Petra Dolezova – Untitled (2011)
Have you ever come awake too soon from a beautiful dream? I’m talking one where you immediately roll over, screw your eyes shut and focus every bit of energy on descending bacl into it again?
If you can recover it, it’s never quite as vivid as it was the first time around. like a dream seen through gauze, in a mirror.
It’s a feeling not unlike the thread that runs through Slovakian-born, Dutch educated Petra Dolezova’s stunning work.
I’d very much like to share some of my impressions but her work truly deserves at least initial contemplation. So please, do the internet equivalent of closing the text around your finger and go through her entire Flickr photostream. Treat each image the way you would a savory mouthful of food, chew slowly, twenty times, before swallow. (I’ll still be here when you get back.
Oh and may I suggest a sonic pairing, this 1997 vintage Labradford enhances the oneiric grace notes rather well.
I keep fighting a strong urge to term Dolezova’s work ‘minimalist’; except as much as I’ve studied both art history and critical theory, my understanding of minimalism is a bit like those words that are their own opposites.
On the one hand–and I think this constitutes more of the general denotation: minimalism suggests a diminution of ornaments (necessarily entails additional, implicit emphasis of form). One declare Philip Glass and architecture with clean lines to be ‘minimal’.
On the other hand, there’s a tendency to think of minimalism as something additive. I add this line or that curve to negative space–the relationship of the line or curve to such space is minimal. However, if you invert it and consider empty space as the locus of meaning, the what appears maximal is actual razor sharp in its subtly and nuance. (Silence is a sound; melody is sometimes what is excluded.)
And that’s glossing over questions of conceptualization, concerns over execution.
I think my instinct to label them minimalist has to do with the way the presence of each image all but extends to the viewer the key to its own undoing. As if the image is less witnessing document and more kataphasis/apophasis perpetual motion machine.
As if there is no author [praxis] in which theory and practice are fused; as if there is no sayer to impose two words when one will do–all that is unnecessary or extraneous has been removed; there is only the image.
P.S. PH Magazine did an interview with Dolezova a few years back. The questions are underwhelming but it’s difficult not to admire her straightforward and meticulous responses.