Lukáš Paleček

Painter, performer, creator of interactive objects

Lukáš Paleček is the creator of performances in which he lends his voice to various objects and appliances, after which he then puts them back into operation. He is interested in old appliances such as Romo and Tatramat washing machines,  Tesla radios and tape recorders. He builds his own appliances with found parts. He uses pastels, markers or pens to draw the anatomy of these appliances in small formats that resemble X-rays, reporting on the machines’ internal conditions.

Lukáš’s relationship with devices takes many shapes. Lukas collects machines. He finds them or receives them from friends who know of his interest. He shares his workshop with his father, each with his own machines. Lukas’s are usually not functional or only partially functional. On one shelf, he has only spare parts, the disassembled bodies of the machines. Lukas makes repairs on them – anatomical excursions. Other times he mends the machines with plastic tape; gives them splints, sets their fractures. He makes their parts visible. Complementing his work in the workshop, Lukáš creates imaginary machines that work without any limitations, precisely in line with his own needs and visions.

Lukáš observes, listens to and imitates the machines, and learns their languages, thereby expanding and deleting his own playlist. Yet he is not just a human automated jukebox – Lukáš builds up his own repertoire, thoroughly investigating the sound expressions of the objects he incorporates into it. He tests and exercises his own sensitivity, impersonation skills and memory. At the same time, the machines seem to allow him to enrich his own means of expression, to broaden the possibilities of his own speech. The machines’ speech seems to offer the chance for more direct emotional expression, compensating for the limitations of human language.

Lukáš is something more than any other kind of artist-performer. He often creates his performances on the spot, in reaction to a concrete situation, idea or impulse. He is the director and choreographer of his own performances, while also playing the lead role. He arranges the audience in the space, suggesting a particular position or role to play in the given situation. He creates temporary structures, functional systems made up of people and their relationships shaped in the given time and space. Lukáš’s perception of time differs greatly from capitalist linearity, which is geared toward effective results and productivity. For Lukáš, what is important is the here and now, the connection and experience in the moment, the intensity of the situation that is happening. It’s important that the washing machine washes, that the machine works and makes sounds, thereby providing proof of its functioning.

For Lukáš, his work is a way of communicating with those in his immediate environment, similar to taking a walk together, drinking coffee, or listening to a cassette. He doesn’t stay long in stillness at one task; for success in his work, he needs to switch between walking, drawing, performing, snacking, wiring or repairing a machine, and communicating with others.  Lukáš does not create works primarily with the aim of presenting or exhibiting them. He often gives his works away – the work becomes a gift, something to bring momentary pleasure and confirm closeness, or a way of being silly.  He does not attach value to his works. Any numbers on them indicate the prices of the machines depicted in the drawings. These numbers are often increased to ludicrous amounts, evidence of Lukáš’s fascination with the system of financial valuation and its absurdity.

Lukáš is not primarily interested in completing his works.  He renames them again and again, continues working on them, changes them or decides to erase them, sometimes even throws them away, depending on his momentary urge or need. During installations, he draws them, describes them, completes their shapes, claims (inhabits) their space and whatever is found in it.

Eva Koťátková a Alma Lily Rayner, 2019