Configurations presents a site-specific installation by Jan Stolín, an artist who, during the Velvet Revolution, was a student at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague where he initially studied figural sculpture under Josef Malejovský and later, after the regime change of 1989, under the progressive Kurt Gebauer. His work at the school soon led him towards a distinctive conceptual minimalism and the use of new media. Stolín works with architectural space, using technical components (such as industrial fans, plasterboard constructions, ventilation ducts, hardboard and plywood panels) as important formal elements. He discovers things that, for the viewer, usually remain unseen in the gallery, carefully incorporated behind walls or beneath exhibition display props. Stolín also involves movement in his installations and videos, for instance in the form of flowing air, sound (or, more precisely, intense noise) and light. In 2000, his 237 m³ earned him a place among the finalists for the Jindřich Chalupecký Award. His subsequent Monument to the Fighters and Fallen for the Country’s Freedom in Liberec was an adapted version of this work.

Besides being an artist, Stolín also teaches and since 2018 he has headed the Department of Art at the Faculty of Art and Architecture at Liberec Technical University. He has also been successful as a curator: He co-founded the Liberec gallery Die Aktualität des Schönen in 1997 and spent several years working as a curator for Galerie SET at the Liberec Regional Gallery. He is currently the artistic director of the Cube x Cube Gallery. He also applies his artistic talent to exhibition design.

This is not the first time Stolín’s work is being shown at GASK. In 2019, he created a visually impressive light performance using artificial mist and LED lights, presented as part of the event Turn on the Light for Pešánek! (Zdeněk Pešánek, 1896–1965, was born in Kutná Hora and became an important pioneer in the field of multimedia and kinetic art.)

Configurations is a typical example of Stolín’s work and way of thinking. The installation, created specifically for the gallery’s Experimental Space I in the Jesuit College’s former baths, consists of a set of block shapes of various sizes arranged on a raised platform. Together, they form a simple, minimalist spatial composition. The installation possesses autonomous artistic qualities but also deals with a specific theme: the arrangement and proportions of the individual elements are meant to evoke gallery display props, something that Stolín thematises in its own right while also conceiving his installation as a kind of exhibition of ‘absent sculptures’.

This absence of actual exhibits forms the basis for an interactive audio installation and a playful experiment that gallery visitors can engage in.

As visitors walk between the pedestals, they can explore the flowing of air like a kind of residual trace left by the absent works while imagining the presence of these works through audio analogies.

Configurations thus creates a process by which the installation’s basic components – visual and aural, sensory/emotional and metaphorical/conceptual – are continually triggered and placed in a contextual relationship to each other.

Veronika Marešová and Jan Stolín

Guided tours with the artist and curator:
9. 12. 2021 3 PM, 11. 12. 2021 3 PM, 29. 1. 2022 3 PM