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Jiri Thyn, Consciousness as a Fundamental Attribute, I, II
28|8| – 11|10| 2014



Jiří Thýn (1977) studied at the Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture in Prague (1999-2005) with an internship at the Academy of Fine Arts in the studio of Vladimir Skrepl (2003) and at TAIK Helsinki (2003). His work crosses the borderlines of photography, video, installation and interventions in public spaces. After many years of gradually refining his own “conceptual lyricism”, Thýn has recently addressed the questions of pictorial consciousness (or unconsciousness) and of the capturing of reality on the background of the modernist canon.


Thýn acts here partly as a destroyer and partly as a stylist, working with the arsenal of contemporary visuality (often with the visuality of the contemporary art world itself) in a way that arises from his own subconscious. The lure of the photographs which is an essential component of many of Thýn’s works, is questioned and disrupted in the automatic gestures of the cutting knife. This unconscious automatism, contrasting to Thýn’s usual technical brilliance, re-raises questions about the nature of what he works with and fights against. That first mythical cut, which dismantled the old image apart into the sum of elements, was carried out about a century ago and radically changed our reading of images. Thýn is returning to that moment, in a specific position that combines analysis with dreamy nostalgia.


“I do a lot of things which are either very elaborately thought out or, on the contrary, based on irrational automatism, just helping something along which is not completely worked out but actually has the right atmosphere or emotion,” says the artist. That brings us to the untranslate-ability, which does not have the ambition to communicate, but to confront, to astonish and to disharmonize. Modernity is here shown as the urge to abstract social and political facts, and the abstraction works here as a pictorial Esperanto. Thýn’s studies of pictorial composition are actually recycling sculptures that are trying to break away from the flat surface to return back to it soon with a painful exhalation. Only the shape of the slash remains in the space, as a desperately perfect exclamation mark, as an inverse statue of the knife or rather of its very function that restructures our vision and consciousness. The very question of the existence of abstract language is here finally turned around, we do not ask post-historically how differently can abstraction be used and quoted, but rather why and under what conditions can abstract language still exist. Can abstraction be abstracted?


Pavel Vančát