Art from the Heart

Curator Miroslav Ambroz
Co-Curators Josef Bolf、Pavel Brázda、Tomáš Císařovský、Jan Hísek、Veronika Holcová、Jan Knap
Artists Josef Zlamal、Jan Švankmajer、Jakub Špaňhel、František Skála、Daniel Pitín、Věra Nováková
Organizer Embassy of the Czech Republic

What does it mean to be Czech in art and the heart

The cartoon character Mole (Krtek),The Good Soldier Švejk, Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera,and Antonín Dvořák, are world renowned icons coming from the same place, The Czech Republic. The exhibition ART FROM THE HEART: Contemporary Art from the Czech Republic – the Heart of Europe will open on April 25, 2015 at the Power Station of Art (PSA) is the largest exhibition of Czech contemporary artworks in China, with a collection of 17artists’ masterpieces. These artists view their passion and spiritual needs astheir basic beliefs in art, endowing their art with an expressiveness that transcends any language. It also touches our heart and sub-conscious, makes us resonate with the artists, and allows us to both wander in the fantasy world that they created and to listen to their voices. In this exhibition, art is pure, energetic, and powerful—it’s like a pump that injects joy into our lives.

On the opening day, the curator of the exhibition Miroslav Ambroz, and three participating artists Vladimír Kokolia, Jakub Špaňhel and Jan Knap will hold a seminar to talk about Czech contemporary art and their individual works. You are warmly welcome to come!

The opening of the exhibition Art from the Heart at the Shanghai Power Station of Art takes place on at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, 2015, and the exhibition will run for two months. Preceding the opening of the exhibition itself, beginning at 1 p.m., Czech and Chinese artists will have an opportunity to discuss current issues relating to their work at the Art Forum, which is open to the public. The format of the seminar will be presentations by three participating artists, which will be moderated by the Czech Ambassador to China, Mr. Libor Sečka. The installation of the exhibition begins on April 20. The curator of the exhibition is Dr. Miroslav Ambroz. The exhibition is held under the patronage of the Czech Minister for Regional Development, Mrs. Karla Šlechtová, and will be opened by the Chairman of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Mr. Jan Hamáček. The exhibition presents 17 Czech artists, eight of whom are personally attending the opening.

On Sunday, April 26, 2015, a group of artists  traveled by train to Beijing, and from Monday, April 27, to Friday, May 1, there will be a series of informal meetings with Chinese artists, including studio visits, an improvised exhibition at the Czech embassy, dinners, and other opportunities for discussion. Such a large group of Czech artists has not been in China since the mid-1950s. This represents something we can call, with some slight exaggeration, a Czech-Chinese art connection. The coordinator of all the practical issues related to the stay of the artists and to the exhibition is Mr. Martin Hošek, the Czech Embassy’s cultural attaché.

The exhibition presents an extraordinary selection of Czech contemporary art, including works by acknowledged masters as well as outstanding works by established artists from the middle and younger generations. The variety of art forms and subject matter gives the entire project a great vibrancy and energy. The central idea and unifying thread connecting all elements of this exhibition is their genuineness and sincerity. The works exhibited here originated from a deep inner feeling, an inner conviction. And that is precisely their power. The list of authors can be found in the addendum.

From an inner conviction - The introduction of the exhibition of Contemporary Art from the Czech Republic

Due to its location, the Czech Republic is often referred to as the heart of Europe. Romantic notions consider the heart to be the dwelling place of love, emotion and the soul. In Chinese medicine, the heart is also the dwelling place of the “I”, our ego. Sensitive individuals are thought to be destined to express themselves through artistic means, therefore an artwork is perceived not just as an imprint of the artist’s soul but also as a reflection of the time or place in which it was created.

The concept “Spirit of Place / Genius Loci” has a very strong resonance in European culture. It may seem to have lost significance in today’s globalized world – but is this actually true? Can we still talk about the influence of the genius loci on art works that originate in a particular geographical region? We regularly encounter the term “spirit of place” in connection with art forms such as literature and music – Czech music and literature have already won their place in world culture. But why doesn’t Czech visual art also hold such a position? If there exists a strong and distinctive cultural tradition in a given place – for example, Prague as it is portrayed in the books of Kafka and Hašek – can we also find it in the paintings or sculptures of artists from this part of Europe? In other words, do original artists spring from Czech soil, or do Czech artists merely adopt time-proven artistic trends? Is it possible to pinpoint characteristic hallmarks of Czech visual art? Are they imbued with a genius loci?

This exhibition offers us an uncommon view of Czech visual art, from a distance of several thousand kilometres. This separation, which is compounded by cultural and environmental differences, enables us to look at things from a new perspective, in a new context. It is therefore possible to discover completely new connections and meanings which may not be completely evident in the place where the work originated.

The title of the exhibition also has a second and perhaps even more significant meaning: For the artists who are represented here, art is an obsession, an inner necessity, “a matter of the heart”, as it is often called. Some of the artists develop such strong an emotional bond with their works that they part with them only very reluctantly. They become almost like one of their children.