I will argue that, to a certain extent, we want to identify architecture in Otto Zitko’s drawings, and particularly in his space drawings. Hence, the first part of my contribution will deal with modernity in relation to drawing and architecture, and from there, I will move on to a second stage, in which I will seek to trace the reversal of this relation between line and space in Otto Zitko’s oeuvre.
Mark-making is fundamental to art, however one construes and assigns meaning to the “before, during, and after” of the event: as embodied act, as reference, as residue, as trace, as incidental, as accidental, as concept, as communication, as metaphor, as holding ground, as taking off, as point, as line, as nothing more than itself, as the beginning of everything else.
It always comes as a surprise to discover human figures in the graphic-abstract universe of Otto Zitko. Sometimes it is a face or another part or parts of mostly female bodies, which are rather explicitly integrated into the pictures. In US-American museums the entrances to rooms with sexually charged images are marked with signs warning the visitors of the “explicit material”. Europe has always been somewhat more liberal in these matters, but here too collections of erotica are hidden away in gentlemen’s studies, tucked away in a folder and placed in a cabinet.
Motor function and graphism are two primary sources of expression. We have found bones engraved with tight curves or series of notches, small stone or wood tablets with spirals, straight lines or clusters of dots dating back to times 35,000 years ago. These oldest examples of rhythmical expression also include graphism in one and the same dynamic process. Did the symbols relate to hunting or book-keeping, or were they used to support incantations or declamations? In view of their abstract character, we tend to believe that abstraction is at the root of graphical expression.
A line drawn by Otto Zitko when he paints continues the line which the artist began a long time ago. It is the line which accompanies him 'on the road' as an artist following nomadic principles, as an artist who literally drafts a path in maze-like networks and then pursues it (or proceeds first and then re-traces his steps), as an artist who places two-dimensional lines in existing spaces with space-occupying gestures of painting/drawing, thus giving the spaces dynamism, removing their boundaries and enriching them by undreamt-of depth which hints at the dimension of time.