Monogramista T.D - Idegen (Works from Brno residence)
The exhibition at Krokus Gallery brings together a selection of works created in the artist’s new home, thus the motifs of moving and change (of viewpoint) are, as it were, built into their very DNA.
In 2013 the artist Monogramista T.D moved from Bratislava, where he had spent over forty years of his life, to Brno. He became a migrant. The move from one country to another, albeit proximate in distance and culture, is always a milestone. The word “idegen” that gives the present exhibition its title, opens up several layers of meaning: it points to terms such as ‘idea,’ ‘ego,’ ‘gene’… Its original meaning in Hungarian refers to ‘a foreigner, someone alien, unknown, a person from nowhere, a citizen of another country, of a different origin…’
In Brno, Monogramista T.D. began collecting amateur landscape paintings in the city’s bazaars and flea markets, up to the value of 400 CZK, this being the daily sum paid to migrants waiting for asylum in Czech refugee facilities. He was interested in the ways in which the paintings’ anonymous authors broke elementary technological procedures when creating their works. Most used oil paints on canvas or other base material but without priming and often without isolation. Monogramista T.D added a circle of “migrating” sun into each of the acquired paintings. He carefully cleaned, treated, filled and smoothed the place before applying a coat of white lead, the building block of historical oil painting, the durability of which has stood the test of time. Thus, in the words of Monogramista T.D, “there remains hope that in the future, when all of the untreated parts of the paintings will have been claimed by time, only the white treated spots will remain in their place.” The same goes for adapting to new environments: it requires preparation and is aided by knowledge and experience.
Apart from the large-scale installation ‘MIGRANT’, the exhibition includes the painting series ‘YOU ARE HERE’, in which the artist deploys a red circle, referring to the system of coordinates meant to assist one in finding one’s bearings quickly in unknown locations. The O.F.U., another cycle on display, consists of a collection of preserved advertising leaflets found in the artist’s post box. The works are marked by a genuine awe felt vis-a-vis our consumer reality, which amidst our everyday routines has come to appear as natural and given and which we often take to be beyond questioning. We no longer find it astonishing. In his collages and video projections, Monogramista T.D addresses this fact in a playful and aphoristic way, familiar from his earlier works as well as from the works of the conceptual artists of his generation. As the series’ title suggests, it brings an “extraterrestrial” viewpoint to bear on the items of everyday consumption.
Text by Gabriela Kisová
curated by: Gabriela Kisová
architecture of the exhibition and production: František Demeter