"Tomáš Císařovský - Erika Bornová"
15.2. - 19.5.2013
Curator: Richard Adam
The joint exhibition of the works of Tomáš Císařovský and Erika Bornová in the Wannieck Gallery in Brno will be, to an extent, unique. It will be, in effect, the first time that this artist couple will share a retrospective of each other’s works. This is definitely the case for Tomáš Císařovský, at least. The grand premises of the Wannieck Gallery will see the conclusion of the showcase of Tomáš’s works that was opened several years ago on the premises of the East Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice. The works of his wife, Erika, only confirm, with regard to the object and statuary, the justification for and grandeur of the exhibition.
Tomáš Císařovský (born 1962) is one of the key players in the 1980s generation in Czech painting. Since his time as a student at the Academy of Decorative Arts in Prague, Tomáš has been gradually developing his distinctive style and fingerprint, which have, from the start, marked him amongst the major artists of his generation. Following his, sometimes surrealist, pictures of 1986-87, he gradually evolved his own painting style, which, for the first time, reached its full expression in the Deník dědečka legionáře (‘Diary of an Old Legionnaire’) of 1988-89. The ‘moments’ mapping the old legionnaire’s journey back to his homeland see the full expression of a clear depiction of the scene, where the painter abandons surrealist tendencies and conveys and represents important moments along the journey, be they realistic geographical representations (Sumatra) or exotic creatures, in simplified form. In any event, it is in this work that we are first introduced to Císařovský’s world in its unadulterated form.
A more striking expression of this can be seen in the Masaryk cycle of 1989, where, using a somewhat darker palate, the artist introduces the President-Liberator, but without resorting to pathetism or insipid exaggeration. Cisařovský depicts Masaryk with humour and detachment, avoiding the need for officiality and formality that might otherwise result from a depiction of the President.
There is no point going into detail about all the individual cycles from Císařovský’s oeuvre that are presented at the exhibition. In general it can be said that the painting method and mode of expression which he achieved, even as far back as his early cycles, is in a state of continual development and variation, with new experiences constantly appearing in their plans. I will therefore only briefly mention the changes in expression and colour tone following sojourns in Latin America and Tahiti. It is significant that the variations in expression do not, obviously, affected only the tone and colour, but also go hand-in-hand with the change in themes (even though the basic register of themes and motifs is a given), profiling and presenting to the viewer an entirely new take on the scene depicted which, while based on reality and realism, shifts the scene in question into the realms of a bizarre, in my opinion sometimes a dream-, world. Admittedly, not everyone may agree with this point of view. Take a look at the pictures on display at the exhibition in the Wannieck Gallery and judge for yourself.
Císařovský’s watercolours form a distinct branch of his oeuvre. To be frank, Císařovský’s paper represents, at least in my opinion, probably one of the peaks of contemporary Czech work in this field, and I am delighted that watercolours will be one of the main components of this exhibition. Aside from a cross-section of Císařovský’s previous works, and some of his latest creations, the exhibition shall give a comprehensive view of the journey taken by the author in his 25 years in art.
While Tomáš Císařovský will exhibit his works in the main exhibition space of the Wannieck Gallery, Erika Bornová will utilise the unique premises offered by the Galerie Na mostě. This display will stretch along the crane bridge extending through the entire gallery in parallel with, albeit at a certain remove from, the main exhibition space and will play host to an interesting dialogue between Císařovský’s pictures, on the one hand, and the sculptures presented in the gallery, on the other.
Erika Bornová’s exhibition, however, is not a retrospective in the true sense of the word, nor is one even possible in the Galerie Na mostě. It is more of a look back at her previous works and selected samples tracing her artistic path, which do, however, contain all the characteristic features that mark out the work of Erika Bornová. What is characteristic of her work is the fact that it takes classic figure sculpture as its starting-point, then modifying it through the use of a non-traditional material, polystyrene, in the creation of statues. This, together with the scale of her statues and a certain universality of themes depicted, creates a very interesting alternative to the works of Tomáš Císařovský, in which figurative motifs are the dominant element.
Tomáš Císařovský turned fifty this year, and maturity and balance appears to be one of the decisive criteria in the painter’s current task, which is to create a large-scale canvas depicting 12 monks who were beaten to death by a Prague mob in 1612. The picture shall be permanently housed in the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Prague, immediately opposite a canvas by Václav Reiner, in honour and recognition of his work. Tomáš Císařovský today already counts amongst the classic Czech painters. This wide-ranging retrospective of his previous oeuvre, enriched with the works of his wife, is – I believe – a worthy look back over the last 25 years.