Two streams can make a river (Hojstričová – Macho)

Peter Michalovič

The joint creation of two different artists is not only an interesting, but also a risky venture. It is not different in the case of the common objects by Jana Hojstričová and Palo Macho.

Everything would be o.k. if we considered Jana Hojstričová´s photographs and Palo Macho´s glass abstract paintings separately. However, this is not possible as the photos have become part of the paintings and vice versa. The fact that the photos have been made part of the abstract images or objects brings both elements in interrelation. This relationship is by no means a kind of interference-free communication. The issue is not just some information transfer between two parties, in which either party can easily change positions with the other because they are using a common code. No, in this case the meaning of the images derives from a whole spectrum of contiguous relations, tensions, and even conflicts and confrontations. The subtle nuances of the "skin" color, the incredible shapes of human skin crinkled by countless tiny wrinkles or larger folds, often crossed by scars that like mute footprints remind their "owners" not only of the past events that caused them, but also of – fortunately also past – pains, is something no standard color palette can depict. They cannot be translated into patterns of familiar regular geometry. They are so diverse that, indeed, they constitute a perfect example of uniqueness.

Against them are colors and shapes, integrated by the composition based on combinatory rules. Virtually, any combination is possible. Practically, only that variation originates, which passes the "self-censorship" of its creator. It takes more than complying with the rules, though. In this case it is necessary that they respect the specific character of the photographs as they now share the same space. Taste is the mediator between them. I could say that it is the new taste that allows abstract compositions and photographs of real skin to coexist. I could, but I will not, for the issue here is not co-existence. For this would imply separating one from the other. Yes, the image has indeed been created by combining two heterogeneous visual substances. We know where they come from. However, the resulting image cannot be broken back into these initial substances. A new quality has originated, a reaction has taken place that has changed both original visual substances. On the one hand, abstract visual signs arranged on the surface of the painting have created a new frame for the photographs – a human skin index. The frame, which has thwarted any possibilities of narrative creation in the frame itself, has provoked them by means of its aesthetic function, exhibiting them as paintings an sich. When the pictures – indexes are placed into this new frame, they are stripped of excessive deposits of humanity, as it is only after this deposit has been neutralized that it is possible to perceive their striking resemblance to informel paintings.

On the other hand, the photographs of human skin have given a human touch to the abstract visual features, adding something that had been taken out of them ex principio. But beware! It would be naive to say that counter-balancing the difference between excessive humanity and its complete lack has resulted in balance, that is, in humanity. That is not the case. And it cannot be as that would be naive. Balancing the difference between excess and shortage has resulted in compact works of art, in striking compositions that have helped both sides visualize what could never have been made transparent in isolation. For example, to exhibit human skin as an aesthetic phenomenon, stripped of any existential dimensions, or abstract paintings serving as frames for pictures of the concrete. Both parties have lost and gained something. I think in this case the gain outweighs the loss many times. Honestly, this will delight art lovers while pleasing pragmatists and technocrats as well.