Dnipropetrovsk. Ya Gallery Art Center
08.09.2014 – 18.10.2014
Touching your skin,
Wishing you were within.*
Emma Anderson «Monochrome»
Texts for art exhibitions often resemble instructions. People like instructions, respect them and read carefully before use. With thin needles of paragraphs and subparagraphs, explanations, titles and other words, instruction penetrates the uncertain matter of our everyday life and with motherly care helps us cope with disbelief and indecision, carefully accompanies us everywhere and doesn't let us turn the wrong way. "I believe there's nothing to believe, But I love the manual, the instruction manual"**, Alex Kapranos sings in Fresh Strawberries. Instructions cause a feeling of confidence in the future prosperity and stability. But when an instruction appears with a snow-white caravan of humanitarian assistance in the territory of art - it is not a good sign. In this context, an idea emerges that a perfect text for Tiberiy Szilvashi's project Monochromes would be a blank sheet of paper (not a blank page from Laurence Sterne's novel, but rather one from John Cage's play "4'33") - as a liberation of painting from the disservice of alien words and opinions. Alien not in the sense of belonging to another person, but in the sense of anatomical strangeness of the invasive language of words in relation to art.
Mark Rothko once said "Silence is so accurate". In order to understand the precision of thought one must find silence, at least, inside. In pursuit of ideal silence John Cage discovered that it simply does not exist, when in a room completely isolated from sound, in sound vacuum, he heard two sounds: high and low. It was works of his blood circulation and nervous systems. You can imagine how these sounds overlapped and created a monochrome hymn of life - stubborn, pulsating and total... There is no perfect silence. But there is a state when you can hear your own sound, when you can hear "pulsating concreteness of real flesh and bones" (Rothko). Contemporary art requires silence, and the artist himself speaks about it. Painting requires the viewer's ability to focus on the painting itself, to strip it of the noise of his or her own bias, only to touch its warm skin with a glance and let it tell its life story.
In his text "Trap for a Cloud" Tiberiy Szilvashi quotes Barbara Rose: "Monochrome is not a style so much as it is a personal stance". What is a personal stance if not rejection of any illusions? It is transparency and impartiality, ability to hear someone's story and therefore the ability to be heard. Personal stance is not a dialogue of words, but of impulses, it as a dialogue between life and life. Monochrome is not "writing" a painting, it is "growing" a painting. Monochrome is not "reading" a painting, it is living its life - from the start of a transparent surface to the end of a firm base, and back.
MONOCHROMES is not color. It is what's beyond it and what makes it color. Just like a human who is made a human not by the color of his or her skin. "God doesn't care about the skin, he cares about solidarity and honesty" (Serhiy Zhadan "White People").
In the dialogue with Jerzy Onuch, Tiberiy Szilvashi agrees with Jackson Pollock that viewer doesn't have to look for anything, he or she has to observe passively. Passively is also neutrally, and monochrome-ly.
Vasyl Skakun, 2014
TRAP FOR A CLOUD
World around us is filled with images. We are rather not what we read and say, but what we see, and our "we" is primarily the result of visual practices. Language of communicative images (term of O. Aronson) is effective and understandable. It is formed by a general information reality's field of recognition and knowledge, and speed of reading such images only increases our inability to comprehend their ever-increasing volume, fully subjecting us to the tyranny of the moment. Virilio wrote that all that is exposed at maximum speed can only be accidental. It is not ancient kairos, but a "case in the horizon of transparency" - horizon of the monitor screen.
The existence of painting today is an inquiry into it. Not so much into its existence as a species, but into the incarnation of the myth of general visual language called "painting". On the horizon of banal "truths" and flashing images of culture industry, the existence of a space of silence, a space of "dilated time" becomes crucial for the painting. In this practice, painting stops being a communication instrument, but creates optics of a "gaze", where culture of differentiation becomes a crucial component. The space of monochrome painting's impact is a space of "time dilation".
As a phenomenon of a boundary after minimalism, after conceptualism, monochrome belongs entirely to the painting. This kind of painting has many names which indicates a number of possible strategies inside the phenomenon. It is non-iconic painting and concrete painting, and "radical painting", and "art after the image", and many others.
Project "Monochromes" is about time and perception. About the historical time of existence of painting forms and about the subjective time of the perceiver. The experience of "viewing" such works differs from how painting that portrays anything is "read". And even from the experience of viewing "traditional" abstract works. Surface of a monochrome work is devoid of any outward signs of structure and division. Rather, the structure here is in the flow of transparent and non-transparent layers of color. And the ability to respond to light - inner light and light of the space of time constellations.
There is no composition of colored spots. There is only pure "reduced" color that enters into a complicated game of relationships with a viewer's perception. The top layer of paint only captures the final state of color plane, the story that we can track on the side edges of the work. Layers of color, visible and hidden, materialize the creation of the work, the twists and turns of its path, the outcome of which is not completely known by the author, but can be retrospectively read and lived by the perceiver.
He is put in the situation of contradiction between sensory experience and constant return to the question about the reasons of the painting process. Between experience and knowledge, acquired from the painter not as a finished product, it is a result of his personal perceptive and cognitive process. The surface of this painting is a reflection of an invisible flow of color, multiplied in the tautology of canvases' formats (color objects) that are never finished, but always point to the origins. "Make it so that I can talk to you", says the character of Maurice Blanchot's novel. A compelling need to speak out, with hope that a seed of commonness will be established. No wonder one of the prominent representatives of monochrome painting Joseph Marioni says that relationship between the viewer and the panting is a person's private experience. "Monochrome is not a style so much as it is a personal stance," echoes Barabara Rose.
Tiberiy Szilvashi, 2013