press release

Ptress Release:

After exhibitions that presented Czech painting of the 1980s and 1990s generations, the Wannieck Gallery comes out with a presentation of interesting artists who entered (and in fact are still entering) the Czech art stage during the noughties of the 21st century. This means in a period which, to a certain extent, is still ongoing. To select such painters is even more difficult as some of them are still studying at academies of fine arts and a presentation of their works produced in the microclimate of an academy or a university does not necessarily reflect the real quality present in the works of individual artists, at least in some cases. In spite of this, we decided to organise such an exhibition, despite understanding (and being aware of) the risk involved. Unlike the painting of the 1980s generation, which was determined on the one hand by postmodernist trends (although not only) and by the practically dying socialist totalitarianism on the other, and unlike the 1990s generation, which was dictated, at least at the beginning, by the art stream described as the “Czech AbstraHction” (Česká abstraHce), the painting of the contemporary Czech young generation lacks a unifying element or stream. Generally speaking, just about anything can be painted. The level of originality and of course quality are the only determining factors. This can create to a certain extent a “liberating” impression, but at the same time the constant presence of the “quality” criterion corrects this apparently broad scope. In other words, despite considerable looseness, quality and originality remain the crucial criterion. Shouldn't the “broad scope” be explained? Does this broad scope apply to various approaches to painting? Or to the themes that are mostly covered in the pictures? Or to something else? While emphasizing the quality aspect, which is of course primary, the “broad scope” manifests itself at several levels. First of all, we would like to mention thematic aspects, where the broadness is most distinct at first sight. In terms of themes and subjects, there is a broad spectrum to select from. From surreal tendencies to geometry, from extracts of works by significant minimalist artists and modernism in general to Gothic or Baroque painting variations, from street-art graffiti techniques to pure abstraction, from early Chagall to perfect, basically realistic drawing. It would be impossible to analyse works by all the artists so let us concentrate on a few characteristic ones. In his works, Luděk Rathouský takes pictures by the Master of Hohenfurth. He uses them as a basis, borrows but at the same time recreates the themes and motifs, exceeding and developing the logic of Gothic painting. Evžen Šimera works with “a drop of paint flowing away” and his, at first sight, geometrically treated image surfaces shift the manner of expression, in terms of painting technique, not only thematically but also purely technically. Václav Girsa is, at first sight, a very expressively creative artist, who does not stick to traditional expression alone. Humour, grimace, questioning of the self as artist together with various alternative materials and “shticks” shift his works into a certain wild and satirical twirl. And Jakun Matuška? A graffiti Masker? Works placed on canvas and thus somehow “refined”? Even this is a significant shift compared to the 1990s, both thematically and in terms of the artist’s “feelings”. Those were a few particular examples. Furthermore, let us say a few words about the selection of artists. The selection made by the curator of the exhibition is clearly subjective. Or rather, it is based on the curator’s subjectively felt priorities. At the same time, it is clear that another curator would make a selection with partial changes, he would simply make a different selection to a certain extent. Another curator might include in the exhibition paintings by, for instance, Jaromír Novotný or Milan Houser; or would consider the inclusion of Lubomír Typlt. If the youngest artists interested another curator, Petr Krátký or Radim Langer would be included. There are more choices. However, this cannot question the legitimacy of the selected artists and their involvement in the current exhibition.

“The Painting of the 21st Century Noughties Generation” is in fact specifically new but at the same time is based on or follows up on the preceding period and its artistic expression. It is centred around several interesting artists and, despite its not yet fully developed potential, promises to become one of the top painting efforts of previous generations.

Painting of the 21st Century Noughties Generation

Künstler: Ludek Rathousky, Evzen Simera, Vaclav Girsa, Jakun Matuska ...