Forest Scenes, Gallery Valeč Castle, Czech Republic, 4–6.09.2019
The exhibition was organised as part of the International Symposium of Drawing and Painting VALEČ AND THE CZECH BAROQUE FROM VIEW OF EUROPEAN ARTISTS.
The project evokes the concept of the English garden which may sometimes resemble a forest owing to its irregular and vast size. The boundary between the man-shaped and natural landscape blending with the hunting territory was often indiscernible. In the past, the woods adjoining manors and their grounds were a wealth and status symbol of their owners as they enabled the pursuit of hunting. For ages, this popular pastime was an important element of the culture and tradition of the magnates. Although the historical ritual of hunting disappeared, nowadays it has been replaced by more violent methods of luring animals and surprising them at the most intimate moments. Hunting is being promoted by the argument of keeping the forest ecosystem in balance.
The Forest Scenes installation addresses the conflict which is going on in the public space regarding the forest overexploitation. The work was based on the epic vision of the forest by Peter Wohlleben. Interesting facts and details concerning the functioning and mutual relations of fauna and flora, which the author contained in his three volumes, inspired me to take an artistic stance on the issue.
Between June 2018 and April 2019 I made a series of fifty-four works, 50 × 70 cm
each, in the acrylic on paper technique. What is important is that (for the first time in my artistic practice) I undertook the figurative theme in my painting. Altogether I made over thirty illustrations depicting hunters, woodcutters, animal silhouettes and twenty-four pictures of plants. Combined in one large composition, the installation reaches the size of 900 × 210 cm. It features rhythmically interwoven figurative and abstract scenes, which are arranged in a simultaneous story about the inhabitants of the forest and the dangers they are facing.
In terms of form, the work is a continuation of my previous interest in the matter, colour and light, observed in the multitude and structural diversity of the plant kingdom. The attempt to capture their haptic properties was the basis of my elaborate painterly language. The textural effects produced as a result of accumulating several layers of paint aim to trigger the associations with fabrics. The monumental narrative composition brings to mind wall fabric decorations – tapestries. Therefore, the venue of their first presentation was not chance. The Baroque Valeč Castle is surrounded by a vast and irregular park. Its spacious halls, which in some places have retained the fragments of friezes, produced a perfect space for showcasing my monumental contemporary tapestry.