Pavel Korbička



Pavel Korbička’s work is founded on an aesthetic basis according to which the principal role in the origin of a work of art is not objectivity but rather perception, feeling, dream and imagination. Light and colour, electric light that the artist applies instead of pigments, but also as a suggestion of the colour spectrum, may be reminiscent of a musical composition. Light is the essential element of Korbička’s creative concept, he considers it a prominent sign of the art of the modern world. It evokes tension resulting from the endeavour to find the means of expression for presenting something beyond reality.

Using neon light reminds us of the preeminence of Czech culture in the domains of art history and technology, as it was Czech artist Zdeněk Pešánek who was the first to use neon in the 1930s, and he even invented neon light modulator. In 1951 the founder of spatialism, Lucio Fontana, created a structure assembled exclusively from neon tubes for the 9th Milan Triennial, installed right at the entrance to the event. In his installations, informed by the works of these two artists, Pavel Korbička shifts the means of expression to be closer to the issues of contemporary art. He is interested in the diffusion of coloured light, which puts him side by side with Dan Flavin, who studied the impersonal nature of the cold neon light and its relationship with the space in which the work is set. Coloured light will saturate the surrounding space through its radiation, and it will also transform and change everything that this space contains.

Martial Raysse, who in a way anticipated Korbička's  pre-occupation with dance movements, was closer to American popart in his idiom. In his works he continually merged painting in lively and intentionally unrealistic colours with thin neon tubes, employed to underline particular features of the figures, often women’s faces, such as lips and glasses, or they may have been accompanied by symbols typical for pop. François Morellet is another artist in whose work we may trace relationships with Korbička’s quest: he works with the neon in a geometrical and rhythmic sense. He uses neon to ponder on the possibilities of this material to delimit space by creating series of structures with a three-dimensional perspective, as a kind of geometrical flashing sculptures.

Korbička divides space by a structure with walls made of polycarbonate sheets which change the coloured light, diffuse it across the surrounding environment and create illusive, impossible to capture coloured rays. In this way the multilayered environment enables the artist to conjure up the experience of virtual timespace. The phases that the new project incorporates introduce a new meaning of time which metamorphoses into redefining the objectivity of the basic structure and does not end by merely adopting physical laws, but rather shifts the problem of subjective space into a position where it is simultaneously confirmed and refuted. The essential and most contemporary elements in Korbička’s works are the using state-of-technology materials and his ability to trigger an emotional response. The final result achieved with a minimal scope of means of expression will impact the viewer through a large colour installation. A mysterious ebb and flow of colour, mutually communicating illuminated and dispersed structures, will surprise the viewer by unique sensual feelings. The flashes of coloured lights are most intensely perceived in great diffusion enabled by the large exhibition rooms. They create contents and virtual imagery which intertwine and depict what might be termed parallel space.

An important facet of Korbička’s installation is communication with the viewer, who is overwhelmed by the installation, becomes its integral part and is given an opportunity to identify with it. This means that the work may enrich the imagination and open up new possibilities of expanded ability of perception.

Miroslava Hajek