Initially the work of Václav Litvan appears as purely sculptural, respecting the matter as well as traditional skills. However, another key element is its playfulness and hyperbole, creating a tension between both the material and metaphorical weight of their form and the lightness and fine nature of the questions these generous realizations evoke. The installation made for Kostka Gallery is inspired by the performative potential of sculpture and the possibilities of motion in a naturally static object.

“Everyone has probably moved a heavy wardrobe once, and therefore s/he understands, that the wings drawn on top of an object made from its parts only pretend their flight,” notes the artist when speaking about one of his works. A central piece is an installation resembling a merry-go-round. However, it won’t move a single inch either. The viewer is forced to move instead, to walk around, slip under or climb over parts of the sculptures. Perhaps this aspect is what brings them alive in the end: similarly to perceiving the landscape, as it was in motion, while the train we sit in seems static.

At the same time, Václav Litvan sensitively works with the lines of forces of the monumental gallery space. Despite the high ceiling, the installation sticks to the ground, playing with the prone and standing position, with the horizontal and vertical lines. This emphasizes the empty space above the physical objects, as well as their own longing to take off, change direction, and turn their line of thought upside down. The gravity is relativized; none of the solutions are definite or binding.

As a whole, the installation reaches beyond the game of mathematical and energetic principles. Each object has its own character, although the faces of escaping boys depicted on a large-scale relief are hidden to us and the artist tore down a portrait initially modelled on an object resembling an enlarged coin, in order to allow the viewers to project their own images into the void. A statue of a gorilla is inspired by an amusement park attraction, but in Litvan’s installation, it reaches out from the center of the merry-go-round. In a horizontal position, it evokes a victim of human callousness, in the vertical position it proudly demonstrates its own triumph – that goes for everything. The horizontal line can represent the realm of a dream or even death, while the vertical is a symbol of life, heading towards higher goals or better tomorrows. The horizontal stands for a landscape, the vertical is the air. However, sometimes the air sticks too close to the ground and the cliffs rise towards the sky. One becomes the other. Standing, lying, awakening, sleeping…

Karina Pfeiffer Kottová

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