it become obsolete in the face of dominance by new media?
When an original is irreversibly damaged and only the negative mould bears the message of the substance that it enveloped, only this mould can produce the essence that it was, itself, created for…