Infraordinary

Text: Lenore Jurkyová // Art: Michaela Vrbková

Published: 19 November 2019

Any place has a specific memory hidden in specific details: placing of doors, windows and traverses or another layer of paint on the wall tell a lot about the inhabitants of such space and its usage. Thanks to the little details we can thus imagine for example trajectories of the locals´ movements, their habits, their aesthetical and practical preferences. God is in the detail. And we discover details by stopping and focusing our attention on the overlooked.

In Michaela Vrbková´s work we can find a great emphasis on the environment she sets her pieces in as well as on the architecture itself. The author is faithful to the medium of drawing  but she often finds new ways to break from the flat territory of paper. In her project Outside the White Cube (2017) she customized the space of a loft gallery: she created a classic exhibition space of a „white cube“ only to disrupt it by exhibiting her works outside instead of inside. Even more radical was her instalation Site Specific Floor Design (2014), where she used the generous space of the Aula gallery for a large format drawing by a clear adhesive tape right on the gallery floor.

In her project Infraordinary, Michaela Vrbková continues to challenge the convention of a planar presentation of drawings. She retrospectively observes the current state as well as the past of the building U divokého muže, the gallery space of the same name and the PIRSC Porcelain manufacture. Locals see this building primarily as a former Mikulov vocational school. Its original baroque elements, however, tell a story about times when the object belonged to the well known Dittrichstein family and served as a coaching inn. Nowadays, all the layers of its past blend and at times create an unwanted yet remarkable architectonic collage. Michaela captures these almost postmodern moments  in her drawings she later installs back into the same space, she uses them both as a theme and a part of the project. By using architectonic details, she deciphers the place´s history. It is not exacly revisionism, it is rather a specific minimalist form of antropologic study where we focus on quite ordinary things that, as we discover after taking a closer look, bear a broader meaning.

As an alternative motive of her research she chooses restoration probes that she figuratively transfers onto the opposite wall. She connects the original probes with their transfered opposites using threads evoking a drawing line. This spatial drawing, the emerging object, creates a specific monument for this space. The installation also carries several features of the author´s handwriting: drawing line is freed from the plane, it denies traditional linear and vertical structures. She accents rhytmical layering of individual lines by using bright colour. She examines space and time, the line becomes a lead as well as an indicator. Thanks to the resulting intervention we perceive the space we find ourselves in from a different, involved position. You can let it lead you or you can start searching and develop your own version of the story.

If you live or are going to the Czech Republic anytime soon, we definitely recommend checking out the exhibition at Galerii U divokého muže v Mikulově. You can also check out more of Michaela Vrbkovás work here