22/3 — 20/4/2018
At first glance, the art of Přemysl Procházka feels like the work of a solitary and peripheral autodidact. Although Procházka possesses a proper university education and has worked under strong pedagogical guidance, his style not only shows no signs of any specific school of art, it also betrays no academic training whatsoever. Procházka has set himself a clear and demanding objective – to find the essential mixture that, using the proper incantations, will give birth to an authentic painting/being. Naturally, he has no intention to waste time on something that in his eyes would be devalued by mediating reality or that would be compromised through the depiction of illusions.
Procházka’s creative method closely resembles alchemy and possesses a certain aesthetic pragmatism. Perhaps for this reason his work combines, in an absolutely unconscious manner, modernist experimentation, the rawness of Art Brut, and the vocabulary of folk art. Procházka seeks out close contact through the physicality of mixed media and reliefs, and by layering organic materials or “crawling across” the painting. He chooses unusual formats in which he anxiously arranges everything so that we may tell what is down and what is up, what is right and what is left – and above all, what is inside and what is out. Everything takes place in a kind of model-making privacy that nevertheless is open to the all-knowing perspective of the deep cosmos.
As he says in his own words: “I follow the path of visual tastes and material truth. I work with layers – I paint something that I later paint over with another layer. In this way, I assign a value to what I have painted merely on the basis of its presence in the painting. All this is in the interest of authenticity – if something cannot be seen, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And so even the unseen must exist in the painting.”
In other words, even the artist himself sees the painting as a functional and easy-to-read map. For the viewer, it is a mysterious island that according to fragmentary reports contains a hidden treasure. What is at stake are the viewer’s trust and his strained awareness of time and matter. Each image at this exhibition is an event, an ordinary story with all its misery and mystery, its complicated past and its pure present.
curated by Michal Pěchouček