27. June 2015 - 30. August 2015
Curator David Bartoň
A lot of different newly established artist groups of the “1960’s generation” and their activities largely contributed to the then revival of the Czech society. One of those groups, which created in 1960, was UB 12. It soon became apparent, that members of this group, namely Václav Boštík, Jiří John, Adriena Šimotová and Oldřich Smutný, are the top representatives of Czech graphic art since the end of World War II.
Some, and also Šimotová, enriched modern art by gradually crossing borders of traditional visual art disciplines and bringing in means of expression from other fields. One of those who did not take this direction was Smutný, who never stopped expressing himself as a clean painter despite ever intensifying non-painterly tendencies of that time. Like John, he conceived painting holistically, both optically and haptically, and the significant part of his paintings were created with a “beautiful matter – belle matière”, formed with a strong brushwork. Colour scheme of his steady compositional schemes rotated, especially in monotypes, using inexhaustible imagination, and his clear blues and greens, bright yellows and reds surrounded by fine nuances of whites, which he understood like only very few modern painters secured him a very significant but often overlooked position amongst our colourists. These distinctive colour harmonies were inspired by beloved Southern Bohemia, his self proclaimed second home. He became its loyal and devoted portrayer and the symbolic paintings which celebrate the landscape around the city of Písek with white houses between blooming trees, swans on mirroring ponds, and clouds on a sky blue, along with Špála’s paintings of Otava, belong to the most painterly, musically and positively charged art of European culture in the 20th century – with all affinity to the art of France. Oldřich Smutný would have turned 90 this year and the exhibition of a selection of his extensive artwork in Museum Kampa is well deserved.
DAVID BARTOŇ (born 1964) graduated the Czech University of Life Sciences in Brno and worked as an agricultural engineer, warehouseman, innkeeper, ceramist and director of the City Gallery in Telč. Since 1998 he has been a curator, gallery owner and artist. He paints primarily the landscape of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands.