Reports

Fait Gallery enabled Tomáš Bárta to show his work in MEM just a year after his exhibition Softcore. During that year Bárta went through a period of revising his means of expression. At the exhibition Softcore there were paintings in which he openly declared his support for Modernist aesthetics. These were followed by a period in which he aimed at simplifying complicated labyrinths, he created sober geometrical patterns which reflected the influence of descriptive geometry, Classical order and Constructivism. The emphasis on painting as a derivative of the past turned Bárta´s attention towards archaeological metaphors which in fact are employed in the process of layering, penetration and detecting.
The curator Jan Zálešák in his text accompanying the exhibition Softcore rightly laid emphasis on gradual „sedimentation“ and „movement in a slowly growing system of sets of elements“ in the development of Tomáš Bárta´s painting. A year later when standing in front of his new paintings we may say that they represent so far the most radical turn in his work but on the other hand we have to say that he did not abandon the previously explored territory. While the exhibition at the Ostrava gallery Dole held this spring and entitled Sometimes, at the moment of a kind of flash, I wake up and change the direction of my fall showed the crystallization of Bárta´s new approach, the series of medium size paintings displayed at the exhibition Things You Can‘t Delete show a wide range of new motives and methods. The key factor is being aware of his own roots in the Modernist tradition. At the same time the fragmented composition of his paintings started to integrate. In the new paintings the same principle occurs again and again – the structural ground influences the appearance of the surface coating and the composition of the paintings is completed by a dominating feature in the foreground.

When characterizing Bárta´s development Jan Zálešák referred to the period following his graduation from the Faculty of Art in Brno, however, we should seek prototypes of his contemporary work in the more distant past, i. e. in the two or three years of studies in the studio of Petr Kvíčala. It was at that time that Bárta for the first time transmuted his inspiration from building constructions, protoarchitecture and remnants of building activity into concise abstract vocabulary. And it was exactly at that time that the „dominating body“ or a kind of „material body“ appeared in his paintings and on which the remaining part of the painting focused. In this respect the paintings exhibited at Things You Can‘t Delete represent the artist´s first return to this source despite being included in new contexts.

The title of the exhibition refers to the contents of common and individual memory in Bárta´s work. There are things that cannot be deleted, that cannot be avoided, things we always return to. However, it is not always a matter of our will. The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan distinguished between the object of desire and the cause of desire. His interpreter Slavoj Žižek described this difference as follows: „While the object of desire is simply an object we long for, the cause of desire is a characteristic feature which makes us desire this object (a detail which we usually are not even aware of and which we sometimes overlook or see it as an obstacle despite which we desire the object). In the paintings from Things You Can‘t Delete we surprisingly find the causes of desire rather than the objects of desire. It is not a matter of motives of bars and sailyards or methods of layering and scratching but what matters are features and details that make him paint in that particular manner – again and again and with a shift forward by returning.

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