Close Encounters, Distant Worlds


Ľuba Bakičová, Jiří Hauschka, Lukáš Rais

The exhibition brings together three outstanding artists from the Czech Republic and three artistic disciplines - painting, sculpture and glass art. Despite the diversity of the individual artistic strategies, the exhibition forms one exciting whole, where abstract sculptures and glass are combined with paintings with forest motifs in what we could call, with some exaggeration, an exhibition gesamtkunstwerk.

With the paintings of Jiří Hauschka (born 1965 in Šumperk), we enter an environment where there is a confrontation, or rather a symbiosis, between man and landscape. The natural environment influences us more than we admit. Some painters have long felt this way, especially in places where there is more nature, i.e. in the northern parts, with forests and lakes, or in the southern parts, with jungles and waterfalls. There, the events connected with man are perhaps more raw, more real, more on the skin. Civilization cannot escape even into the wildest forests. Especially when we meet painters there, whether in fantasy or in reality.

Jiří Hauschka turns to the type of painting for which colours and symbolic connotations are important, as was the case at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries - in this period, Jiří Hauschka refers in particular to the Canadian painter Tom Thomson, who lived from 1877 to 1917 - or in the studios of contemporary artists such as Daniel Richter or Peter Doig. Reality is transformed in the painter's narrative into a layered narrative, where artistic memory is mixed with new experiences, insights, desires, and emotional stirrings. In the case of Jiří Hauschka, we find ourselves in the wilderness, the wilderness of painterly nostalgia, where we search for the human, and in urban civilization, that civilization which is on the verge of its possibilities, and where we thus feel and see the colours of the wilderness.

Glass and spatial creation have a long tradition in the Czech Republic; as far as glass art is concerned, it is quite unique in the world context. Remarkable glass products have been produced in the Czech Republic since at least the 18th century; after the Second World War, however, there was a close connection between glassmaking and free art, when a number of self-nomic sculptural and spatial objects were created. These made use of different types and kinds of glass, as well as a number of glassworks, which allowed for often quite unusual artistic solutions. This specific activity continues even in modern times, as evidenced, for example, by the work of Ľuba Bakičová (born 1985 in Ilava, Slovakia), a Slovak artist working in the Czech Republic. Ľuba works with glass creatively and sees it as a distinctive art object, which she also likes to combine with another material, concrete. This creates a tension that, in addition to the accents of meaning, surprises the viewer in their visual expectations. Luba Bakičová treats glass as a dynamic mass, which just now has frozen in unfinished movement. The contrast between the distinctive colour and luminous transparency of glass and the grey mass of concrete has a sculptural advantage in addition to its visual merits, where concrete and glass support each other, allowing for unusual shape configurations.

The work of sculptor Lukáš Rais (born 1975 in Sokolov) is characterized by the use of industrially produced components, especially metal pipes, in the artistic process. He is attracted by the perfection of the material, which invites him to a number of sculptural creations. Clusters of pipes, placed in exteriors and interiors, prove the correctness and purposefulness of this path. The intertwining tubes can evoke both artificial and natural situations. They can be "read" equally well as an aesthetic achievement or as a certain metaphor for human existence in contemporary society. At the same time, their smooth polished surface reflects light and distortedly mirrors the observer and the surrounding environment.

Lukáš Rais works with simple geometric curves that create aesthetically graceful configurations. Sometimes he tends to simplify his means of expression to the maximum and to concentrate his expression. He uses, for example, a circle, a basic geometric shape, which, as always with Lukáš, is made with perfect technology, and which has both a calming and unsettling effect by the way it is placed. Most of Lukáš's sculptures are more or less elaborate "Braids" that can communicate as well a reflection on the infinite and hidden as well as visible interconnectedness of all our actions as they can satisfy the aesthetic desires of our eyes, which glide along the creative curves of the sculptor's imagination and fantasy. The smoothness of the amorphous shapes surely beckons us to physically touch the surface of the sculpture, and perhaps even takes us back to our childhood when we just played with shapes and imaginations with our eyes and hands for long moments in the endless timelessness.

We would like the whole exhibition to unleash the visitor's imagination and for a moment transport them to another dimension, full of contemplative associations, witty aesthetics and philosophical insight.

Martin Dostál, Curator