Once, during a performance workshop led by Vladimír Havlík, I spent such a long time tracing the paths of falling leaves that my hand became a leaf that kept returning to the branch.
“When Gertrude Stein later tried to describe the principles of her work, she spoke of a continuous presence containing more and more of anything and everything and more and more beginnings and beginnings and beginnings.”*
Vladimír Havlík still often returns to his early works from the 1980s. If he does not return, it shows how important time and the reflection on its passing, manifested among other things by ripening, greying, and fading, is for him.
But it is also a celebration, a romantic gesture given to the present moment. Roses are the ideal partner for this. In the 1980s, he made objects out of roses, and he experimentally planted one in the pavement of Olomouc. He also works with other plants, possibly planting himself as a tree or working with his own growth. I was struck by his performance during the Uničov photo festival, during which he dyed his grey hair brown and thus became an almost identical copy of himself three decades younger. In birthday photos with a gifted bouget of flowers, he can look like a cut flower, responsibly adding solemnity to the celebratory moments of his own life anniversary.
Jan Krtička creates vocal architectures stretched between speakers. His multi-channel sound installation is this time triggered by the movement of visitors, who can use their bodies to spread a line from Gertrude’s poem Sacred Emily into an ephemeral temple of the present, in whose niches Vladimir's roses are quietly fragrant. “It's a bit of a reconstruction of hippie utopia and a bit of a deconstruction of rock modernism.”** The repetitive words sound different in Brno than repetitive words anywhere else. Especially when they refer to natural things.
*Jindřich Chlupecký, „O Gertrudě Steinové“, in: Gertruda Steinová, Vlastní životopis Alice B. Toklasové, Praha: Nakladatelství československých výtvarných umělců 1968, s. 216.
** Vladimír Havlík on fb chat.