Friday, 8 July 2016

Pavel Buchler

Born in the Czech Republic (1952) Pavel Buchler studied in Prague at the School of Graphic Arts (1970-2) and the Institute of Applied Arts (1973-6). In 1981, Büchler moved to the UK.  Büchler works as both an artist and educator and is currently Research professor of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

With a background in graphic design and and interest in film and photography Büchler's work involves a range of media including found objects, text, obsolete technologies, and reappropriated images. Objects are often juxtaposed to create ambiguous and often humorous meanings and narratives, or "semantic short circuits" as Büchler describes them. Anything could be a source of inspiration from pencils and postcards to out dated audio-visual equipment, typewriters, projectors, tape recorders, and megaphones that wouldn't look out of place in a 1930s Gulag. Maybe within the obsolete there is more potential for reinvention? Or maybe it is a kind of nostalgia, a re-appointing the meaningless outdated objects with new ambiguous purpose? 

His work is open ended, there are no answers only questions, any meanings are ambiguous. Indeed Buchler has stated that "Another measure of the extent to which a work resists exhaustion. The extent to which it makes you curious again and again"

On his own Manchester Metropolitan University staff profile his practice is described as "making nothing happen"

Eclipse 2009
In Eclipse, nine 1950s slide projectors are used to project circles of light onto a gallery wall. The disks of light overlap creating an apparent consolation of planets or stars, smaller silhouettes (moons?) are cast into this arrangement by Buchlers placement of different kinds of spherical objects, including tennis balls footballs and rubber balls. The combination of outdated slide projectors and second hand objects juxtaposes with the clean 'pure' forms of the light arrangement. It appears as a humorous mix of brave new world and Sinclar C5.       Exhibiting the work in normal daylight conditions equal measure of attention is placed on the apparatus of projection as the projection itself, highlighting the disjointed nature of the work. It also elevates the importance of mechanical process by which the work is made to that of the projection itself.   
Eclipse, 2009
Leitz Prado projectors, projector stands, dimmer unit, found balls
installation view, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds

Eclipse, 2009
Leitz Prado projectors, projector stands, dimmer unit, found balls
installation view, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds

Total solar eclipse - Sir Arthur Eddington - 1919

The title 'Eclipse" and the projected image echo famous photographs of a total solar eclipse taken in 1919 by Sir Arthur Eddington to prove Einstein’s theory of general relativity. But these are not scientific documents from which  theories can be proven as fact, they are sources of phenomenological evidence. Experiential records echoing early experiments in expanded cinema. This reference to expanded cinema is justified as the work is not just seen, the observer does not just sit and receive visual information. It is also heard through the combined hum of a chorus of slide projectors, and it is felt through the heat that this equipment expels. The viewer is also free to move around the work.
Maybe I'm reading to much into Buchlers educational background but it has an air of a science lesson about it, the slightly eccentric physics teacher has commandeered all the TV stands and no one can play football while he explains celestial motion on a Thursday afternoon!
I connect with the sense of play and spontaneity here in Buchlers work, with projectors placed on TV stands instead of plinths it all feels very temporary as if the arrangement was not preplanned but decided in the moment of creation. The items which obstruct the lens and cast shadows are all everyday objects, a tennis ball, football whatever was to hand, domestic items we all have and are familiar with. Equipment and objects have not been chosen for technical functionality but for emotive connection with the viewer, the familiar is represented. 
Idle thoughts 2003- present
Idle thoughts is an ongoing project in which Pavel Büchler writes each months diary entries on one A5 page, layering notes upon notes until words and intentions are obscured. Began in 2003 the first years 12 pages were published as a book. This book Büchler has in turn used as a diary, writing over the printed pages in the same fashion. This cycle has been repeated several times resulting in dense inky black pages. Any meaning derived from words is suppressed as the writing transforms into abstract drawing sitting somewhere between Kazimar Malevich's Black squares and Cy Twombly's black and white chalk drawings. 

Pavel Buchler - Idle thoughts (2003 - present)

In my own 'Corpse' animations the images build in density but are then erased. While traces of marks remain the images towards the end of the animation are easily still readable as trees. What if the images built and built in a similar fashion abstracting and then obscuring/obliterating translation? From the empty possibility of the white paper they become that other empty space of possibility, the blackness of the void. However If I used charcoal as before the drawing may 'disappear' all to quickly. To allow time for the drawing to build and then breakdown I might look to use pen and ink or soft B pencils. 

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