Jiří Machalický - Irena Jůzová S.Y.T. – projection

text to the catalogue of Irena's exhibition S.Y.T. projection
28. 11. – 28. 12.2008, Oratory, Art House Opava, November 2008

Irena Jůzová nears to the generation that came to the forefront in the last decade of the 20th century, which was noted for the speed with which it became independent and began to naturally integrate into an international context. Her work extends from graphic art cycles and drawings to manipulated digital prints and video to technically demanded interactive installations. Even in her early graphic work, she used her distinctive sense for spatial construction, for a free sequencing of layers and how they interference into one another. She evinced a sense for expressing energy through intersecting curves and capturing raw reality without any embellishments. She was interested in an environment in which everything is subordinated to the purpose and in which aesthetic sense is relegated to last place. She is able to describe and interpret it correctly. Her work exudes fragility, which comes across especially from her large-screen compositions out of translucent paper. First she printed on them, and then used only their structure. Thus she gradually and naturally approached to installations in which she again used objects that caught her interest in some way. Sometimes she wrapped them in translucent paper, thereby softening their shape, and the installations took on a new dimension with the acquired secret.

In some projects she also started to work with light while at the same time taking into account the constant evolution of nature. She used illuminated objects and placed them into a carefully chosen setting. Since the first half of the 1990s she has been intensely immersed in the possibilities of shaping space. She masters various means of expression; uses many different materials, such as metals. Some projects counted on participation and reactions from the viewer, who was supposed to assume a certain position. She studied for six months under the German sculptor Otto Herbert Hajek in Karlsruhe, who greatly influenced her style. There she created an impressive object out of granite plates, in which she achieved an interactive concept. Anyone could leave their trace in the layers of dust left over from grinding the plates. At the same time she continued on her experiments with light. She used the colour shifts of the rays; she was also interested in their reflection.

Irena Jůzová relies on viewers’ participation in the “game” as well as on recording their movements. She sometimes combines the effects of light with sound and tries to affect various senses. She uses personal experience; she is interested in the forces that control nature. She combines personal memories with other peoples’ stories. She discovers the possibilities offered by techniques originally used in quite different fields. She reaches for classical as well as non-traditional methods, always substantiating her choice. They develop a certain order but at the same time are born from coincidence. She knows how to use the given space and project her ideas onto it. She often works intuitively; she is interested in the human psyche. She investigates how we react to different stimuli and how events that play an important part in our lives affect us.

In her project for the Venice biennale she conceived the space of our pavilion as if it was a luxury goods store. In the showcases she offered as “goods” casts of her own body. She tried to show how today the market controls almost all aspects of our lives. She wanted to appropriate something, which she, let’s hope, will never succumb to. The author wanted to tell us that economic laws don’t apply to free and independent art.

For some time now she has been preparing a project entitled S.Y.T. (Spend Your Time), which is gradually being carried out in several places. First there will be drawings, then projections and visualizations and finally the concluding installation. It will be about our relationship to the environment in which we live, our influence on the world around us and, vice versa and about its influence on the evolution of our society. Irena Jůzová naturally falls back on her original philosophy; she doesn’t yield or conform to any popular trends and knows how to select the right means to express her ideas. Her work is the reflection of a constant meditation on the relationships between people and the meaning of all that we do. She wants to capture the connection between the past, the present and the future. Each story has its point of departure, connecting to the previous event. Everything has a reason, though it may be incomprehensible at first glance. Nothings exists without a reason, each process takes place in a specific space, each situation comes about when it’s the right time for it to happen.

Jiří Machalický