Jan Melka – Le Bruits des murs/ The Sound of Walls – Ground Effect Gallery | Paris – text by Ivo Barraza Castaneda


An unforgivable, grey Tuesday afternoon in Paris. I arrived in front of the door of Ground Effect Gallery and immediately, I realised that you don’t need a large color palette to light up the landscape. The sidewalk in front of the Gallery is decorated in grey and white, but the pattern itself improved my mood. Everything inside cohabits in perfect harmony. From the young staff, all dressed in black streetwear to the selection of artworks, the gallery breaths and transmits young energy. I am here on a mission; I am here to visit the latest exhibition by contemporary artist Jan Melka, I quickly detect her canvases, after all, they all speak the same language, bold black strokes over a white background, simple but effective. So effective, that very quickly, I felt moved by the images, I wonder if it’s my own mood, my own experience, or my own need to evacuate emotions that makes me feel so touched by the images, but as I advance further, larger canvases appear, and I decode a certain modernist aesthetic that has always spoken to me, that speaks to us all. It’s all about the gesture. That one-of-a-kind second, frozen in time forever through the gesture that only the artist, at that very specific moment in time and space, could have possibly conceived. It makes you wonder, where does the gesture really come from? Then, I continue my tour through the exhibition. An inner voice whispers to me: “symbolism”, and right there; I fully understand what  the work of Jan Melka is about that speaks directly to my soul. It is a contemporary take on emotions that come further than ourselves, that freely takes the approach from past, present and future, and it narrates something. I believe you can create your own narrations by looking at the images, but they also happen to be quite concrete stories for Melka.



Actually, the paintings are meant to be a portrait of the state of isolation or this new form of reality that we are all suffering from in our world. “The sound of walls” refers to the light sounds you start listening to after paying eternal attention to your interiors. Sounds that echo with your own interior thoughts. Thoughts that worry about the current state of society. Incomplete feminism, migratory struggles, racism… Jan Melka created a reflective capsule that joins the world of the isolated with the intrigue of the spectator, which in the end; is one single world.



As Paris goes through a new form of lock-down, which will not allow galleries to remain open for the next four weeks, at the time that I’m writing this article; I will share below the link to Ground Effect, the gallery hosting Jan Melka’s exhibition. So readers can browse further into their different platforms of communication.

Ground Effect – 28 Rue Meslay, 75003








Ivo Barraza Castaneda

Hello, my name is Ivo. My three favorite things in life are: Thinking deeply about visual creation. I like having long discussions of ideas that might reinvent the course of history. And finally, spending time with the people I love. Since I was a child, I was always involved in some activity around plastic arts, music and literature. That’s how I learned to sew by hand at the age of five, which later led me to focus on my main professional media: Fashion Design.