Adéla Matasová

Since the beginning of her career, Adéla Matasová has been interested in contrary spatial relationships, their changeability in time, given both by the generally valid regularities and coincidental moments, affecting natural processes as well as the overall evolution of the technical civilization. From today’s perspective there is continuity that can clearly be seen between the individual stages of her career, although her development has been complicated and has reflected an ambiguity of understanding of the universe. The immeasurable abundance of ways of perception offers a number of various solutions. Adéla Matasová has a clean-cut sense of+ order, which is, however, not set by pre-defined rules, but by natural development, given by continuous balancing of the power and energy ratio. At the same time there is still enough space for rich imagination, although its borders are clearly defined by the painter. It is typical of her way of expression that she continues values brought, discovered and proven by avant-garde artists of past generations. At the same time she naturally re-works them in context with her own time, which she is capable of interpreting in more and more individual and bold ways. She is not afraid to opt for approaches that have not been tried before, to risk that the path she has chosen may not always be the right one. For her experiments she has succeeded in finding the form of appropriate means of expression and sometimes even of complex technology.

Adéla Matasová likes to work in logical continuation, so that subsequent projects stem from past ones, so that the flow of her thoughts can freely develop. In the past she chose malleable materials, in which she could leave a trace of a gesture or a moment, so that in the final result time has in fact stopped. She captured a particular stage of a certain process, recorded in an action way the intrusion into matter, the shift in its layers, the folding, perforation, penetrating or growing through. At the same time her work reflects a humility of natural processes, of the monumentality and ingraspability of the universe, which we are a part of. Soon she started to understand space as a phenomenon, whether she worked in interiors or in natural environment. It is only natural that with time her work has gradually changed, but it has been a long-term process channeled by various influences both from the field of the development of technology and of conceptual thought. Her work is influenced by still more distinct blending of different areas of art (whether it is photography, film, video-art or computer technologies) and their still closer connection with natural sciences. In the 1980’s her monumentally felt objects dominated the given space, their relation to the environment was invariable. These were spatial constructions created by rhythmically sequenced elements. At first the artist used paper pulp and wood to create an opposition where the wood formed a geometrical net, and the paper pulp was used for fragile elements inspired by organic shapes. In this manner references to Art Informel and neo-constructivism were blended together. These projects were still more precisely prepared for a space chosen in advance.

Later the artist gave priority to installations, sensitively co-determining the character of the surroundings which have their memory and history. Along with the painter’s work new elements enter these surroundings - on the one hand there is harmony, but on the other hand these elements, in a way, interfere. On the rampart of Klenová Castle, Adéla Matasová created an interactive installation, the most important features of which were the position and movement of iron rods. Their motion was caused for example by the changing direction and intensity of the wind or by the touch of the audience. Sometimes the surroundings are reflected in mirror surfaces of objects, placed for instance in an open landscape or at the sea shore. It always depends on the changing time of the day, or intensity and direction of sunrays. The onlookers can also be reflected, and so they unwittingly become part of the environment.

Adéla Matasová is also the author of imaginary projects, in which she suggests, by means of brilliant drawing, situations that are born in her imagination, but which cannot be brought into existence at the given time or in the given situation. After all, this is typical of the work of many representatives of land-art, on the edge of which she walks. One of the important milestones of her career was the installation presented in the darkened space of the Old Town-Hall. The artist used mirror objects as a part of a luminary picture, the illumination of which helped create the atmosphere of the space. After these there were the luminary pictures the author exhibited at Mánes (2000) and later at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. Underneath elastic fabric stretched in the frames of these kinetic objects there were moving dots, creating a luminous design affected by ultra violet radiation.

The conception of the exhibition at Montanelli Gallery is in continuation of the installation at Špála Gallery (2001), in which objects with exact and technological effect were blended with imaginary landscapes created through manipulation with photographs. These imply the painter’s belief that nature must be preserved for the generations to come and that our treatment of nature must be as considerate as possible. Her work reflects her wish to comprehend natural laws and understand scientific discoveries, without which a great number of contemporary artists can hardly keep on working.

At the current exhibition the artist presents an object with little square mirror pieces, moving and reflecting the surrounding space. Their movement is controlled by a spike hidden beneath an elastic membrane, to which the mirrors are attached. This spike is directed by a computer programme based on a succession of random numbers, which can be altered in various ways. The mechanism slightly shifts and thus slants the mirrors, and so the surroundings are reflected in a distorted and ever-changing manner. The audience can also be mirrored, and can observe the changes in their fictitious appearance. A kind of illusory mosaic is thus moved and skewed. This mirror idea was born already at the Doteky (Touches) Biennale at Klenová. There Adéla Matasová made a beam with surfaces of polished steel traverse the building, thus creating a kind of interspace.

A computer screen, recording the movement of the mechanism, is a part of the mirror object. Two lines are thus infinitely mingled, so that they gradually fill up the screen. This whole process creates a distinct inner view, while the object as such reflects only the outer reality. One spike moves according to a computer program, the other one records the mechanical movement on the object. This electronic installation is interactive and reacts to the presence of audience. With each new movement a new composition is created. When the onlooker leaves, the whole screen becomes blank and the process starts anew.

Another distinct feature of the exhibition is an object based on the ecological idea of new utilization of technological elements. It is formed by electronic components attached to tablets with printed wiring. In the spaces between, thin wires grow through elastic membranes, just like grass between paving bricks. This object uses electronic motion and is activated by the approach of the onlooker. It represents a certain kind of recycling of technological material, in which there are sources of energy, just like in nature, where tissues are constantly being renewed.

The first stage of Adéla Matasová’s work was represented mainly by a process originating for instance in a haptic interference or the exposure to outside influences. Later the artist chose mechanical movement and eventually moved on to computer programming and photography. In recent years her installations have become more interactive and have involved a reaction to the presence of audience.

Jirí Machalický
Montanelli Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic, 2005