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Tomas Hlavina’s artworks resemble a collection of enigmatic objects arranged in a "cabinet of curiosities " - a cabinet kept by a long term collector of varied artefacts or relics from the field of natural history or art. A cabinet is a sphere that is distinctly removed from everyday life; its objects are disassociated from reality because of their peculiarity. They are objects preserved in space because they have lost their context to the real world or because they have become models exceeding reality. In this space, the objects create their very own relationships and meanings.
The concept of an object, a ready-made, and the general principle of the object as it was created in the 20th century art, is inseparable in Hlavina's works. These formal codes however are further transformed and exploited by the artist in a subjective way. He chooses and utilises real things that have the potential to undergo a metamorphosis. You can’t really say that he creates or makes these things or, on the contrary, uses them as passive material but rather, that he thoughtfully modifies them and transforms them inconspicuously - but fundamentally – in relation to their meaning. This method leads to a situation where the differentiation between subjective creation and impersonal manipulation ceases to be meaningful, as does the hierarchy between a consciously manipulating individual and a material object. Hlavina's objects have two distinct features: their reduced, limited forms and lack of colour. These features confirm their semiotic nature, distance from reality and sensuousness. These are objects of an entirely specific type. They appear to be carefully elaborated instruments of an unknown purpose, which deconstruct the categories of an esthetical artefact and utilitarian object.
Hlavina bestows his objects with specific names. Visual forms are inseparable from words, but run parallel to them without trying to predict what follows what. Words and forms are metaphorically connected and the final senseemerges from what is found between the lines.
Hlavina's treatment of objects and words can be seen as an original metaphor of contemporary philosophical thinking aboutreality, signs and a produced meaning in the structures of signs. His objects can function as models for following the creation of their meaning. This occurs in interrelation to a flexible structure created by a metaphorical visual form, a title,its conventional meaning and imaginative association following from a word and a form. The meaning is permanently shifted and cyclically created. Nonsensical connections of artificial forms and verbal expressions finally appear stronger and more logical than conventional, but arbitrary relations between the signifier and the signified.
If we can say that we have identified one possible theme in the visual thought process of Tomas Hlavina, it would be a general and sophisticated theme,which is never finalized. His technique is persistent, fixed and precise and its superficial manifestations are transformed quite inconspicuously over the course of time. Its’ unravelling is intellectual, though at the same time full of humour and visual attraction.
Hana Petlachova, art theorist, curator