International print biennial 2022: R.O.C., National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2022
PONOŘENÍ / Immersion, Contemporary Czech Art in Šumperk, 2022 (from the solo exhibition)
PRINTED VOICES FROM CZECHIA, Kennedy Heights Arts Center Ohio (USA), 2022 - download HERE
DOMOV A SVĚT, Art Museum in Olomouc, 2022
21st Lessedra world art print, Lessedra gallery in Sofia, 2022
42nd International mini print Cadaques, Taller gallery Fort in Cadaques, 2022
VANITAS, DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, 2021
IV. Mini print Cantabria, Faro Cabo Mayor Art Center in Santander, Spain, 2021
Sympozium Jenewein, Felix Jenewein gallery Kutná hora, 2021
POST.PRINT, Art Museum in Olomouc, 2019
Les Bohémes, L&C Tirelli gallery in Vevey, 2018
Where is my home, Hollar gallery Prague, 2018
Hollar today, Hollar gallery Prague, 2018
Šumava, Klatovy-Klenová gallery, 2017
Sanctuary of Spatial Geometry / 2023
When the peaks of our sky come together,
My house will have a roof.
– Paul Éluard, Dignes de vivre, 1944 –
Lenka Falušiová belongs to the generation of artists who in recent years have rediscovered the charm and richness of landscape art. By ‘rediscovered’, I mean she has embraced landscape art’s original essence, i.e. it’s primary ability to grasp the world, primarily the human world; after all, we are talking about art, about human creativity, about human perspective. The landscape [sic]. But also about the amazement and overwhelming sensation that Nature provokes in our minds, and our subsequent efforts to make sense of it all. We have lived with a chronic fear of destruction for the past few decades, as if we can no longer imagine the landscape without knowledge of the imminent end of the world. But as Hercule Poirot, that quintessential product of industrialised society, aptly remarked somewhere in the field, there is no end to nature and there never will be. This is what people like Lenka Falušiová show, and, after all, isn’t this why we even have artists? Simply walk into the forest and surrender yourself to its wonder. You will be reminded of the magnificence of the universe faster than you can say ‘a priori form’. We should only be worried about ourselves.
And yet, I don’t want to limit my thoughts on Lenka's current work from 2023 and her first bold venture into space to subtle criticism of premature dystopianism or to a celebration of the complex nature of being, let alone landscape art per se. Instead, I would like to trace its blossoming and consider the possibilities of imagination, creativity and – perhaps somewhat paradoxically – ritual practice, the echoes of which resonate strongly here.
For my purposes, I adapt the triple frame, medium, ritual and performative turn, relying on Bachelard's concept of spatial geometry, specific in its strict dialectic. That is why, as is known, Gaston Bachelard himself rejected it so pointedly – his goal was to restore a solid connection between what we understand as internal and external, our own and foreign, precisely through the geometrisation of our own spectrum. And I intend to follow in his path. Naturally, this is much easier for me, because the call for a holistic view of the world we inhabit is one of the loudest today, with the up-to-date performative turn being its actual driving force – it shows that everything that is ‘stable’ and ‘fixed’ is only this way temporarily and for our purposes or need, while from a long-term perspective it is subject to a spontaneous process of transformation and negotiation. In other words, a concept is a tool that we create as we walk through a terrain that is constantly changing beneath our feet – simply because, like us, it is alive.
What does ‘ritual’ have to do with any of this? We typically see the ‘magic’ that is part of ritual as an irrational attempt to interpret the behaviour of a universe whose character we have no access to. This we do on the basis of our own experience, the limited framework in which we move on a daily basis and in which individual elements or segments gradually become symbolic nodes. I refer in this sense to Roger Collingwood, though in other respects, especially in the conception of art, I digress. According to Collingwood, magic is based on three propositions – first, I create an emotional bond to objects in my environment, which I thereby domesticate; second, I begin to understand these objects as symbols; and third, these objects are interpreted as symbols, i.e. as couplers of emotions, not only by me but also by members of the community in which I live. Magic, a ritualised practice, does not pursue a logical explanation of concrete acts, let alone a ‘solution’ to them; its purpose is to facilitate the release of emotions. Magic is controlled emotional escalation.
One of our first critics of media (reproduced media, moreover), Walter Benjamin, linked the rise of photography (and the graphic arts) to a turn towards ritual practice. Benjamin wrote: ‘For the first time in the history of the world, technical reproducibility emancipates the work of art from its parasitic dependence on ritual.’ Why? For one thing, because the original disappears in the tangle of copies, and thus its initial, unquestionable connection with transcendence disappears. And yet we know that the material, the object, continues to hold this quality. Important here is the physical experience of ‘holding’, which is repeated. It is a repetitive grasping of a fact of life, which gradually becomes a symbolic reality, first individually, then shared – as Collingwood explains. And it is this repetition that is the key to understanding the relationship between ritual and performative practice. Even the process of negotiation takes place over and over again, albeit with variations, and on a substantive basis. At the same time, as Daniela Hodrová states, ‘the body describes certain symbols with its movements, attitudes and gestures; it does not interpret them, but realises and experiences – it experiences the cosmos in the body’.
