ABOUT

Nina Čelhar’s works focus on architecture as the basic human living environment that determines, in its capacity of artificially constructed space, human existence. The fruit of human creativity and productivity, architecture is subject to humans; at the same time it conversely dictates our everyday lives and movements, in a way controlling and directing our very existence. Čelhar’s painterly representations of architecture – both exteriors of contemporary functionalist buildings and minimalist interiors – come across as elaborately refined, abstract, and semantically uncritical images. The artist takes the stand of an observer, scrutinizing spaces in all their details, noting the absence of people, although everything testifies to their presence. Čelhar creates works using the subtle and fragile technique of painting on translucent ungrounded canvas, which indicates also the deliberate testing of the medium and its expressive possibilities and limitations.

Martina Vovk

for exhibition Time Without Innocence.
Recent Painting in Slovenia (2019)

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GREEN, HOW I WANT YOU, GREEN

These paintings, these poetic oases, are our body’s and consciousness’s assembly points; they are also points of recurrence, of the non-rational reawakening of things, the new awakening of being. Nina’s painting therefore works against logical explanation, against theory, which is throughout essentially external, counter-natural, castrational; a mere means, doppelganger, “working in difference”; denial, interdiction of dance; putting in brackets, concealing the truth, a mask, a silhouette; the life of shadows, a mirage, non-essence. Thereby, this painting entirely rejects the old ways of thinking and any hierarchy, all differentiation. It only submits to constant inner seeking, to eternal vitalism, and to the desire for the return of the full painting body, the desire for the original figure, gesture, and form, which are only possible through “scraping off” all value-, cultural, and social mechanisms. Painting generates a space governed by aesthetical autonomy and stylistic freedom, unwavering imagination, and the liberated state of phenomenology, a space, where prehistoric visions and dreams, personal, sensual signs, meet. This results in an intuitive and extremely expressive painting, identical to the painter’s imaginational experience, where objects, gestures, and phenomena become equal to the pictorial surface. The painting becomes the production and protection of being and of all the forgotten relations, a world of self-recurrence in which nothing is lost. All is melded, fused into a single sign, which is open and comprehensible, yet already (already still) mysterious. Juxtapositions are dead, pure arbitrariness. There is no unified stance, ocularcentrism. The picture is now ecstasy and ritualistic dance, a primary union of matter and painting. Moreover, it is closer to the Eastern concept of the scattering of a thousand beings, a state of somnolence, which is the awakening-in-knowing and extreme concentration, and absence which is all of presence; the individual is no longer separated from, but rather one with nature, one with experiencing, incidence, consciousness; and, in its depth, a void comes ablaze which is fullness – a state of non-self, where each object is the same as subject, the original power and being of all things.

Nina’s painting is built on full and condensed figures, which seize the entire surface of the canvas linearly, without depth; on a linear grid of profoundly psychologically impacted signs caught in airiness, which is not dependent on the environment, but which increases with the paintings inner genesis. The painted world is thus neither far nor near, it is somehow horizontal, with no background. And yet, the images are dimensional, voluminous, as each sign and each gesture are direct – literal and at the same time polysemous. The painting becomes a way back, a path inward, a path of seeking with no aim or set direction, a journey, a delusion. It becomes a sort of avalanche of infinitesimally tiny experiences, a spontaneous, alogical discourse that never ends though it is ever beginning and recurring.

And truly, these mysterious magical images are metaphors for mental space – harmonious, universal – among them only a spiritual, psychological voyage is possible; they are irradiated with otherworldly beauty, which is not merely metaphorical, but also itself a sign; a grid of signs that are not empty but linked to the painter, his vision and hallucinations. The images we are observing are thus not allegorical, but real figures, only “inverted” and “transferred”, as they serve only pure desire.


Andrej Medved

for exhibition Painting Now! (2021)

V svojih delih se posveča arhitekturi kot temeljnemu človeškemu bivanjskemu okolju, ki kot umetno konstruiran prostor bistveno določa človekovo eksistenco; arhitektura kot plod človeške dejavnosti in kreativnosti ima človeku podrejeno vlogo, hkrati pa, prav nasprotno, človeka določa v njegovem vsakdanjem bivanju, gibanju, pravzaprav obvladuje in usmerja njegovo eksistenco. Slikarske postavitve arhitekture, tako zunanjščin sodobne funkcionalistične betonske arhitekture kot minimalistične notranjščine, se kažejo kot izčiščene, abstrahirane, pomensko dejansko nekritične podobe. Umetničina drža je drža opazovalca, z motrenjem prostora z njegovimi detajli, v katerem ni človeške prisotnosti, a vendarle vse priča o njej, Nina Čelhar ustvarja dela, ki s subtilno in krhko slikarsko tehniko na presojnem negrundiranem platnu hkrati pričajo tudi o zavestnem preizkušanju medija ter njegovih izraznih možnosti in omejitev. 

