Minimal Difference


This group exhibition presents the artworks of Jana Bernartová, Václav Krůček, and Pavel Mrkus. The artists decided for a Minimal Difference title. As mentioned by Pavel Mrkus in the interview for at the self-titled publication it refers to “the discrepancy between the states of one moment and another which, within the capacity of human perception, may be imperceptible.” Minimal Difference features both new works and on-site, computer-generated projections systematically related to the theme. These works emphasize slight shifts, fine nuances, and deviations which today, in the earlier part of the 21st century framed by technology, have become common, easily overlooked aspects of everyday life. Minimal expression should, in the case of these artists, be related to their formal method of interpretation, which is based on an ascetically limited and consistent use of narrow resources. The artists further increase their challenge to the viewer with a certain strenuousness and strict installation of the work.


Jana Bernartová’s work is characterized by an inspiration with the visuality of the digital and virtual world. Although some of her works gesture toward this visuality with their physicality, others exist only as software. In her recent project Zero One, the artist was inspired by email correspondence in which the content was scattered into numerous forms of data. With the help of an operating system, Bernartová attempted to read the data, using the resulting visual material as a foundation for further work. In the current exhibition at the Kvalitář Gallery, the artist makes use of her previous project, Liquid Crystals RGB. This project, presented in the Blanska City Gallery, featured a video of an ultramarine pigment which was then streamed to the ScreenSaverGallery, a virtual internet gallery. In the Kvalitář Gallery, a number of shots from this video are presented in lightboxes with titles in the form of numeric designations automatically generated when saving jpegs such as, Stream 0.00004900 1517478834, Stream 0.00008100 1517479399, and so forth. The differences between the images featured on the individual lightboxes are nothing more than miniscule transformations of pigment. These are all the more difficult to see as the image’s quality worsens. This contradiction between new technologies and low image quality is perhaps one of the most frustrating moments of Bernartová’s entire installation, otherwise based on almost perfect precision. At the same time, this installation ties into the gesture of the renowned French Modernist artist Yves Klein who, under the name IKB (International Klein Blue), appropriated true ultramarine and incorporated it into his artistic realizations. But perhaps what is most remarkable is how the artist’s use of this colour etched itself into art history, resulting in the association of any shade of blue similar to IKB with the artist and his work. Bernartová thus motions toward the problematics of reinterpreting and technologically reproducing the uniqueness of this colour. If we type IKB into an internet search engine, we’ll get not only Yves Klein’s monochromes, varying from one another in shade, but also clothing and fashion accessories inspired by IKB which, however, have nothing in common with the original colour. What concerns us here is not only technology’s inability to create a true reproduction of this shade, but also the appropriation of this blue to the wider public which, paradoxically enough, does not consider it important to remain faithful to the original colour. Surprisingly, Bernartová’s work appears convincingly painterly despite having circulated in the sphere of new media from the very beginning.

Monika Čejková