Reports

According to a population census conducted in 2011, only twenty two people allied themselves with the New Age movement. Only esoterics scored less, which under the circumstances is logical enough. The low figure is not surprising if we remember that New Age thinking reached its apogee some time ago. In the 1990s it was still possible in the Czech Republic to catch the last wave of this mainly American cultural phenomenon, which left behind a distinctive though relatively rare trace. At that time, MANA*, the elusive quarterly magazine of expanded consciousness, was probably the flagship of the current of thought featuring the psychowalkman and a holistic view of the world. As a student, at the end of the 90s I attended lectures given by the editor-in-chief of the magazine. In my mind’s eye he had an aura of exceptionality that always accompanied the arrival of a New Age prophet. Disillusionment set in with the first reference to Tibetan bowls and the didgeridoo. At that time it seemed to me that, leaving aside its kitsch visual style, the weakest link of the entire movement was its bland ambient music, and it was with this conviction that I entered the new millennium. Several years have passed. The turning point grew closer. Long, growling tones imitating pianos or stringed instruments gradually began to appear in my music file. Endless surfaces of electronic sounds sounded like they had in the past, though noticeably less balanced. They were like cassette recordings that had over time become worn out, scrunched up and slowed down in playback. Isolated fragments, snapping and crackling, a disturbing hum became an inherent part of the new sound. Similarly unavoidable was the arrival of mutated gradients, Yin-Yang symbols and multicoloured textures. The visual style of New Age thinking became one of the bases for an aesthetic of post-internet art and the spiral was again not closed.
Despite the earlier influences of the transavantgarde, in her most recent paintings Pavla Malinová has been moving to a personal style, a New New Age. The mercilessly exhibited openings into other dimensions do not offer an easy means of escape, and yet blatantly draw attention to the barriers accompanying any search for deeper knowledge. Soiled coloured transitions are like disturbed mantras. Dissonant motifs of timelessness and a non-existent space. The bluebird, symbol of happiness, remains imprisoned in our thinking. The hermeticism of murals develops the esotericism of hung paintings. The messiness of the handcrafted balances the spiritual desire for perfection. Soldered stake, massage cage and green roll mats supplement an intuitively planned installation. Visualised energy as the art of materialisation.

* Mana – the visualised transformative energy of sacred space and time.

Jiří Havlíček

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