Generation One - The first generation of Czech postmodernism
17 / 06 / 2017 - 06 / 07 / 2017
Cermak Eisenkraft and Bohemian Heritage Fund, Litomysl.
Exhibition‘s author: David Železný and Tomáš Zapletal
Artists: Malich Kučerová Hilmar Gebauer Kmentová Bielecki Koblasa Janoušek Janoušková Nepraš Kolíbal Kyncl Zeithamml Veselý
The most important exhibition of Smetana’s visual arts Litomyšl programme, for the first time, corresponds to the musical part of the festival.” We arrived at the theme through reflection of one of the cornerstones of the music programme of this year’s festival – the performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 known as “Titan”. Who are the Titans of visual arts? Probably someone different for each of us. Nevertheless, in the course of long debates we unanimously agreed on those who defined the Czech visual arts as few others did. Our first postmodern generation. Koblasa, Kolíbal, Gebauer, Nepraš, Veselý and others – every single one of them approached their creative activity differently, but in a uniquely characteristic style. They were born around 1930, experienced extremely difficult periods of Czech history, and managed to cope with them formally by working with materials. The curator David Železný is reluctant to call them sculptors as the term sounds too archaic in connection with their innovative forms of expression. In any case, they completely changed the Czech history of visual arts.
Just as the Titans were the predecessors of the mortals, the “Generation One” artists were the predecessors of present-day artists, such as the exhibition architect Federico Díaz. The compact space of the Litomyšl brewery allows us to let the works of these exceptional artists come into mutual confrontation with one another, while one aspect emerges that represents a crucial common denominator for all of them. Despite the great differences in techniques and themes, they share something significant in their approach – the confidence in their inner voice. The artistic courage that is emphasised in the curatorial text by David Železný and Federico Díaz is a great power behind their creative output that is felt by every viewer, erudite or untrained, from the art enthusiast to the casual visitor.
Courage in artistic expression as well as in personal life is a quality that we, within the Bohemian Heritage Fund, search for and value in the long-term. And I firmly believe that the courage of patronage, an activity with uncertain result that, moreover, requires a great personal determination and a prolonged social engagement, is sometimes an envoy of great things.
Our second principle is a dialogue – among us, the patrons of the foundation, as well as with the artists we work with. I am very pleased that what we hoped for has come to fruition: the dialogue between the music and the visual art programmes of the festival is universally enriching. For both parts of the festival as well as for us personally. The experience of the “Generation One” is certainly among the most beautiful awaiting us this summer.
Pavel Smutný, President of Bohemian Heritage Fund