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15 Dec 2008

Martin Sedlak at Gallery Komart & Gallery Kressling

Martin Sedlák, Gate, 2008, aluminium and electroluminiscent foil, 200x10x2cm

Martin Sedlak


Opening of the exhibition:
December 18th, 2008 at 6 p.m
The exhibition will be open:
18.12.2008 - 16.02.2008
The gallery is open:
Tuesday - Saturday: 13.00 - 19.00


Zámočnicka 8
Bratislava, 81103

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French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty dealt with 'perceptive milieu' of the individual and his work Phenomenology of perception (1945) represents an important moment in defining the meaning as a context dependent on a viewer's visual journey. Merleau-Ponty points out the meaning as a function of a physical connection with the viewer's space horizon by which the meaning of an artwork becomes dependent on the exchange taking place during the connection arisen between the artwork and its viewer.

The work of Martin Sedlák depends on a human being, his perception, associations, experience. In the author's opinion, a personal relationship is created between his artwork and a viewer's vision, and this relationship gives rise to the intimacy of objects. In this case, Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology can be applied to the artwork itself which is more prominent than the inner world of the author. That alone does not guarantee the meaning of an artwork – the meaning of an artwork comes into existence only through the dialogue of the artwork and its viewer. At the same time, by initiating a direct communication of an artwork and its viewer during which a viewer is immersed in the world of an object, and when a personal relationship is created between the object and the viewer's vision of it, some parallels of Sedlák's outputs with the thinking of minimalist authors, which are usually mentioned in connection with his works, are contested.

In general, minimalism in Sedlák's work relates particularly to its formal part. However, even this statement can be disproved. If we would think of the works of Martin Sedlák as of sculpture medium (here, I mean the artworks at the current exhibition, i.e. hanging objects and objects in space that undoubtedly show signs of sculpture medium), then according to minimalism we should exclude sculpture seen in an additive way when an artwork is created one part after another, by adding and assembling its parts. At first sight, Sedlák's work seem to be compact, forming a specific object in the whole, but apparent dematerialisation of objects referring to illusive effects within real perception by a viewer is achieved surprisingly by addition. He sticks a light foil on objects and by this simple intervention he achieves the absolute harmony with a desired effect for the result – the object. The area where the work of Martin Sedlák has provable interfaces with minimalism is his revival of modus operandi of this thinking of art with regard to its form reduced to the basic necessities as well as with regard to the form being the fundamental opinion and stance for the perception of meaning.

The integral part of objects of Martin Sedlák is the medium of light. By using it in the creation of his artworks, he attains the effect when an object 'pulls' relations out from the artwork and makes them a function of space, light, and viewer's field of vision. There is the moment when everything in the artwork lies in the action of light. Sedlák also has his special way how to place light in his works with relation to space where they are installed. Luminescent tapes or light fibres illuminate surrounding surface areas, and objects often look immaterial, as if they would have reached the state independent of themselves.

But we have to keep in mind a certain manipulation of viewer's imagination achieved by eye-delusion, and also the consequent potential polemics related to an exhibited artwork. When targeting viewer's sensation, Sedlák's objects open new possibilities of view or perception that can bring some puzzlement, which is usually pleasant in this case. Pleasant uncertainty welcomes the play of imagination and supports the search of various ways how to grasp what is seen. The 'enchantment' is always directed at a sensual experience and tension between the act of seeing and the moment of realisation, often accompanied by some yes! effect.

Objects of Martin Sedlák which follow a clear artistic concept and which are focused on the perception of an artwork by its viewer radiate magnetizing atmosphere and posses a kind of transcendental aura. They change their immediate surroundings into the ethereal environment, and at the local scene of contemporary art they represent 'a tasting' of very delicate, intellectually endowed, and in its way generally valid art. Sedlák confidentially reacts to the period in which he creates his work, he has a natural inclination to experiments with materials and technologies that he uses in a clear and direct way, and at the same time, he naturally shifts borders of separate media to the sphere of mysteries, even fiction. And despite the fact that with time the term beautiful was moved to the category of critical terms in the context of visual art theory, Sedlák's objects are often truly beautiful thanks to their simplicity, sophistication, and effect evoked by their complexity.

Lucia Gavulova