Martina Vovk

ob razstavi Čas brez nedložnosti.
Novejše slikarstvo v Sloveniji (2019)

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ZELENO, KI TE HOČEM ZELENO

Te slike, te poetične oaze so zbirne točke našega telesa in zavesti; in točke ponovitve, neracionalnega obujanja stvari na novo; nove obuditve bitja. Ninino slikarstvo deluje torej proti logični razlagi, proti teoriji, ki je vseskozi bistveno zunanja, zopernaravna, kastracijska; le sredstvo, dvojnik, »delovanje v razliki«; zanikanje, prepoved plesa; postavljanje v oklepaj, prikrivanje resnice, maska, silhueta; življenje senc, privid, nebistvo. Zato ta slika povsem zavrača stare miselne načine in vsako hierarhičnost, razlikovanje. Zato pristaja le na stalno notranje iskanje, večni vitalizem in željo po vrnitvi polnega slikarskega telesa. Na željo po izvornem liku, gesti in obliki, ki so mogoči le skozi »ostrganje« vseh vrednostnih, kulturnih in socialnih mehanizmov. Slikarstvo oblikuje prostor, v katerem vlada estetska avtonomnost in stilistična svoboda, neomajna domišljija in osvobojena fenomenološkost; prostor, v katerem se srečujejo pradavna videnja in sanje, osebni, senzualni znaki. Tako nastaja intuitivna in skrajno ekspresivna slika, ki je identična s slikarsko, z domišljijsko skušnjo; in so predmeti, geste in pojavi izenačeni s slikovno površino. Slika postane proizvajanje in varovanje bitja in vseh pozabljenih odnosov; svet samoponovitve, v katerem se ničesar ne izgubi. Vse je spojeno, vlito v en sam znak, ki je odprt in razumljiv, a vendar že (že še) skrivnosten. Juksta pozicije so mrtve; čista samovolja. Nobenega enotnega stališča, okulocentrizma. Slika je zdaj ekstaza in obredni ples, primarna zveza med materijo in sliko. In bližja je vzhodnjaški raztrositvi tisoč bitij, stanju zasnulosti, ki je prebujanje-v-védnost in skrajna zbranost; in odsotnost, ki je vsa prisotnost; ko individuum ni več ločen, ampak spojen z naravo, z doživljanjem, s pojavnostjo, z zavestjo; in v globini zažari praznina, ki je polnost; stanje nejaza, kjer je vsak predmet enak subjektu; izvorna moč in bitje vseh stvari.

Ninina slika je zgrajena na polnih in zgoščenih likih, ki ravno, brez globine, zasegajo celotno površino platna; na linearni mreži globoko psihično zaznamovanih znakov, ujetih v zračnost, ki ni odvisna od okolja, temveč narašča z notranjo genezo slike. Naslikan svet tako ni niti daleč niti blizu, nekako vodoraven, brez ozadja. In vendar so podobe plastične, voluminozne, kajti vsak znak in vsaka gesta sta neposredna – dobesedna in v istem hipu večpomenska. Slika postane pot nazaj, pot vase, pot iskanja; brez cilja in določene smeri; popotovanje, »blodnja«. Nekakšen plaz neskončno drobnih doživetij, spontan, alogičen diskurz, ki se nikoli ne konča, čeprav se venomer začenja in ponavlja.

In res so te skrivnostne magične podobe metafore mentalnega prostora – harmonične, univerzalne –, v katerem je mogoče le duhovno, psihično popotovanje, ožarjene z nadzemeljsko lepoto, ki ni le metaforična, ampak je tudi sama znak; kot mreža znakov, ki niso prazni, temveč so povezani s slikarjem, z njegovim vidom in prividi. Podobe, ki jih gledamo, tako nikakor niso prispodobe, temveč realni liki, vendar »obrnjeni« in »premeščen«, saj služijo le čisti Želji.


Andrej Medved

ob razstavi Slikarstvo zdaj! (2021)


SODOBNA UMETNOST
R  — NINA ČELHAR