In 2006 for the exhibition Will You Ever Return? - at gallery Entrance -, Jan Nalevka exhibited series of 40 x 30 cm paper sheets entirely filled with lines drawn with blue ballpoint pen. The hundreds of lines, drawn systematically next to each other created what we could call « maxi-drawings »: drawings made of the maximum number of lines, maximum ink needed to cover the total surface of paper. The drawings didn’t display anything. The multiple interventions on paper resulted in a rather a form of abstraction, a monochromatic surface.
For his new exhibition at Karlín Studios, Jan Nálevka processed the same technique to realize one single drawing of an extremely enlarged dash (-). The shape of the drawing/text is here not only defined by the format of paper - the large but still standard 150 cm wide paper roll - but also by the font used for the dash (Times Bold), which determines the length of the work (853 cm ). The concept of maxi-drawing is maximized through the exaggeration of proportions.
A dash creates a moment of suspense, an almost imperceptible silence and waiting in a sentence, although two years of work were needed for the drawing to be made. Two years of systematical and repetitive work, which the artist realized with the most common office supply, a blue ballpoint pen.
But if the laborious process contrasts with the briefness of the dash symbol, the materiality of this work almost disappears in an timeless abstraction. When the lines drown in their repetition, the work also loses its meaning. The artist, filling up the empty sheet of paper, replaces it by what seems another - blue - emptiness, a symbol of silence, an invisible and thus undeniable (useless?) amount of work. The final result, exhibited in a monumental pedestal installation, changes this - office / home - work into its sarcastic celebration, a monument of counter-productivity.
The empty space of the gallery offers the dash a temporal interruption. Once the dash was written, the sentence should go on. As well as will or will not do this space, after Nálevka’s exhibition.
Photographs: Jan Nálevka, 853 x 150 cm, 15. 2. 2014 – 15. 5. 2016