Petr Písařík (1968) is a member of the distinctive generation of artists who emerged onto the art scene in the 1990s, when they contributed to the re-evaluation and reshaping of values resulting from the changed paradigm of thinking. While still a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1987–1994, prof. Stanislav Kolíbal, Milan Knížák, Aleš Veselý), Písařík joined the Pondělí (Monday) art group. This era – in which artists played with civilizational symbols and cultural contexts, broke down the conventional divisions between the categories of painting / sculpture / design, and questioned the differentiation between high and low, aesthetics and anti-aesthetics – provided Písařík with fertile ground for experimentation. In his art, he experiments with materials, transforms, recycles, redesigns, and paraphrases fashion brands, combines luxury items and worthless objects, composes and layers his works using a wide variety of components, and often does not give them their final appearance until they are ready to be installed, taking into the account the exhibition space to create a unique work of art.

For this exhibition, Písařík has applied a broad spectrum of visual means to produce a site-specific installation in the Whitebox exhibition space dedicated to exploring the crossover effects between fine art and design. This time, however, he works the other way around – here, Písařík plays with and blurs the boundaries of design. The Latin title Tondeo Materiam (“I cut/slice/tear fabric/material”) is a literal description of the nature of his collage-based work, specifically his use of ornament on wallpaper and fabrics. Working on a computer, he fragmentizes his own art objects, creating multiple mirror images and arranging them in a particular rhythm to produce an optical moiré effect, which he then uses as a wallpaper pattern. For his installation, he also collaborated with Petra Gupta Valentová (Im.Printed), Hana Poislová (Fiží), and Magdaléna Rajnohová to produce blue fabric prints. Glass crystals from the Preciosa glassworks add a sense of colour and lustre. The resulting installation consists of a darkened room with a decadent touch recalling the room from Huysmans’ novel Against the Grain that balances on the boundary between luxury and the banal. It is an intimate space that provocatively opens up the possibility of seeing from contradictory perspectives.

Text by Adriana Primusová