Josef Bareš: Reading Space Exhibition Text & Photo

Text accompanying the exhibition together with photographs of the exhibition installation at tamtamART TAIPEI.

The broad definition of reading is that of a process of recognizing visual elements and interpreting their relationship, out of which meaning emerges. The meaning of ‘reading’ does not need to be limited to it’s narrow meaning of ‘reading a text’. Language/text is the most critical system of signs, as it serves as an expression of our thoughts and communication, but it is not the only system of signs we interact with.

We exist because we think, however at the same time, we are constantly aware of our own physical bodies and the space in which our bodies are moving. In ‘Reading Space’ the notion of ‘reading’ is applied to the space that we exist in. In the same way as a text, space is structured by its own grammar and syntax. Our interaction with the space produces reactions and feelings. Three artworks on display all address the experience of moving around space and making sense of it.

Movement4/5 represent the most detached form of spatial experience. As city inhabitants, we are daily moving along predestined transport routes in cars, buses or trains. While the cityscape behind the car window is constantly changing, it is also very much the same: A view which we share with many others taking the same route. The photographs represents a journey from A to B taken on a public transport route. Images are overlaid in the same way the spatiotemporal experience collapses in our mind once it becomes a memory: We remember it, but it is difficult to recall all the details once its gone from our sight.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREExif_JPEG_PICTUREExif_JPEG_PICTUREExif_JPEG_PICTUREExif_JPEG_PICTUREViewpoint 4/MMT take a step back from the visual focus of Movement4/5. Instead of urban space as an image passing behind the widow, the works investigate how me make sense of the visual information we receive. Each work is the result of a walk through urban space, with the to research the spatial disposition of one specific architectural structure in the city. When looking at a building from one viewpoint, we can only partially understand its real spatial structure. But by moving and observation from multiple viewpoints, the amount of information increases and we start to understand more detail, we are ‘reading space’.

Movement3 leaves urban space completely behind. In the vast empty landscape of a frozen sea covered with snow we are freed from all limitations that are imposed on us when moving around cities. The white surface of the frozen is like the empty sheet of paper lying on an architect’s desk before he starts to work on the design. When walking on an empty white plain, the decision about each step becomes a creative act, unrestrained by design. Walking becomes similar drawing a mark on paper – a gesture taken in space.
Exif_JPEG_PICTUREExif_JPEG_PICTUREThe title ‘Reading Space’ refers not only to the activity of reading space as described above, but also to the exhibition space itself, where ‘space’ is used in the sense of a ‘room’: A reading room. The artworks invite to viewer to engage in different modes of reading and interpreting the materials on display. They stress the fact that ‘reading’ is a subjective act which depends on the artist as much as on the viewer. Rather than reproducing views, the exhibition is attempting to grasp the processes taking place in seeing.