Jan Haubelt: BLIND HOLE / Object and his pictorial representation

18/07/2012 - 12/08/2012

Opening: 18/07/2012

Curator: Edith Jeřábková

Karlin Studios, Prvního pluku 2, Praha 8



I can’t help myself to come already at the very beginning back to this early piece of Jan Haubelt, to which for me actually all the following works are related. This work is called Toby’s vision and in simplified interpretation may be summed up under the words trophy vs. animal, representation vs. reality. This Toby’s autistic diagnosis, which makes visible the full problematics of seeing and knowing, the problematics of representation, had interested Jan Haubelt at that time maybe more intuitively then intelectualy. But why is the problem of representation so important for contemporary thinking, that an author is devoting to it all his attention? If we step away from an essential fact, that representation is in the essence of all arts, artistic transcription, translation or construction, we may see, that representation is also a key strategy of contemporary society, or more precisely a key strategy of a free market, which has then embedded representation as a key strategy also to politics as an authority of public affairs. Politics therefore consist rather then of a real managment of society and state of a chain sequence of representations. For this reason might be interesting for us to observe the fundaments and schemes of the modes of seeing, imagining and representing to understand them in their certain development and inter-relations so that we would be able to interpret their alegorical layer.

Blind hole - a hole which doesn’t go through - is not a variation on spectacular Tim Burton’s Sleepy hollow, but on a blind spot on our eye, which doesn’t see, but we don’t see it, as our imagination erase it. Blind spot, objectgaze of Jacques Lacan, is also a spot in the painting, which cause that we feel like the painting observes us, the spot that interrupts the distant vision and make us be a part of this representation. An example of this might be a set of Haubelt’s views on a ground plan of still life with tulips: our reflection and the reflection of our presence - place, in which we find ourselves - in the mirror layer - makes us be a part of the picture itself. Chosen technological procedure and material is not only a solution of effect. It has its logical reasons and historical context. Scraped out reflexive background of the scene is the abolition of a representation of this place and this situation - it is now a transparent background which completely stopped to reflect reality. On the contrary this reality is reflected by leftover mirror layer delimited in the shape of the background plan of the object - bunch of tulips - in which we see also the reflection of “our” contemporary material world and our position in it.

Haubelt’s experiments with optics and views absorbs all the experiments and research of his predecessors. It is not difficult to associate the Duchamp’s Glass and its presumption of fourth dimension being derived from the three-dimensionality being its shade. Haubelt changes the positions of observing objects, however doesn’t synthetise them in one final view as Cubists, but leave them apart following each other in a spatial enfilade being individual possibilities in their homogeneity but also individuality. It is this diversity and in the same time uniformity which is decisive for the implicated way of cognition. This cognition involves but also questions both positivist methods in collecting different dismantled fragments (perspective positions, truths) and the complex truth, around which our sight is turning, but to which center, axis, we are not able to get. This center is marked with a black circle, which in a prosaic level is an point of orientation, the ground plan of the vase.

If we had came closer to the truth, the next exhibited work is enraptured with the history of illusion and trick. Late baroque is a period of quickly spreading ideology and power. This has been also projected to wavy facades, never ending perspectives of domes and flowing drapes of plastics. The human view on this parade was determinated, a man should stand on one fixed point and only from this towards him determinated position the world would appear in its ideal proportions. Unauthorised step backwards would mean a deformation of this representation. Illussion had stopped to be a playful trompe l’oeil, a sight has became the tool of control.

Jan Haubelt today looks again on the Angel of Blissful Death by Matyas Braun. The view on his bust is from four non-ideal positions. From those view he modelates four different sculptures, which all of them are not reaching even the third dimension. Those sculptures are the evidence of abandonment of the ideal Cartesian position even for the price of deformation of the view and falsification of the one point linear perspective, however for our senses seemingly correct. We have lost the complex view and the optics of one stabile point, from which the perspective of future could seem fulfilled.

The society had put away one illusion, which itself was part of and gain many new illusions to be looked at from distance. This element of distance Jan Haubelt inserts in front of collage, which evocates Mondrian’s compositions. Those collages are the results of uncompromising observance of the authors chosen rules regarding refraction of surfaces and elementary five colours. This stencil subsequently provides the illusion of third dimension, and so the illusion of something more. On the contrary it completely covers the possibility to reveal the rules of those collages and deforms their construction and origin. We are being dictated determinately unique view through blinding hole, while being calmed down by its plasticity. Those apriori rules, which are for all those collages elementary, however might a curious visitor understand from observation of all the relations within the total set of works.

This idea of an observer being inserted between subject and object is the key element in reading the works of Jan Haubelt. The visitor should therefore takes its aim responsibly and fulfill it in the biggest extend he can. That is to say however not only for the situation of facing the works of Jan Haubelt.