Lukáš Machalický’s exhibitions can be read as essays that thematically cover or wordlessly comment on diverse social phenomena without confronting us, the viewers, with any explicit theses. They always have a formal or architectural purity, and seemingly preclude any kind of spontaneity or randomness. In contrast, deviations, balancing, duality and system failures have a key role in this artist’s current work (Reception, Galerie Die Aktualität des Schönen..., Liberec, 2013). Recently Lukáš Machalický has also highlighted two contradictory worlds, their conflict and its consequences: manual labour and intellectual work, such as curatorship (Profi and Hobby, Zone in Motion, DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, 2014).
The title of the exhibition that Lukáš has created for Galerie 35 m2 is closely related to instructions and craftwork. A manual is a helpful yet flawed guide, something almost everyone has encountered. Craftwork need not merely represent the author’s exceptionality or superior artistic bravura, but is also a bearer of traditional values such as freedom, self-reliance and social interaction. The structure of Manual takes the form of objects arranged in an absurd order – rulers, a construction laser and professional magnetic spirit levels. These objects form a temporary sculpture which is curved and distorted in mirrors labelled with their retail prices. The tools retain their surveying and measuring functions, while the mirrors serve merely to reflect.
A laser beam passes through a hole in a wall separating two rooms; it is reflected in a mirror and travels back to its source, with a very slight deviation. A series of rulers of various lengths show an expansive dimension, ignoring the plasterboard structure, and crossed spirit levels indulge in some kind of acrobatics. The measuring devices highlight the gallery’s structure, and by doing so they transform the quality of the space with minimal means. There is a pragmatic sense of humour here, an extreme simplification of the visual language and an indifference to the sculptural object, and any interchangeability of material and form is excluded. However, the primary subject of this installation remains the gallery’s specific architecture and its conventional acceptance of a hierarchy in which the horizon is privileged and its location defines the possibilities of motion and the field of view.