action panting

02 Metheo-body painting - 1991,

Meteobody Painting,
Duha dye, Nivea, Šumák sherbet powder

Ever since I became acquainted with the term “action painting” I have been fascinated by the ideas which I have automatically associated with this concept. In my view, however, the “action painting” is not a product of an event, happening or performance. 1/ I do not care about painting as a product of some machinery, robot or computer. In my thought it is a term that describes a condition where the painting itself ceases to be the object of activity of an external entity and becomes the subject itself in the sense of an entity independent of the artist’s will. My aim is to create a sort of a self-regulating painting entity. It is obvious that the outlined ideas can be difficult to be implemented in practice, and therefore the solution may acquire absurd or utopian forms. For example, how a painting can be an action painting if we do not want to abuse any living matter or organism? 2/

01 Metheo-body - 1991, barva Duha, Nivea, šumák.

So I present several solutions. I have also selected a few experiments of an earlier date.

One of the ways how to achieve activity of painting is to work with its chemical composition. 3/ In my project “Metheo-body Painting” of 1991 I used my own body as a base for painting. The trigger of the process of painting was the weather. I sat crouched in a pit, my body covered with a chemical mixture that reacted to moisture by changing its color. I inserted a pin into my anus with a rope from flying a kite that floated in the wind over the pit. As I struggled to keep the pin inside, clenching muscles and sweating, my body gradually changed its color.

In “Flying Medium” of 1991 I worked with silver dichromate, which is used in photography as a light-sensitive substance. I had it injected into Minimax fire extinguishers which I fixed to a special tripod for optimal spraying. I attached a projection device on the extinguishers in such a way so that a film could be projected into a cone created by ejected dichromate. Then I projected a black-and-white record of the first attempt to fly the Wright brothers’ airplane from 1903. The resulting process of projecting of the film into the nebula looked pretty “ghostly”.

I used this device in my attempt to create a painting. During the night I projected the film into a cloud of dichromate in my father’s paint shop. After emptying the Minimaxes, in the dark I sprayed the deposit on the floor by a developer and let it react for an hour. At daylight I found that the resulting image was not very satisfactory. It was like a dirty crust with relatively pronounced contours of a structure.

Another type of experiment was based on the assumption that the color would react to intensive electricity. That is why I made several not very successful attempts to charge the colored pigment with electricity. Since I could not achieve a really high voltage in my amateur operation, I decided in my action “High Voltage” of 1990 for a rather risky attempt to apply color directly to the high-voltage cables. I climbed the mast up to the cables and in short bursts I sprayed the colorful liquid from my hand-made syringe. Then I watched how the pigment dissolved in white hoarfrost which covered frozen cables.

03 Létající médium - 1991, 2x minimax, projektor, variabilní roz.

Flying Medium, 1991
variable dimensions
silver dichromate, developer

04 Létající médium - 1991 variab. rozměry, dvojchroman stříbrný vývojka.

Flying Medium, 1991
variable dimensions
projector 2x minimax

05 Vysoké napětí - 1990, akryl na ledu a oceli

High Voltage, 19
acrylic on ice and steel

Another possibility is movement of the pigment caused by the properties of certain materials to absorb a liquid, or the use of surface tension of the liquid. An example might be my work “The In-Visible” of 1990. I buried a pouch with an aggressive dye into foundations of a building, which due to its permeability slowly released pigment into its surroundings. It resulted in a scary stain which at the time spread over the sidewalk and into the basement of an adjacent building. As the painting gradually bled, the intensity of the color gradually faded until the stain completely disappeared.

06 Ne- viditelný - 1990, červený pigment, variabl. roz.

The In-Visible, 1990
variable dimensions
red pigment

Yet another way how to conceive an action painting is my work “Three Seconds from Spiderman 3” of 2008. 4/ I am excited by the idea of the action hero Spiderman as an action painter who splashes pigment from his body and flies on it through New York ten years after Harold Rosenberg coined the term “action painting”. I imagine how the Spiderman, the fourth representative of the second generation of drip and body-art painters, irritates the New York avant-garde elite by his aerial gymnastics. However, more significant for me is that a spider web may be the right material which meets the criteria of a real action painting.

09 Akčnější det. - 2010, silikon na plátně a perspexu.

The In-Visible, 1990
variable dimensions
red pigment

07 3 vteřiny ze Spidermana 3

Three Seconds from Spiderman 3, 2008

10 Akčnější - 2012, 3x160x110 cm, silikon na plátně a perspexu.
Even More Action, 2012
3×160×110 cm silicon on canvas and perspex

11 Akční konstruktivismus - 2012, 61x81x10 cm, silikon na plátně a perspexu.

From my test of Spiderman’s web in the glass it was not too far to a showcase where the activity of the color could be even more apparent. In my first painting of this type of 2009 I made it possible for Spiderman’s web to move within a designated area in front of the painting. A year later I employed Pollock’s color scheme to the web and also tried to imitate his way of making the area of the painting rhythmic. But unlike Pollock, in my experiment the painting changes depending on the movement of the viewer. 5/

16 Thriller painting det. chyt (2)

17 Thriller painting det. chyt

Thriller Painting – detail, 2013
450×560 cm polyester, metal

15 Thriller painting - 2013, 450x560 cm, polyester, kov.

Thriller Painting, 2013
450×560 cm polyester, metal

After a few more experiments of this type, a significant break came in my mural “Thriller Painting”, in which the softness and fragility of colors became an illusion because it was cast in a way of sculpture into a hard, homogeneous mass in order to be able to carry a large load after being mounted on the wall. In this way, the painting became a climbing wall stimulating to action.

18 MInimax 2 + Triller painting - 2012

_R5A1900 web

Minimax 2, 2012
204×147×47 cm mixed media

Thriller Painting, 201
450×560 cm polyester, metal

1/ I mean the form of action painting represented, for example, by the Japanese Gutai group, Ives Klein and today by Anastasia Ax and many other action artists; I believe that it has been covered in sufficient detail and is quite common.

2/ This is the case of Leon Ferrari’s earthworms, which he threw in the style of Pollock’s drip painting on a horizontally placed canvas. Subsequently the earthworms turned and twisted, personalizing the desired event, and represented a painting material, but not a real painting.

3/ Here I would like to mention the experiments of Gustav Metzger with liquid crystals sensitive to temperature.

4/ The author of Spider-Man is Stan Lee; his character appeared in the comic book anthology “Amazing Fantasy”.

5/ For this purpose I used some op-art concretistic illusions and games (such as Kratina’s mobile reliefs). The resulting spatial painting could evoke a kinetic illusion caused by the movement of a viewer.

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