image text special shop

'Factspawn' by Richard Nikl at stone projects, Prague

stalo – nestalo se
it happened – it didn’t happen

In the post-factual era in which inconvenient truths are countered with alternative facts, science suddenly finds itself in a crisis of justification. In the echo chambers and lie factories of the digital space, facts become fiction and vice versa.

In Richard Nikl’s “soft diagrams”, digitally rendered paintings from printed layers and painterly touch ups of which four are on display in his first presentation at Stone Projects, the artist gives a certain softness to seemingly hard facts. In the form of graphs and mind maps, it is an attempt to grasp the outlines of flapping ideas without shapes.

Referencing Parametricism, an architectural style based on algorithms and flowing forms, Nikl’s paintings are composed of curves, sticks, grids, holes, cells, roots, fibers, and bubbles. Along the brain like structures text is horizontally and vertically spread, connecting lose fragments and words like synapsis. This psychological layer is resolved by one or the other cartoonish Shrek moments: warts and pimples from monster stories and fairytale frogs sit on the surface and look at you.

The text snippets are quoted from Czech literature, opera, and theatre, among them the writers Ludvík Vaculík and Václav Havel, both civil rights activists against the communist regime of Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and 1970s. Nikl works with original language, mostly his mother tongue. Through the variety of typefaces (including the handwriting of the artist) the text turns into an image, all the more for an international audience.

As a counterpart, Nikl partly makes use of a visual language translatable to anyone:
Since the rise of emoticons (“smileys”) in the 1980s and 1990s, the design and range of pictorial representations have significantly changed over time: Whereas back then typographic approximations were reduced to a minimum by using characters like :-) or :-( in order to express humor, a mood, or simply to safe time, today’s emojis have become hyperrealistic symbols of various genres. Unnecessary details like shadow, reflection, depth, and perspective make up pictograms which are as complex as approachable. Their cuteness and playfulness give them a certain lightness and easiness and turns a fire or a cloud into an object that is truer than true. A similar effect applies to the colors of the paintings: following the color scheme of diagrams and charts, they consist of gray or nude tones combined with accent colors that make it a joyful experience – somewhere between scientific logic and childlike play.

🐸 Open the door, my princess dear,
Open the door to thy true love here!
And mind the words that thou and I said
By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.

It is the beginning of a process at the end of which there is not always a frog waiting.

nádech – výdech – opakování
inhale – exhale – repeat

— Miriam Bettin, 2022

13.4.22 — 30.5.22

stone projects

'Ruderal' by James Lewis at Nir Altman, Munich

'Klammern aus denen Blätter Spriessen', Group Show at Scherben, Berlin

Jonathan Santoro and Anoushé Shojae-Chaghorvand at Squat Soirée, Philadelphia

4 x 4 by ARCHIVARIUS x Acid Racer, 2022

'Glücksspiel, Le jeu de l’amour et du hasard' by Jacent at sonneundsolche, Dussel

'Häagen-Dazs' by Rasmus Røhling at C.C.C., Copenhagen

'ᘜᑌᗰ:ᔕᑕᗩᒪᗴ', Group Show Curated by Anna Frost at Jack Chiles, New York

'After petal fall spray' by Sol Hashemi at Veronica, Seattle

'Lunatique' by Ernst Yohji Jaeger at Crèvecœur, Paris

'Sour Well', Group Show at Nir Altman, Munich

'Force Majeure' by Aaron McLaughlin at Loods-6, Amsterdam

'Crowd Control', Group Project by Arcadia Missa x High Art, Arles

'Rain Calling' by Lito Kattou at Tranen, Gentofte

'And Darkness the Right Hand of Light', Group Show at MELK

'Don’t Say I Didn’t Say So', Group Project at Kunstverein Bielefeld, Bielefeld

'Memorial Universe!' by Ella Rose Flood at Jargon Projects, Chicago

'Полынь' by Zukhra Salakhova at Plague Space, Krasnodar

'Hamra' by Monia Ben Hamouda at Ariel – Feminisms in the Aesthetics, Copenhagen

Next Page