As usual, the Black Swan Gallery presents the work of selected art students every summer. This year, promising young artists studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague are presented. They are mainly engaged in classical media such as sculpture and painting, which continue to enjoy a privileged position in the art world. This exhibition bears witness to the fact that the emerging generation is successfully finding new ways - innovative approaches and techniques, as well as novel themes. The result has been a varied and diverse mosaic of painting and sculpture that does not abandon its underlying interest in the human being.
The human figure under the hands of sculptors is subject to radical deformation or fragmentation. Familiar shapes are lost in an amorphous, liquid substance. Where does the resemblance to the human body begin and where does it end? Does humanity itself disappear? Expressive dehumanization also occurs due to the influence of strong emotions that painfully upset matter. Its unbridled layering and interweaving leads to the very limit of abstracting body parts. This dystopian version of man is noticeably marked by the weight of torn feelings of confusion, fear and alienation.
The idealised female sculptures, representing perfect beauty and balance of proportions through sharp surgical cuts, also work with the motif of the human fragment, the desire for completeness and its perceptible loss. The uncompromising encroachment on normative wholeness both tempts the eye and disturbs.
The material figure, however, can also capture an element that is completely elusive and fleeting, yet absolutely indispensable. Air clings not only to the lungs, it fills every cell, permeating the entire interior to the surface. The body, thanks to the air element, floats, dematerializes, takes on transparent forms. It perceptibly makes the invisible breath present as the fragile essence of life.
The paintings move from civil realism, which still finds its charm in the everyday reality of human existence, to metaphorical scenes that tell the story of the human likeness by means of a peculiar exaggeration of colour and shape. Like an ancient fable, they depict a subtle puppet play about the undulating human race. The beast, living in a pack, is connected to man mainly by the need to belong to a collective, to identify with the community, to anchor in a familiar comfortable space. At first glance, the theme of subcultures is dealt with in cheerful, pastel-hued paintings. Deep down, however, they can hide darkness, a suffocating insecurity or a longing for a lost childhood - an age of innocence and guileless honesty.
At a time when fears of the irreversible consequences of foolish ecological gambling are beginning to be realised, traditional landscape painting is gaining an important appeal. Seemingly barren natural scenery of mesmerising colour conveys a disturbing message about the rebellion of the elements, which the world will probably no longer be able to avoid. The ethereal paintings, playing out an impressive symphony of delicate colour tones, represent in their purest form the expression of the human spirit - an inner personal statement as a manifesto of free and liberated creativity
Michaela Vaňková, curator