Profiles

Let´s imagine a scientist in the distant future who can find out what our contemporary art scene is like only thanks to the external disc of Pavla Malinová. Future technology is highly sophisticated and so he is capable of making this old-fashioned gadget work. After hours of work he manages to deal with the archaic formats JPG and MP4. He finds reproductions of paintings, drawings, murals and possibly the artist´s early videos.
It is quite probable that he might think Pavla Malinová belongs to some kind of pagan cult. He finds out that the confessors of this cult practice difficult physical exercises in psychedelically decorated sanctuaries. They worship the body and male sex. One of the frequent symbols is a kind of a shining yellow wheel with a faintly indicated mouth and eyes („Perhaps it has something to do with the Sun, but we are not sure“), or a blue wheel divided by white lines into smaller sections („This is how they supposedly represented the planet Earth.“)
Let´s imagine that the scientist has a certain knowledge of what art of the early human civilisations looked like and therefore it is possible that he might notice some similarities between these paintings and artefacts which are two or four thousand years older. As regards the early 21st century of the Christian calendar, he might come to a conclusion that, for some unknown reason, we still found important carrying and using a sword. He might also notice a similarity between the common symbol of “a chicken foot within a circle” and pictures on pieces of paper, which his colleagues found in a cellar of a house in an extinct village called Woodstock. From a file on the external disc called shortly “CV” he finds out that Malinová comes from a historically documented settlement of Vsetín, from where she moved to now no longer existing towns of Valašské Meziří
í and Ostrava (once famous for its underground university) and then to mythical Prague well-known for its red flag resembling male underpants. The fact that Woodstock and the place of residence of Pavla Malinová are thousands of kilometeres away from each other and that there´s a vast ocean inbetween, makes the scientist assume that we lived in an era when transmission of information between continents was possible. He will come up with a hypothesis that certain symbols (and perhaps an entire cult) had a universal impact. However, he will not notice the relationships between the paintings by Pavla Malinová
and the local art forms, the so-called folk art. The character of rituals on Pavla Malinová´s artefacts will be shrowded in many secrets. The existing evidence will not enable him to reconstruct how widespread the cult was. The following generation of scientists will come up with an argument whether these paintings have any relation to a cult. They will suggest using the psychoanalytical approach for analysing the paintings or they will consider Pavla Malinová a poet intertwining visual metaphors into more subjective semantic nets. This discussion will raise antoher question – how did her contemporaries understand them? Did they read them like encyclopaedias or did they accept them as flexible semantic systems into which they could project their own projects and associations? The youngest member of this second generation will provoke and ask whether all this was not a mere play with signs of spirituality, despite the fact that it might have been motivated by the desire for spiritual experience of reality. Nevertheless, what will remain unexceptionable is the incommensurability of the external disc technologies and reproduced paintings. The relatively sophisticated technical quality of the disc will be in contrast with the media of painting and drawing – and also with their delivery on the paintings under review. (“Perhaps it´s deliberate primitivism? Perhaps it has something to do with the status and function of paintings?) Nevertheless, thoughts about the character of the civilisation which applied colour pigments diluted in oil on a textile base on the one hand and used the binary code for digitalizing information on the other, will become a serious scientific subject. The battle between theories and hypotheses will be fiercely disrupted by the accusation that Pavla Malinová is in fact a fake, backed by a scientist who was the first to tell the world about the discovery of an external disc.

Jiří Ptáček

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