On Wednesday 17 October 2018 the Fait Gallery opened another three exhibitions. The main space of the gallery hosts an extensive retrospective of the artist Vladimír Kokolia. The exhibition will involve accompanying events prepared in collaboration with Kokolia, Composting with Vladimír Kokolia and A Day with Vladimír Kokolia. This all-day event will provide the visitors with an insight into other aspects of the artist’s personality.
Vladimír Kokolia: The Essential Kokolia
Curated by Miroslav Ambroz
17 October, 2018 - 1 January, 2019
Fait Gallery, Brno
The Fait Gallery presents Kokolia’s unpredictability combined with a systematic approach and Messianism which, however, is at every moment offset by irony. According to Kokolia’s distinctive art theology, a picture only lives in the field of the visitor’s view (and the viewer lives in the field of the picture). Kokolia maintains that what he paints are exactly these “fields”.
Since the 1980s, Kokolia’s approach to painting has centred more and more on the issues of seeing; he is interested in how a look flows, what its pathways are and how to capture what is happening in the pulsating, vibrant space between the observer and the observed. In addition, Kokolia constantly examines and trains his sight, striving for “miraculousness” generated by seeing, which is something we experienced as children and which is devoid of context, layers of denotations and rational comprehension. A picture is thus for him, first and foremost, a record of a freshly realised possibility of understanding the world, not a substitute, a copy or a reflection of reality.
Even after several decades of painting and exhibiting, a picture remains for Kokolia a mysterious object. Beyond doubt, a picture does have a life of its own but it only comes to life with a viewer. The subject of this exhibitions is life in front of the picture. Kokolia has turned the Fait Gallery into a Scout’s “last resort kit” containing an essential set of the modes of survival in front of a picture. These allegedly motionless and flat pictures will show viewers ready to try different modes of approach the real motion and space.
Vladimír Kokolia spent his childhood in Veverské Knínice and in Brno-Lesná. In 1971–1975 he studied promotional graphics at the Secondary School of Applied Arts in Uherské Hradiště. He then enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague where he graduated in painting in 1981 under Professor Jan Smetana. After a year of a compulsory military service he was a freelance artist until 1992.
In the 1980s Vladimír Kokolia was active, in particular, in Brno and Prague displaying his work at both unofficial shows and in state galleries; he also performed with the alternative rock trio E. For most of the time he had no steady income, and his wife Eva, mother of his three children, had to provide for the family. Kokolia’s exhibiting activities abroad grew more intense in the early 1990s including his participation in Documenta IX. In 1990 he became the first winner of the Jindřich Chalupecký Prize awarded to artists under 35. The award involved a stay in San Francisco where Kokolia spent six months. Since 1992 he has been head of the Graphics 2 department at the Prague AVU academy. In 2003-2004 the Brno House of Arts staged Kokolia’s controversial retrospective Vladimír Kokolia: House of Arts. In 2006 he was appointed professor. Among his students were, for example, Tomáš Vaněk, Ján Mančuška, Jonáš Czesaný, Veronika Holcová, Ondřej Smeykal, Kateřina Šedá, Adéla Babanová, Vilém Balej, Pavel Příkaský and Ondřej Basjuk. Kokolia’s works are represented in art collections in the Czech Republic and abroad. He has had over a hundred solo shows and taken part in over four hundred group exhibitions. In interviews and public lectures he often points out the particularities of perceiving pictures. Kokolia has written the books Slovník Gr2 (2008), Jení (Trigon 2012), Vy-já-dření (Trigon 2015) and others. He promotes composting and was the winner of the Miss Compost CR 2007 competition. Kokolia is also a well-known taiji master. Pavel Jirásek made a film about him for the Czech Television, Kdokolia. In 2012 he won the Dalibor Chatrný Prize for artists over 35. His latest exhibition Vladimír Kokolia: Epiphany was held in the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. Vladimír Kokolia lives and works in Veverské Knínice and in Prague.
Photo: Martin Polák