Petr Bařinka's work evokes a feeling of a children game. Yet it is a game produced by an adult with experience, lived traumas and fantasies on a scale of desire of pleasure to desire of death (éros and thanatos). Formal resources of a fairy tale are meant for a different audience than children. They are not the stories that withhold sexuality and mortality. On the contrary! Visual naivety lets play the topics that are taboo in fairy tales. It is the reverse side - here inverse there perverse.
In his early work he already changes the ideal sunny worlds of the American moral cartoons for the youngest such as Teletubbies into a venue of psychological traumas and shows how dreams come true can easily turn into nightmares (Mr. Citro, 2004). It also shows how a wild dream can finish with a happy end (Bonne voyage, 2005). Through a naive look Petr Bařinka strengthens terrifying moments, leads the viewers into the centre of a dark forest or amidst displaced (sexual) obsessions of a city life (Strašáci, 2007), he leads us into the core of a gigantic skull at the end of the world (Welcome to Endland, 2010), onto an abandoned world of socialistic modernity, which is now only a place of memory inhabited by spectral creatures (Night Visitors, 2013; Dark Memory, 2014).
The present exposition called MASTER BLASTER takes us (referring to a videogame from 1988) right to the imagination derived from game worlds. In the history of the author's unmistakable visuality we can trace the aesthetics of retro-games and gaming machines. Easily we can get the feeling of being caught up in a huge flashing gaming machine full of gravitational holes, comic xenon rockets, in a world of arcade games such as Space Invaders or in other earlier videogames using schematic vector imaging. Everything has its root in this wild aesthetic of popular culture, which it elevates to the "big game" that grows to be a principle and a symbol in the world.
Art as a meta-game
Author creates a visual linkage between the game, art and real life. It raises the question about the relationship between art and human life. For someone art is a way of seeing the essence (metaphysics), for others it is a means of showing the dominance of people who love art. In spite of all that here art is something different, it is a gaming mirror of reality, it is something that accompanies life as kind of a meta-commentary. In this interpretation art meets with the playful doubling of reality. It takes us to a world, where anything is possible because everything is abstract, everything is just a reflection. A pipe in the picture is not a pipe, but just a reflection of a pipe. It is a free game space, it is a meta-game (not meta-physics), a space, where without any restraints the displaced can return. Game is in Petr Bařinka's work the main motive. Not only does the author work using the game but the game itself is the substance of his visual expression.
Life as a meta-fight
Author imaginatively develops gaming worlds into different situations often reflecting cruel experience. But if we took whole life as a game like he does, then we could withstand the cruelty of life much better. Everything is just a game. In a game it is easy to go and shoot into a crowd. Run and gun! But beware, you can't do it the other way around. The horror must stay an illusion.
It is not suggested to treat life like a game. There, where the moment of physical death comes to play, the game ends and reality begins. GAME OVER! No withdrawal, no restart. It is not possible to play again. The thought of reincarnation cannot serve as alibi. It is not about that. That what is served here is the topic of ambivalence of game and reality. Reality is never completely real and a game is never fully a game. Reality is a game that is held together by the ropes of illusion. We are uploaded and thrown into the battlefield. What remains? Drop dead! - Or become a MASTER BLASTER.
curator of exhibition: Michal Tošner