Mini výstava Simony Blahutové v kyjovské Galerii Doma
Kyjovská Galerie Doma otevřela 17. podzimní sezónu výstavou obrazů a koláží Simony Blahutové, absolventky AVU z r. 2006. Blahutová studovala u Karla Nepraše, Michala Rittsteina a studium ukončila u Vladimíra Skrepla. „Cestování“ několika ateliéry jí bezpochyby prospělo: od Nepraše , na kterého s láskou vzpomíná, si odnesla cit pro objekt a hravost, od Rittsteina velkorysé figurální pojetí obrazu, a od Skrepla konceptuální uvažování o obrazu. Blahutová se ve své tvorbě zabývá lepenou koláží (této techniky si znovu začala všímat např. i další Neprašova žačka, sochařka Martina Hozová, stejně jako Blahutové spolužačka a kamarádka Lucie Ferliková, rovněž abs. AVU). Koláž ovšem není pro Blahutovou cílem; v části své tvorby - krabičkách – objektech – je sice koláž výsledným tvarem, nicméně v druhé, významnější autorčině poloze slouží jako skica pro velkoformátový figurální obraz. Blahutová má ráda plošnost, a tak používá jednak techniku airbrushe, ale rovněž lakování syntetickými emaily, které používá jen na části obrazů, takže s tímto materiálem pracuje jako se sochařskou matérií. Blahutové výrazové prostředky jsou úsporné a efektivní, v některých obrazech až minimalistické. Stačí jí dvě barvy, dvě šablona a oxeroxovaný obrázek.
Tématicky i stylově navazuje ve většině děl Blahutová na britský pop art (v jejím díle rezonuje tvorba Hamiltona, Wesselmana nebo Jonese), časté jsou i výlety do světa kinematografie 60. a 70. let (obrazová koláž s tváří Lyndsdaye Andersona, vzdálené echa Hitchcocka či fotografií Garryho Vinograda, samurajské filmy, atd. ). Blahutová pracuje rovněž s tématikou módní fotografie z ženských časopisů typu Elle, Vogue, apod. Činí tak ovšem ironicky; např. na hodonínském sympoziu Malý formát, jehož se letos zúčastnila, vytvořila nejlepší obraz výstavy, zobrazující modelku z Elle někdy ze 60. let, které ovšem upadla hlava. Fragmentace a nové seskládání lidského těla, ovšem chaotické a zneklidňující, je průvodním znakem Blahutové tvorby. Jasně zde funguje sémantický princip koláže – neobvyklými juxtapozicemi upozorňovat na nové asociativní významové souvislosti - ale v některých dílech rovněž dekonstrukce ženského stereotypu (násilné rozparcelování ženského těla na jednotlivé údy jakožto porce určené pro erotický konzum. Těžko říct, jestli Blahutová pracuje s tímto tématem záměrně a navazuje tak na feministickou filmovou teorii 70. a 80. let, či zda tak činí intuitivně). Obrazy Simony Blahutové mají v českém kontextu paralelu především v díle Anny Neborové (tématicky i formálně), Alexandry Jiřičkové, nebo Denisy Krausové, se kterou Blahutová již několikrát vystavovala (spolu s Lucií Ferlikovou).
Simona Blahutová and Lucie Ferliková: The Frailty of Anguish
Although the two artists had solo exhibitions in the Gallery at Home, they often exhibit together and have a considerable influence on each other's work, hence my decision to write about them in one single article. They met during their secondary school studies in Uherske Hradiště; after that, Ferlikova went on to study painting in Martin Mainer's painting department at the Faculty of Fine Art in Brno, Blahutova went to the Academy of Fine Art in Prague, where she first studied sculpture in the department of Karel Nepraš and then in the painting department of Michael Rittstein. However, she graduated from Vladimir Skrepl's painting department. Ferlikova finished her BFA cycle at FaVU and went to AVU, where she graduated from Milan Knížák intermedia department.
The feminine and the masculine principle
In Simona Blahutova's works, we can find a recurring theme of mafiosos, who for her symbolize the demonic and destructive aspect of the masculine principle. The mafia symbol has been chosen as something about whose evil there is a consensus in contemporary society. However, in many paintings, the feminine element is incorporated in the form of female hand, more or less visibly separated from a real woman's body; we can see it for instance in the Ninja paintings where the Ninja soldier represents the destructive force which is, nevertheless, counterbalanced by the feminine power; as the hand is detached, it functions like a symbol and does not detract our attention from this fact (which it would if there was a real woman, because then the painting would seem much more like a narrative than a meditation over a particular situation or principle). The detached female hand intervenes in a positive-negative way - it silences, or stops a destructive action; it is a symbol which has a central importance for Blahutova's universe.
