Curated by Pavel Kubesa
- Fait Gallery, Brno
The Event of Painting
The RAFA MATA exhibition project is, after some time, the first solo show of Tomáš Absolon in the Czech Republic. The artist develops in it his internal motivation to go back to the issues of pure painting. He chooses as his means of expression the most elementary components of the paining arsenal, colour and shape, and at the same time reduces the possibilities of the exhibition and installation aesthetics to bare minimum. Such artistic strategy places in the centre of attention the format of a picture per se, and presents Absolon’s found forms of contemporary painting in condensed form.
Work with his own, continuously built corpus of inspiration has always been important for Tomáš Absolon. His extensive database of subjects, symbols and influences stemming from broad cultural consciousness framed by experience of the global world of web 2.0 enables Absolon in his visual reductions to go beyond the conservative approach to the picture towards “postmodern mythologies“: the picture is only linked with external phenomena existentially, i.e. ontologically, not in reflected form (i.e. semantically). The pictorial visuality is thus not iconically (not even “arbitrarily“) associated with inspirational contents: the reference function of the pictorial symbol is completely suppressed and the “theme aspect“ of the series is created by a defining aesthetic and formal environment in which Absolon explores the possibilities of the development of new picture motifs.
The aesthetic environment, i.e. the sum of aesthetic features and qualities, traditional symbols, myths and representations making up the backdrop of the RAFA MATA project, is a hybrid territory stretching between top-level sport and corporate ideology: Absolon’s topical pictures are rooted in specific internal aesthetics of top-level tennis and sophisticated visual systems of the tobacco industry. These two worlds seem miles apart but share visual attractiveness, as well as distinct pictorial representations and an equally powerful emotional charge of the overall image of these two “incredibly sexy lifestyles“. However, Absolon wipes off the borders between these two inspirational stimuli, only extracting from them their typical colour composition and essential shapes.
The RAFA MATA series marks a shift from the previous ones in which Abssolon embraced formal trends from other avenues of art such as graphic design and typography, and subordinated the individual pictures to a pre-defined summarizing concept. He now focuses on the painterly solution to a particular picture. In each painting he attempts, by means of a unique visual motif, to develop the purely painterly inner logic of a picture which only unfolds in the very event of painting. The colour scheme approached more through space mediated by both gradual and sharp colour transitions, and loosely rendered shape lines return to the play of Absolon’s pictures re-found objectivity of motifs; at the same time, they open the possibility of the theme of a painting error: the space of the error is also the space of the happening of painting which visualizes and unveils this inner logic.
Absolon’s latest pictures require an interest in detail. They make a picture present in time and physical space, they remove it from interpretation and reception strategies of the consumption of visual representations in the environment of digital platforms and place it in a physical relationship with the viewer. The event of painting thus becomes (in a more and more dematerializing manner of experiencing everyday life) a directly accessible event of experiencing painting; this gives rise to an inherent continuity between the inner self and the surrounding world, a continuity which is not mediated and which can’t be mediated, a continuity which is undergoing a major crisis in the current situation of a global pandemic.