April 19, 2020
Jan Valik solo exhibition Verge at Husk Gallery
Jan Valik's solo exhibition Verge at Husk Gallery

Ten galleries of Brussels have joined their efforts to obtain the synergy effect of simultaneous openings and closings of exhibitions - it is the space called RIVOLI situated in the Ixelles neighbourhood. In one of them, HUSK GALLERY, you can currently virtually visit an exhibition of a young talented artist from Slovakia. 

The opening event took place on the rainy weekend, early March and it was in a completely different atmosphere, we were still moving around freely. In the meantime, we live the lockdown reality and, the galleries have closed for public. Higher power has affected calendars and lives of all. Ján has his studio in Brussels, life goes on, and arts, if not saving us, it helps us daily.  Instead of meeting in person, we had a WhatsApp date, early magnolia trees blossoming; we created a bridge of words, of energy. 


How did your collaboration with the gallerist, Ingrid Van Hecke, begin? 

I landed in Brussels about a year ago with my girlfriend who obtained a scholarship here. On a weekend, we roamed the galleries in town together with the art dealer Liu Jian and we visited RIVOLI: Ingrid then came to my studio and we agreed on organising an exhibition. 


Ingrid talks about your talent, about your inspiration in Japanese and Chinese landscape. You told me that you equally draw inspiration from the European art. The current exhibition bears the name Verge, the word evokes an edge, a place where nothing is for sure and forever, nothing is decided and written in stone. When and how did you discover oriental art? 

Through and thanks to my grandfather. He was an architect and he showed me the slides from his visit to Japan in the 80th, mostly of the modern architecture. The symbiosis of materials, environment and the space context, all that was new to me. Then I deliberately explored Japanese films and literature. I even started to study architecture in Bratislava, but abandoned the studies and switched to the faculty of fine arts.

All connects with all, philosophy, religion, culture, language, all that creates grooves in our minds; it influences our perception and creative process. We perceive the themes of eternity and finitude differently here, in the West. In the European art, there is always a short-lived revolution; an individual steps out of an established current, refuses it, until he or she is very quickly included in a new stream, trend, current and becomes a canon that is further on fixed and outdated so that another revolution can take place. In Chinese and Japanese painting, there is a continuity of hundreds, thousands of years and the changes happen in slow progress. The artists there rarely created with an ambition to survive forever; they consciously accept the fact that the paper decays, the ink fades away. In addition, perception of copying is different; it is a legitimate form of continuation, of passing on. The history of art has a much longer tradition, paintings; techniques have been documented thoroughly for centuries. Nevrtheless, I do not transfer the principles of the East into my art, I am faithful to oil on canvas, aquarelle, ink, I pursue my own expression. 


Do any artists or professors represent an authority to you? 

"Yes and no. Yes, because I deliberately enter their worlds of thoughts and creation, no, because I only do that to acknowledge it is their way and me, I continue to search for myself. There was a key personality in my individuation process - Professor Miloš Šejn in Prague. I spent time learning with him; he showed me other possibilities, he encouraged me to doubt, to shatter and recreate my own style. 


What do symbols, codes, languages, space, movement mean to you? 

A canvas, a painting, whatever the size, is a limited physical space that I can endlessly explore and modify. The movement of a brush travels from the hand, the impulse comes from the brain, and beyond, there is a mystery, an unknown, searched, questioned and dared source of inspiration. Sometimes, I lose the connection with the essence in the process of searching and I destroy the painting and restart. It goes, as all human endeavours, through focus and attention, through doubts. As dance is a movement that freezes for a dramatic moment, never for long, because it cannot, it must not, it must continue, it is bound to the laws of movement. 

Concerning languages, the symbolic writing in Oriental languages is more open to interpretation; one symbol carries many meanings.  Each language reflects the mind, the thinking of its users. All languages are fascinating when we dive into them. 


What now, in the slow pace of quarantine life; for me, the chance to withdraw, to introspect, to contemplate one´s values, to work with unknown and invisible in us and around us. Moreover, outdoors spring is spreading wings; a new cycle is beginning. How do you live the moment? 

Actually, it resembles the time before an exhibition, life narrows between the studio, the apartment and the internet. It is the same now, who knows when we will be able to enlarge the spectrum of our activities. The pandemic era has destroyed my plans, it put the current exhibition in halt, and it postponed three following ones, as well as a visit in Slovakia and other spring plans. I concentrate on living mindfully and purposefully every day, I do what I can do. I also kindle the hope that the humans will overcome the crisis and we will be able to continue active living - after having contemplated our values, environmental impacts, solidarity, and willingness to live a healthy and wholesome life. I do hope in an evolutionary shift. 


Invitation to the virtual visit of the exhibition:


Katarina Varsikova is a writer and  yoga teacher based in Brussels since 2005. Katarina's blog clearly shows she's in love with the town of rainy reputation, which still holds secrets for her. >>>https//: 


Due to the Coronavirus Husk Gallery will remain closed until May 11th, 2020.
The exhibition Verge by Jan Valik will be extended until June 27th, 2020.