In a recent series of work, Blahutova combines 2D and 3D principle: it is the black-only triptych of large format paintings-sculptures; figures are cut out of a board and mounted into frames. One of them, called Way out of this world, represents a Faustian theme of a man floating in the air, leaving the material world for heaven; all we can see within the frame of the picture are only his legs. In a first version of this artwork, a sign was incorporated into the drawing, reading, “So, are you never coming back?” Maybe in the title of the work, Blahutova wanted to say that it is depicting a journey out of this world, but using the word way, in the sense of one of possible methods of leaving it, is much more resonant, meaning that you can choose how to leave it. Those of you who know doctor Faustus's legend are familiar with the fact that the Devil took him from his room straight through the ceiling of his study. We can thus wonder whether the man is leaving this world entering heaven or being hijacked by the Devil. But the reading of this artwork can be also melancholic and have the air of mourning: “look, I am leaving (he is leaving) this world.” The question is, would there be a shift of meaning if the legs did not belong to a man but to a woman? If, let's say, they were slim woman's legs in pumps?
Another one, called in the original painted version The Fall, in the hybrid painted version A Memorial to Man – a Fall of a Statue, depicts a falling statue of a warrior. Beneath it, the word “man” is incorporated in characters simulating linear perspective. Usually, when you see statues in cities, they depict warriors or politicians, who are nearly always men. Blahutova recalls a surreal experience she encountered during her exchange stay in Aberdeen where she saw a huge white billboard with just one word in the middle: “MEN”. So in a way, the two artworks deal with departures, with ends of some periods: human (male) life in one case, political regime or social period in another. The third artwork, depicting a medieval knight on horse in mountains, symbolizes arrival and hope, like the good knight on a white horse as we know it from medieval fairy-tales, legends, or from Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Significantly, the figure is not black, but cut out in a black board, an outline, a non-presence, a chimera: more like a dream than a real being.
Powerful symbols of masculinity, such as knights, warriors, ninjas, or mafiosos, are central to Blahutova's imagery. She does not deconstruct these symbols in a simple or ironic way; there is some cultural context around them, but not too much, so they are partly shrouded in mystery, being sinister in some artworks, but powerless in other.
The Allegory of a Burning Time
The passage of time is something Blahutova has been preoccupied since childhood both in her personal life (counting constantly how much time has passed since a particular event) and in her art. Significantly, one of her latest paintings is called The Allegory of Burning Time. In her works, she tries to express the passage of time by layering several strata upon each other or by separating or even distorting the sections of the picture plane (this is more apparent in her paintings which have a collage-like character, notably the ones she executed in 2008).
The Vanity of an Easy Artwork
In the introductory text on her website, Blahutova describes her distress from artists creating too much art. This was a natural reaction to a specific situation: after the death of Karel Nepraš, the head of the sculpture department, she decided to study at Michael Rittstein's painting department, which seemed to provide the students with the “craft” aspect of the painting know-how, unlike the free-style department of Vladimir Skrepl. However, what she recalls she really felt uneasy about (in both Rittstein's and Skrepl's departments), was the quantity of paintings produced by her mates – just for the sake of painting (doing some activity). Anyone who has studied at an art college or visited a painting department there knows what we are talking about here: rows and stacks of paintings, which en masse cease to be works of art (mostly of bad art) and instead take on the status of mere objects, things, rubbish. The fear of creating more useless objects or rubbish leads Simona to slow, meticulous, and precise work, both on the level of form and of content. She says about herself that she loves order and is a “minimalist” even in everyday life. In the first years of her studies at the Academy, she actually created some objects in which the minimalist heritage can be clearly traced. But for her, minimalism is not a sufficient answer; form and aestheticism are too far from life. On the other hand, being too personal is not the answer for her in today's art world. There are several painting departments (or there have been several teachers) where the personal “style”, or 'brushwork” is emphasized. For Simona, this is not enough. Art which is too personal or too individualistic is not interesting for the audience. Neither is art which is boring. Defining your own version of art is always a struggle for power and position – one between several kinds of the currently prevailing short-sightedness about the definition of “correct” art. Maybe sincerity and open heart (together with having to say something) are not good social strategies and maybe they won't lead you to the Pantheon because of this, but they are the only possible ways in which to make art that will be relevant in twenty or fifty years from now on.
Galerie Doma, SVATOBORSKÁ 413 KYJOV 697 01