As such, we are also reminded of the principle of Gesamtkunstwerk, a ‘total work of art’ produced by the 19th century in its hunger for the perfect illusion and increasingly rejecting the original source of sovereign delusion, God and religion. Much has been written about the nature of ceremonial rituals viewed from an anthropological perspective. These are characterised by a high degree of ritualisation, reflection of a specific location or time of day, but above all repetition. Unlike the original instrumental or ordinary behaviour that inspired them, ritualised movements and sounds become ‘extraordinary’, thereby drawing our attention. They are usually simplified or stereotyped (formalised), intense with the characteristic regularity of tempo. The signals are often exaggerated and are further developed in the following action, space and time. A work of art in the Western tradition has exactly the opposite nature – it is novel, original, does not recognise or directly disqualify repetition, and is intended for presentation. It breaks free from everyday practice by transcending it. In Lenka's case, however, I see ritual not in opposition to art or only as an expression of emotional relief, but in its essence as a rational attempt to comprehend and cope with what is seen. Finding a structure or an order that may not be stable, but is remembered. It is precisely in this context that I perceive a high degree of courage and experimentation in her work, by which she encourages us, the viewers, to not only respond emotionally but to actually think. When I mentioned in the introduction her effort to move into the third dimension, into space, it was meant very concretely – the surface of the image becomes a thoughtful installation materialising the principle of an eternally establishing structure that has no fixed core or limits. If she uses the label ‘sanctuary’ for it, she is deliberately leading us by the nose and having a little fun, even at her own expense.
Bachelard’s literary duology The Poetics of Space – and – The Poetics of Reverie: Childhood, Language, and the Cosmos, which is mentioned here in almost every respect and which has profoundly influenced our thinking about the experience of our own being, is based on the aforementioned dialectic of the inner and the outer. The entire richness of the intimate world of being is fixed in the ‘here and now’ – in the simple localisation of a safe place or one's own dream. However, the ontological absolutism to which this thinking leads apparently overlooks the inherently ‘rounder’ complexity of being. Bachelard uses the phrase ‘windows of fancy’ to refer to them and leads the reader beyond the limit of the internal/external, which – according to him – is intimately connected to the geometrisation of the space in which we exist. ‘In terms of geometric expression, the dialectic of inside and outside rests on an intensified geometricism in which limits are obstacles. We must remain free from any categorical thinking – and geometricism records categorical ideas,’' he says, suggesting that even centralisation itself is only temporary. ‘A spiral being that appears from the outside as a well-encircled centre never actually reaches its centre. Being human is being free from fixation. Every expression frees a person from fixation. As soon as an expression is raised in the realm of imagery, being already needs another expression; it must be the being of another expression.’ In other words, we achieve the greatest sense of belonging in the world when we – at least temporarily – resign ourselves, our originality and uniqueness, our centrality.
author © Barbora Kundračíková (Art museum Olomouc, Czech Republic)
IMMERSION / Contemporary Czech gallery Art in Šumperk, Czech Republic / 2022
Lenka Falušiová‘s work is compact, complex and coherent. Rarely is it possible to say with such assurance that what we see here is an expression of a mature imagination. Lenka’s work has undergone significant development and further development lies ahead. However, there is a solid core one can lean on securely. This, I think, is what we find so attractive about it. There is a certain tension – between the form and the content, between the manner of work and what it demonstrates. After all, this exhibition is entitled Immersion and it is about immersion, however, at the same time, more than anything else, it evokes the opposite process, the process of emersion.
The landscape and the landscape structures have always been a subject depicted in art. To a certain extent they are related to the evolution of man - they are connected with our sense of direction. However, beside the external space, equally often they are an impetus to explore our inner space within. On the one hand, their function is didactic, on the other hand, they are deeply romantic; they search the finest recesses of the soul for the really big, transcendent subject of art. They demonstrate the process, for which Maurice Merleau-Ponty used the term intentional arc and Martin Heidegger the term Dasein. Both of them are heading in the same direction – of naming the basic condition of our existence in the world, i.e. the body and bodily experience. In the sense of Merleau-Ponty‘s thinking, the body is the tool for the immersion „within“, inside the things, the stories, their own existence. According to Heidegger, the acceptance of the body‘s own temporary nature is the condition of being that is authentic and reconciled with itself.
In this context, Lenka‘s strategy of work is interesting for two reasons. Firstly it is a combination of drawing and graphic art, two delicate techniques that resonate with the body and its natural movement probably the best – a hand grasps an object that is seen, transforming and restoring the object to an existence in a different spatiotemporal scale. This process follows precisely the process or cognition or recognition. Secondly, it is the manner of capturing, creating the structures that are only seemingly intuitive. Without a good measure of knowledge and experience, we could never achieve a comparable result. It is obvious that Lenka‘s eye as well as her hand know exactly what they are doing. And this is what leads me to a conclusion.
Bruno Bettelheim, an Austrian-born psychologist, used the motif of a forest to describe the processes in the human mind. In a study dedicated to fairy-tales he wrote: „Since ancient times the near impenetrable forest in which we get lost has symbolized the dark, hidden, near impenetrable world of our unconscious. If we lost the framework which gave structure to our past life and must now find our way to become ourselves, and have entered this wilderness with an as yet underdeveloped personality, when we succeed in finding our way out we shall emerge with a much more highly developed humanity.“ For a long time this way out was being offered by aesthetics - through our senses we penetrate to the nature of things, which is then grasped by thought, image, which others can relate to. In this sense, a work of art, the supreme expression of human creativity, maybe even of human being itself, may be called truthful in its nature. A little cut-out thereof that Lenka Falušiová contains, a cut-out defined by the span of her personality, suddenly becomes much more significant. It is not necessarily true in the logical, explicatory sense, but it is true in the global sense – as an expression of aspiration for the truth rather than the truth itself. By letting us watch her aspirations in a generous way, Lenka gives us an opportunity to see much more than it originally appeared. She gives us an opportunity to emerge from the forest unscathed.
author © Barbora Kundračíková (Art museum Olomouc, Czech Republic)