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Emmanuel Walderdorff Galerie

Emmanuel Walderdorff Galerie

Private Gallery
Volta NY - Svštopluk Mikyta
  Emmanuel Walderdorff Gallery

presents at VoltaNY 2010

Svštopluk Mikyta "Re-Portrait II", 2002-2009

Booth B5, Thursday, March 4th - Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Svštopluk Mikyta has been working for several years on a series of overdrawings that he brings together as cycles and then develops in the style of installations. He takes high print-quality found photographic reproductions and reworks them with a drawing pen. Some of these interventions are almost imperceptible, some strictly formalistic, but they always show an unmistakable feeling for the graphic potential of the source material and for its historical essence, the collective psychology concealed within it. We watch the artist appropriating half-forgotten pictures of pre-fascistic parade aesthetics and unearthing definitely timeless Utopias from long-forgotten formation ballets and human pyramids; but we also see how history is always made up of a sum of individuals.

The complexity of this approach is exemplarily demonstrated in the Reportrait II cycle, which concentrates entirely on manipulating individual physiognomies. Subtly overdrawn portrait heads are placed next to areas of austere black, full overdrawing alternates with areas hitherto left blank. Primarily we see two adaptations of the same book fragment juxtaposed, as if we were dealing with the germ of a film. The consistently small-format sheets are presented in antique frames of different sizes, and arranged in an approximately symmetrical pattern. An overarching form painted on the wall draws the composition together, its striking red contrasting with the black and white of drawing and frame. This red form dominates the installation from a distance and holds the eye at a first, which then moves with the playful rhythms of geometry as it turns to the alienated faces: the graphic elegance of the artist's pen has provided them with a kind of liveliness so remarkably present that seems almost eerie.
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