In 2010 Alena Foustková excited interest at the Gallery of Art Critics by the way she reflected anew on the character of language and text in our genuine current communication; on how what we perceived two or three decades ago as new aesthetic information, be this in the form of collage interventions in texts, the use of typeface or various forms of books, more and more finds itself at variance with the “world around us”, how the world of advertising and superfluous pseudo-information overburdens us.
In the first part of her collection Blansko (April 2011), Foustková examined a phenomenon which from the point of view of the contemporary world she finds exemplarily ambivalent for our situation: bar codes. These allow her to make visible the overloaded world of consumerism. She selected a code from close to her home in Prague, a city perceived as a place for successful people, and began to introduce subtle conceptual doubts or (self)irony. Gradually, using various methods, she made visible the entirety of the ambivalence of the bar code: while beautiful, a purely geometrical structure, even minimalistic, its application is nevertheless highly ambivalent... In every example of the system of lines we discover an evidently aesthetic quality, and yet its utilitarian function is completely different, namely to expand still further the world of consumption into new spheres and territories, be this in geographical space or in new spheres of activity. Sometimes Foustková confronts bar codes with a painting, other times she creates them from several books on a small shelf, and they achieve their most monumental form in sui generis spatial sculpture created from rectangular cardboard boxes … Their new semantic and aesthetic qualities are uniquely revealed during their multi-surface layering, which is the theme of the monumental head-on exhibition from transparency in the first hall. In this way Alena Foustková has introduced the bar code as a new, current, but above all incredibly ambivalent phenomenon into our contemporary creative culture. In the second room further possibilities of handmade articulated books are explored. Foustková sometimes tears or crumples white paper into the form of a book, or connects the paper with a single line. The main exhibit is the installation at the front: in an almost meditative (or almost prison-like?) enclosure the artist cut out the relevant forms from all the different types of newspapers and magazines which surround us and glued together paper pouches from them (!!!), which hang on hooks, again in a kind of minimalist structure. However, here the interaction with the viewer is even more fundamental: we were all requested to be aware not only of the aesthetic quality, but the semantics of the selected sequence of messages: and then we blew up those which most annoyed or surprised us and popped them loudly… Soon after the private viewing these destroyed forms of the original structure began to accumulate. The artist thus brought into our art the ambivalent character of that information which we cannot ignore, and allowed us to play with the possibility of violently destroying a piece of information at least by means of the pars pro toto principle. Early on in the private viewing this popping sound became prevalent, so here too the artist had clearly touched on one of the sensitive phenomena of the world around us. In this way Alena Foustková gradually discovers new phenomena, phenomena which always had their own aesthetic and communicative quality but which are more and more becoming ambivalent or explicitly unpleasant to our ordinary healthy civic awareness.
Galerie Školská 28, Praha, projekt "Bílý nástěnka" - kinetický objekt
Illustrations, graphic design:
2002 K. Räber, Infusion gegen die Traurigkeit, Švýcarsko - grafická úprava a ilustrace obalky
2000 W. Saroyan, Bláznivost v rodině, Argo - grafická úprava knihy a ilustrace
1982 Jar. Seifert, Pocta Vladimíru Holanovi - originální tisky suché jehly, bibliofilské vydání