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Roman Liška’s new body of work is driven by rhythm and composition. We experience this installation not as a series of individual elements, but as a carefully executed whole that allows a complex conversation to emerge about Liška’s central interest, the boundaries of expanded painting. Certainly each panel has an individual character. However collectively they constitute a grammar of stripes: diagonal, horizontal and vertical. There are rules at work here, but they do not stifle moments of spontaneity. Grids are infiltrated by colour and pattern: neon yellow abruptly interrupting toned down hues of ultramarine and black.

The catchphrases of `networked´ and `transitive painting´ so poignantly captured by David Joselit in his essay `Painting Beside Itself´ come to mind here: The artist presents his audience with a dense network of visual cues, references and potential connections impossible to make sense of entirely.


"The problem with the term “reification” is that it connotes the permanent arrest of an object’s circulation within a network: it is halted, paid for, put on a wall, or sent to storage, therefore permanently crystallizing a particular social relation. Transitive painting, on the other hand, invents forms and structures whose purpose is to demonstrate that once an object enters a network, it can never be fully stilled, but only subjected to different material states and speeds of circulation ranging from the geologically slow (cold storage) to the infinitely fast. [...] Transitivity is a form of translation: when it enters into networks, the body of painting is submitted to infinite dislocations, fragmentations, and degradations." *


The metal eyelets function as a compositional tactic, introducing playfulness and variation into the otherwise rigid system of geometrical arrangements, as well as acting like peepholes into and under the works’ skin. The violent gesture of puncturing the membrane indicates an acknowledgement of the paintings’ object-hood, not merely considered a surface in an abstracted two-dimensional sense, but rather treated as a body that exists in space and that should be experienced as such. The effort to deconstruct the conception of painting as paint on canvas over a stretcher, and to reconfigure it in the manifold ways evident in this body of work, results in a disruption of familiar modes of viewing. By re-defining and expanding the parameters for what can be thought of as painting, Liška’s works contribute to an ongoing investigation of the genre.


*`Painting Beside Itself´ - Joselit, David in October (2009)

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