2/4/2019 - 4/22/2019

Jiří Valenta. Breath of Icons, Language of Meditation.

The exhibition will present Jiří Valenta’s creative path from the 1960’s and 70’s springing from earthy material structures and resulting in ethereally perceived painting of white on white. The large informel plaque (Collage II) from 1960 symbolically opens the exhibition and will outline Valenta’s creative sensitiveness which always headed towards order that, in the words of František Šmejkal, “was born from overcoming the matter by the spirit”. The collection of paintings from the 1960’s on the theme Portrait of the Situation (1965) or Portrait of the Annunciation (1966) will take the viewer to the occupation year 1968 when Valenta emigrated to the northern tip of Germany to Hof Dodau near Eutin. There he created the cycle of nine paintings, Tribute to Master Theoderic, subtitled Nine Attemps to Hang a Man into Space (1968) and a convolution of etchings Dodauer Billiard (Anthropometric Exercises) from 1969.
After 1970, Valenta moved to Plön. Existential necessity led him to the occupation of girdler he sensitively made use of in his cycle of Votive Plates for St. Lala and the cycle of Votive Plates on St. Krapp (1970). It is the very Plate on St. Krapp that represents the core of the second part of the exhibition, together with the collections of fragile paper collages. In 1977, Valenta ceased his activity of a painter on his own decision and dedicated himself to photography during the remaining years. He embedded his last paintings in deep white frames, piously covering them with glass and fixing them to rather large bottom plates like cases. Valenta’s lifelong theme of man’s encounter with the higher order of the universe which formed his artistic production from the very beginning achieved plenitude of meaning and spiritual fulfilment.


Curator: Ilona Víchová