press release

Few Czech artists have contributed to the development of an important international art movement. One such artist is Milan Kunc, a representative of the return of figurative painting in the 1970s at a time when the international scene was dominated by conceptual tendencies. In fact, Kunc had the chance to experience this conceptual period personally as a student of Joseph Beuys and Gerhard Richter at the Düsseldorf academy, where classical painting was considered outdated and a style of the past.

At the time, he had already spent nearly four years studying at the Prague academy, had been expelled because of his alleged lack of talent, and had subsequently emigrated to West Germany in 1969. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, he and two fellow students - fellow Czech Jan Knap and Germany’s Peter Angermann (who had an exhibition in Klatovy last year) - got together to form "Normal," an art group which, together with Germany’s "Neue Wilde" and the Italian avant-garde, helped to shape postmodern painting.

Their humor ran counter to the earnestness of those who saw art as a tool for the revolutionary transformation of the world, and their traditional approach contrasted with the coded language of the art world at the time. Most important, however, was the provocative combination of painterly quality, sharp intellect (thanks to which they were able to defend their approach on the theoretical level), and something seemingly lowbrow: banality, idyll, kitsch. The first decade of Kunc’s artworks have been described as "embarrassing realism" and "Ost-Pop" - a kind of East European version of pop art working with communist symbols. Over time, however, Kunc began to work less and less with irony, eventually arriving at a personal version of classical painting in which the critical point of view is replaced by positive contents and the image, relieved of all non-visual aspects, becomes an aesthetic experience in and of itself.

The exhibit’s curator is Marcel Fišer. On the occasion of the exhibit, the gallery has joined with the Arbor vitae publishing house and the Olomouc Museum of Art to release the book Milan Kunc: Portraits.

only in german

Milan Kunc
Amor and Psyche
Kurator: Marcel Fiser
Ort: Gallery at the White Unicorn, Klatovy