“Why choose the simple way when you can choose the complicated one,” we sometimes say in situations in which somebody works in a unnecessarily complicated way when there is a much more straightforward solution. Extreme illustration of this saying are the actions of the animated duo Pat and Mat, in whose case the solutions are not only overly complicated, but eventually also mostly non functional.
In our every day “providing” we try to use efficient procedures that ensure the best required result with use of as little means as possible. It is called practicality. The field of art is unique in this sense: effectiveness can be suppressed in favour of other values, “pointless intricacy” can be a quality of itself. Jana Kalinová (born 1978) knows a lot about this, commenting on this aspect of creative work.
This multimedia artist, graduate of FaVU in Brno and occasional curator declares the use of the trial and error procedure even in the title of her website. However the essential thing is that despite the lengthy preparations and number of rejected attempts in the background, the works themselves do not feel ponderous. With a little bit of hyperbole we could compare such phenomenon to ballet: the requirement to master this art of dance is an incredibly hard work, but when the dancer lifts the ballerina into the air, we only see elegance with no signs of strain.
An essential feature of Jana Kalinová’s work is a certain amount of humour, almost absurdity and self irony. That is Natural substitute of a fake Christmas tree (2004), photocopies of towels (3D xerox, 2002), giant non flying paper plane (Big format), “ancient” containers made of electric cables (Archeology, 2003) or mini golf on a kitchen counter (Unisex, 2002). At the same time, her individual art work is just as important as her organisational and collective activities- in Brno gallery Eskort, citizens association Parallel or Matěj magazine.
In 2011 Kalinová released a statement that she no longer wishes to participate in group exhibitions.
This gesture of institutional criticism has probably been her most radical “conceptual action” so far. After all, even Marcel Duchamp took a step back from the art world at one point in his life to engage in the game of chess and work in seclusion on his grand work Étant donné. Let’s comply with the wish of an artist who declares: “If you are interested in my work, let me work in peace.”

Tereza Jindrová

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