Ikon Gallery Review. This may be quite late, however, i’ve kept it hidden since experiencing Pavel’s exhibition and finally want to share.
(Honest) Work 2015
The question of honesty, frequently regulates the role of an art piece. To whom is it being honest? To the spectator? To the artist? To Itself? But whether the answer is just a single proposition is for the individual to decide. Artists such as Marcel Broodthaers and John Baldessari seek the total opposite, utilising insincerity within their art. In contrast, Pavel Büchler has approached this open-ended question within his recent exhibition ‘(Honest) Work’ at Ikon, Birmingham. By combining wit with everyday elements the viewer speculates the metaphorical proposals stimulated from his visual counterparts.
As one makes their entrance, they are immediately segregated from the world from which they entered – the public realm. A set of glass, encrypted doors, featuring an extract from Samuel Beckett’s ‘Watt’ forms a barrier to the other side. Bucher’s Inside Watt is suggestive in situ and form. Questioning the relationship between art and the everyday world. Prompting the viewer’s perception as they gravitate towards Büchler’s artistic honesty.
On the first floor awaits a collection ranging from found objects, past time technology, text and photography. Showcasing Büchler’s admiration for all realms of media, using their individual procedures to formulate concepts of the everyday. A set of two vividly worn down pencils, ranging in size, spring to mind as I go on. Il Castello establishes a commitment to the worker, a daily contribution to their life. But what happens when it ends? Do we worry about these devoted tools? Of course not, we pick up another and move on. As after all, they were being honest to their job. However, Büchler’s saving grace pauses this motion, enabling us to question our approach to the mundane world. Each piece stands for itself. Elaborating on what it offers to the viewer as object, truth telling in their operation or combination as they are presented to just be.
These unheard words are spoken through the spread of Büchler’s Honest Works along the gallery wall. Its literal approach leaves no room for this and that, it is simply ‘Five Words In a Line’. It’s suggestive in its reflection to reality. Through language we are able to grasp an understanding instantly. Its simplicity illustrates how maybe, we look away or beyond the everyday. Adding concepts and purposes too persistently, missing what is actually in front of us. Through letterpress, Büchler exposes his commitment to fulfilling an authentic proposition as with such technique one letter may become lost. Minimising the chance for one to say all they must, leaving them no choice but honesty.
As one continues onto the upper level of the Ikon, over 150 loudspeakers are overtaking its voided air space. The biggest ever version of The Castle forms an intimate atmosphere, overtaking the viewers sense of security. Each at a dramatic size increases the viewer’s vulnerability. They are no longer the majority but the minority. The speakers’ hushes inflict words that struggle to make sense. The role of humanity is reversed formulating the viewer into objectivity. But, it’s difficult to forget Büchler’s reference to Franz Kafka’s novel as his use of reappropriation contributes a strange contemporary aspect to an antiquated form of technology used within Kafka’s generation. Infusing the realistic switch of mechanical communication, Büchler brings attention towards the rapid speed of our technical reality. Stimulating ideas towards its effects on the everyday as a computer voice takes over the role of humanity.
Each individual piece of work stands as it’s own. Their relation and contribution to the life of beings is different. Bucher is not focusing on ‘what are we visibly seeing?’ but rather ‘what is it that we visibly hear?’ The art works are translating concepts about their existence within the everyday. Being true to their purpose. The works project not only a form of honesty to themselves, but to their relation with the viewer as they raise questions towards how they both cooperate, positively or negatively. It is clear, our overlooking of the everyday has become more apparent as we neglect the simplest elements in which they offer. Most apparent is their (Honest)y.