Pavel Korbička


GERMINATIONS, BODY AND SPACE, Patrick Karez, Paris, 1995

Czech artist Pavel Korbička makes large-format wall installation, working with white wooden plates, simple drawings (that make you rather thinks of shadings) and coloured neons.
Pavel Korbička is one of the few artists who took direct inspiration from the magic of Delphi and its omnipresent treasures of antiquity in order to integrate this confrontation with the “ancient world” in his works.
On four white, large-format wooden plates he drew - or rather, dotted with his index finger - the cross-section of fours Doric column drums with charcoal dust. Korbička attaches great importance to this “original” contact between the human body and paint (as we also find it in prehistoric cave paintings) because we so often use our (index) fingers to establish the first “sensual” contact with objects.
In all of Korbička’s works, the relationship between the human body and art - and not least architecture - plays an important role. The period of time he thus describes extends from prehistory - where man already created art in the form of coloured hand imprints on rock walls without any technical aids - to the architectural philosophy of antiquity - where any architecture was designed to suit human proportions - to the present, in the form of the bright neons illuminating and highlighting the breaks of his architectural fragments.
Korbička says that neon light can stand for the future, but at the same time for the untiring search of man, his understanding, his “illuminating” of the unrecognised.
There is a strict geometry at the basis of his works; what is essential for Korbička is the relation between human proportions and architectural dimensions, the one derived from the other.
In his eyes, the gigantic, un-human living projects (especially the “socialist” suburbs of the former Eastern bloc, like Prague) constiture an unscrupulous abuse of this geometry and a non-respect for the human measure and human needs …
The second of the four parts of his work “Body and Space - Delphi II / Order” shows a longitudinal cross-section of an intact Doric column, sizes to human proportions. The finger prints in charcoal dust, concentrated only at the periphery, create an interesting contrasts between hard, concrete outer form and inner, human form, “radiating” from the centre. The artist says that just a few more finger prints would make the drawing “fade”.
The third part of his “Body and Space - Delphi III / Transformation” shows the cross-section of a badly weathered Doric column drum. It is a fragment from the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, carrying the archaeological registration number T. 752. In Korbička’s works we see here a very “fragile” relationship between the inner and the outer. Only a few black imprints more, and the drawing would “melt away” …
In parts #1 and #4 of his „Body and Space“, the artist adds a coloured neon to his drawings. The half fragments of a Doric column cross-section in part #4 („Body and Space - Delphi IV / Blow out“) displays a tense contrast between the amorphous break and the geometry of the remaining intact form.
The blue neon, highlighting the amorphous break, evokes associations of a cloud, transforms the stone fragments, like magic, into bodily lightness, like the rising sun or moon …
In part #1 of his “Body and Space - Delphi I / Birth”, the artist displays an amorphous fragment of column, but at the same time invents a centre which makes the column’s fluting, normally on the outside of the column, wander into its interior.
The neon highlighting this inner form is red - which makes the beholder think of the mystery of birth, of the process of “coming into existence” …

Patrick Karez