ILLOLA – Quick & Dirty
ILLOLA - Patrik Illo and Aleksandra Stencel are a Slovak-Polish duo of designers who are known mainly as authors (more or less) of utility objects made of blown glass. Even though both have gradually made a name for themselves in a broader European context, both succumb to the urge to constantly experiment and to cross the boundaries of their own medium.
The NOVA Gallery, Baštová 2, Bratislava
Curator of the exhibition: Naďa Kančevová
Exhibition architecture: Patrik Illo
At the current exhibition in the NOVA Gallery, they allow us to peek into the thus far unknown - more intimate and immediate depictions of their artistic thinking. They are setting out on a path of intuitive drawing, in which they transform their thoughts, feelings and everyday situations into abstract characters and structures. The drawing in this case is perceived as language that thinks for itself, through which Illo and Stencel dialogue with one another.
Some motifs and morphology they then occasionally try to transfer to glass. The first glass experiments based on these drawings suggest two possible paths:
1. Design, aiming at authorial (dual-author) utility objects.
2. However, a second line is forming in parallel, leading to the creation of free objects and spatial installations.
The drawings that stand in the background of these works are created in one sitting - over a coffee. The impulse behind their creation, as the authors admit, is the need to fill their time together in a meaningful way, sometimes even with a friendly argument, or just an effort to express what they are not able to say in words. That is when they pull out a sketchbook and a box of different coloured pens.
Although the creative element of these drawings is intuition, the authors deliberately add a certain burden - they set "the rules of the game" that are reminiscent of chess: the "players" take turns creating the drawings. They must use all the coloured pens from the box. However, each colour can only be used once. The logic behind this strategy incentivizes them to reach for a certain type of courage - it forces them to react to unforeseen situations: to "correct" one another's apparent "mistakes", to find new starting points. In this sense, the resulting drawings can also be interpreted as a fight between lines, colours, shapes and structures. Sometimes they offer a glimpse of the intensification of expressive moments, other times they have a more meditative character.
The constant continuation and effort to improve the result may seem like a certain form of obsession reminiscent of "art brut" artistic expressions. And that is what makes these works so telling. The set rules, combined with the authors’ intuition, help push the boundaries and provide room for experimentation. Their drawing-dialogues are a world of searching, a world that borders with décor and at the same time a space where everyone can imagine their own world, to search within it like in a maze, discover shapes and maybe even wholes.
Naďa Kančevová (curator of the NOVA Gallery)