illusion of space   nitra gallery, nitra

20.11.2008 - 15.2.2009


The curator: Barbora Ger˛ovį

The exhibition Illusion of Space / Attempt at a New Reading is the second sequel to the exhibition project titled Illusion in the Fine Arts of the 2nd Half of the 20th Century. The aim of the exhibition, which presents works of Slovak but also foreign authors and authoresses, is to map that part of the phenomenon of illusion, which is connected to a theme of depiction of space. However, it was not our ambition to present works that work on the level of basic illusion of space and deal with depth of space on a two-dimensional surface of a painting as it is documented by well-known works from the history of arts. The attempt was to focus, above all, on those forms of depiction of space that overstep borders of primary illusion and deal with other aspects of this problem. Because of this, paintings are represented at the exhibition only partially and, above all, in such a form that combines the classic medium of painters with technical drawings and depictions (ground plans and maps). Also works that work with imaginary space were included into the exhibition. Solutions that the contemporary artists offer are marked with various strategies. Either the artists deconstruct, destroy and split the unity of a picture, or the depicted space, or they create a virtual space by means of the way they install their paintings, or they do not provide the viewer with any point of reference that would enable him or her to create a certain idea about the depth of the space.

An important place at the exhibition was given to other media than painting itself. Apart from a film, which we could classify into the category of the new media, these are mainly three-dimensional works that shift the problem of illusion of space further on, because from the nature of the media themselves it follows that they work with a real space. Apart from objects, these are mainly various forms of installations (painting, light, interactive), important part of which becomes the viewer and his or her activity. It is this segment of the exhibition that illustrates the fundamental shift, which took place in the context of reflections on the phenomenon of space in art in the second half of the 20th century, when not only tendencies to blur the lines between art and life appeared (Fluxus), but also those in which an actual space (land art) became a base for a work. In the context of this exhibition, however, the most significant spaces are constructed by the artists for gallery spaces or public open spaces, into which the viewer could really enter (above all, Richard Serra’s projects). Despite the fact that this change of the fictive for the real was important, this type of work is presented at the exhibition only in the case if the author works with the space further on and connects it, for example, with time, history, the past and memory.

The exhibition consists of five thematic blocks – Imaginary Painting Spaces, Technical Pictures – Maps and Ground Plans, Space within Space, Space – Symbols of Time, Paradoxes of Space, which always show a different aspect of the solution how to handle the illusion of space in contemporary art.

Barbora Ger˛ovį