Pavel Korbička



Space, Motion, Light
Pavel Korbička ranks among artists who work with maximum concentration. He exploits each creative impulse down to the minutest detail, is able to bring his message across with the use of the most economical devices, his idiom conveying an experience of great intensity. He works with space, light, and color, employing various combinations of new and classical technologies. He manages to conjure a state of suspense between objects and installations on the other. There, it is of little relevance whether he chooses to display them indoors or in the open air.
While his sculptures may superficially appear static, they actually attest to a great deal of importance assigned by the artist to the element of motion. Motion, that is, which does not involve the objects themselves but rather concerns the viewers circling or entering them. With every new step, correlations between lights and colors hues transform. The artist’s message thus acquires new dynamism, as the viewers perceive the composition as a whole in a different and sometimes quite unexpected way with each change of perspective.

His early output dating from the early 1990s linked up in a creative manner with the legacy of the Minimal Art movement. Korbička’s studio then witnessed the production of soberly conceived, flawlessly composed objects in diverse materials: steel sheets and profiles, as well as neon tubes. The last of which was subsequently to become his signature medium. The artist shaped and re-shaped letter types and formats, toyed with interpenetrating surfaces. In using neons, he also aimed at softening down the hard-edged impact of geometric forms.

Interpretation of Spaces
He has been perennially concerned with the environment in which he creates his installations. He interprets it by means of his own physical interventions, by polycarbonate panels, and by neon light lines. The dimensions of installations, their shapes and arrangements derive naturally from the proportions of a given space. Thereby, the artist generates a peculiar environment, one open to everyone to perceive it in a new way, at the same time spending a while as a participant in the project.
In his kinetic light installations, Korbička sometimes reacts to historical architecture. His installations emphasize the parameters of space and at the same time come to serve as guidelines for orientation. He sets up dialogue between meandering panels opens up a passageway for spectators, The feeling of suspense still mounts under the impact of vibrant colors emitted by neon lights, installed in different places at various angles, in correspondence with the surrounding space. As the viewer moves along, the intensity of light changes in ways determined by the transparent panels’ structure. “Provided often unexpected light-and-space reflexes and refractions in combination with the linear fuzziness of surrounding space, one can even experience states of disorientation and feel somewhat unsettled.”

Alternative Approaches
Concept-wise, the Nod Gallery installation has its antecedent in an object entitled In (2010), created for Die Aktualität des Schönen Gallery in Liberec, which was specific in that it could be entered from the interior of a department store. It was lodged within an enclosed space and so could actually only be observed from the inside. As the viewer approached the centre of what was a spiral-shaped structure containing neon tubes arranged at equal distances from each other at the seams of transparent reflex panels, the light intensified and its effect multiplied.
The current project likewise comes as a follow up to a similarly conceived installation from Prague Airport, entitled Blue Way (2008), where, in contrast to what we see here, the central elements was a spiral whose interior was impenetrable from the outside: the spectator could only speculate about its inner structure but could not enter it. The installation then dominated the space of the large departures and arrivals hall of Prague’s Václav Havel Airport.
Of Considerable interest is the contrast established between the sculptor’s technology-inspired minimalist works, and nature. He chose a park below Brno’s Špilberk Castle for an installation in its treetops of a several-metre long luminous straight neon line which turned into a temporary night-time dominant of this suggestive environment (2008). Equally impressive were the artist’s light objects located in another public space, namely, a Brno subterranean passageway used daily by thousands of commuters.

Confrontation of History and Present Time
Korbička’s objects are particularly convincing in symbiosis with architecture, whether historical or modern, secular or sacred. His works relies to a considerable degree on the choice of location. The element of light is sometimes confined within the interior of objects, while in other cases it projects outwards. The objects infused with bright light conjure up an effect that may be surprisingly powerful. At the same time, the viewer invariably finds it hard to guess in advance the ultimate phase of the development of relations between the various compositional elements.
Typically for Korbička’s style, a minute shift or turn can prove to be a sufficient impulse for the complete reversal of interaction between variously colored neons. This in its turn likewise results in constant changes in the rhythm of the composition as a whole as regards its impact on the spectator. His installations can thus alternatively engender impressions of utter delicacy, or contrariwise, of forcefulness occasionally even bordering on aggression. Beyond that, however, they do leave ample room for an autonomous message to the environment in which they are set and whose integral part they temporarily become.
Pavel Korbička prepared for Nod Gallery’s experimental space a project he named Event of Space (2016), based on several drawing studies from which he gradually picked the most convincing solutions. In the process, he aimed at finding a rhythm ideally turned to the character of this raw environment which has been so far tackled in various, often conflicting ways by more that a few other highly individual artists.
Korbička does not engage in storytelling; on the contrary, his output quite deliberately and consistently avoids it, for the sake of offering visual and spiritual experience. He is primarily interested in work with fundamental physical processes, ones that are hardly compatible with far more elaborate (and abundantly applied) present-day technologies. At the same time, he pursues a philosophy of his own, enabling him to capture complex relations and situations with the use of outwardly simple devices.

Jiří Machalický