Václav Bláha

Václav Bláha

Throughout Václav Bláha’s work, the creation of a kind of psychic environment lies at the heart of his explorations. His innate desire to penetrate inside his forms of expression, to be inside them, inhabit them and experience them from within, is essential to understanding the thread unifying the multiplicity of his approaches. The human eye, hand and foot are engaged in the form of unspoken dialogue that compels us to consider issues of time and space; the duration of our being and the dimensions of our mortal perception within the broader patterns of culture, society and history. All of a sudden, we are the figures that once appeared in Bláha’s pictures, we are the beings that briefly inhabit the inner space of his monumental constructions.

Throughout Václav Bláha’s work, the creation of a kind of psychic environment lies at the heart of his explorations. His innate desire to penetrate inside his forms of expression, to be inside them, inhabit them and experience them from within, is essential to understanding the thread unifying the multiplicity of his approaches. It is only logical that this urge has reflected itself in a number of spatial projects whose concepts have been validated – it must be emphasised – by the presence of the viewer, who enters them, passes through them, leaves footprints and even participates in the work’s natural lifespan, its wear-and-tear and ultimate demise. The human eye, hand and foot are engaged in the form of unspoken dialogue that compels us to consider issues of time and space; the duration of our being and the dimensions of our mortal perception within the broader patterns of culture, society and history. All of a sudden, we are the figures that once appeared in Bláha’s pictures, we are the beings that briefly inhabit the inner space of his monumental constructions. Bláha’s symbolic forums are a focal point at which the ebb and flow of the individual’s consciousness merge into the almost imperceptible rhythm of collective human fate.

To better explain the significance of Václav Bláha’s latest work, a brief outline is needed of its background. From his earliest mature works of the 1970s, we see Bláha’s portrayals of contemporary man set in enclosed psychological arenas, the physical confinement of cramped living space and the mental confinement of oppressive solitude. His figures contort grotesquely, gripped and manipulated by unseen external forces, filled with the nausea of their own helplessness. His figurative themes of the 1970s and ’80s focus on the individual who is hemmed into some form of fatal grid of existence whose multi-gravitational weight compels the anonymous human figure to buckle under the pressure, imploding or exploding, spewing out pent-up frustration. Bláha’s energetic style of rendering these scenes provides a framework in itself for the life of the image. The restless tension of the drawn line, the comfortless rawness of the thickly coated paint, formed a single organism with what they are visually conveying. The idea and its material vehicle combine to form an inseparable entity. This symbolic empowerment of the material’s presence and the idea of process locked into the artwork’s meaning have continued to play a fundamental role in Bláha’s visual idiom.

The condensed and psychologically highly charged space of Bláha’s two-dimensional works led logically to the effort to break free into three dimensions; the knife cuts with which Bláha began ‘sculpting’ his figures ultimately injure and pierce the surface of the work itself, and the space of the viewer’s reality enters the equation as the work is penetrated or else deposits the slashed fragments of its body at the viewer’s feet. The flesh of the paint and the bone of the exposed underlayers form a plastic stage for the expressing of Bláha’s human dramas. As we see, the figure is not so much a self-defined actor as a wholly permeable and interrelating part of its psychological environment, as can best be seen in Bláha’s ‘Records’ and ‘Messages’ cycles of the 1990s. Here, the human figure becomes an increasingly ghost-like presence, fading away as an identifiable form into a criss-crossing web of colour bands. The figure dances a final convulsive gig on a duvet of pastose paint before melting almost entirely into a mélange of Twomblyesque crypto-communication. Words, or rather strings of self-addressed messages now come to the fore; individual pictures in the form of confessional notice boards can be arranged, mosaic-like, into larger wholes. Again, we sense Bláha’s need to focus on the plasticity of mental space, objectifying issues of human essence and existence. (Richard Drury)

Václav Bláha was born 1st April, 1949.

 

Studies

1964 – 1968 • Secondary Art School of Fine Arts V. Hollar in Prague

Academy of Fine Arts, Atelier Monumental paintings prof. Arnost Paderlik

 

Artist Groups

Member of Free Group 12/15

Member of SVU Manes till 2013

 

Solo Exhibitions

2017 • Rezonance | Resonance, Synagogue Gallery, Hranice, Czech Republic

2016 • Musíš Být | You must be, ASPEKT Gallery, Czech Republic

2016 • Václav Bláha, Montanelli Museum, Prague, Czech Republic

2016 • Fragmenty, struktury | Fragments, Structures, Morzin Gallery, Vrchlabí, Czech Republic

2013 • … zpět a tam | … back and there again, 1st Floor Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2012 • Průběžný stav | Continuous State, U Prstenu Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2012 • Příběhy | Stories, Via Art Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2012 • Pokud si pamatuji | As far as I remember, Dorka Gallery, Domažlice, Czech Republic

2010 • Průběžný stav mé duše | The continuous state of my soul, ASPEKT Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic

2010 • Vzkaz II | Message II, National Theatre – New Scene, Czech Republic

2010 • Příběhy | Stories, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Sokolov, Czech Republic

2009 • Kresby a obrazy | Paintings and Drawings, Magna Gallery, Ostrava, Czech Republic

2009 • Neonový Chodec | Neon Walker, Sýpka Gallery, Valašské Meziříčí, Czech Republic

2007 • …od každýho něco | … something of each, Dorka Gallery, Klatovy, Czech Republic

2006 • Prší | It’s raining, Via Art Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2005 • Hot Doks II, together with Daniel Pešta, Palas Festungsgraben Gallery, Berlin, Germany

2005 • Vedle sebe | Next to each other, Bechyně Castle, Czech Republic

2005 • …o mně a o tobě |… about me and about you, Montanelli Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2005 • Hot Doks, together with Daniel Pešta, Austelungen Halle, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

2003 • Ze mě | From me, Via Art Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1999 • Na váhu, za kus | Sold by weight, by piece, together with Pavel Kraus, Dům umění, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

1999 • Vzkazy | Messages, Mánes Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1998 • Otec a syn | Father and Son, together with V. Bláha Senior, Prácheň Museum in Písek, Czech Republic

1998 • A nebo tak | Or this way, Via Art Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1997 • Zastižen | Caught, together with Pavel Kraus, Czech Museum of Visual Arts, Prague, Czech Republic

1996 • Záznamy | Records, Nová Síň Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1995 • Raná tvorba | Early Works, 60/70 Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1995 • Via Art Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1994 • Art Fórum Gallery, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

1993 • Via Art Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1992 • Jaroslav Král Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic

1992 • Pod Vyšehradem Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1991 • Sovinec, at Jindřich Štreit’s, Czech Republic

1991 • OKS Opatov, Prague. Czech Republic

1986 • Czechoslovakian Writer’s Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic

1986 • Junior Klub, Prague, Czech Republic

1979 • District Museum Písek, Czech Republic

 

Selected Group Exhibitions

2016 • 12/15 Pozdě, ale přece | 12/15 late, bud better than never, Nová síň Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2016 • Symposium PS, Prčice Castle, Czech Republic

2016 • Perličky na zdi | Pearls on the wall, Gemaart, Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2016 • 12/15 Pozdě, ale přece – výběr | 12/15 late, bud better than never – selection, Gemaart Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2014 • 50/ Ze sbírek GKK | 50 from the GKK Collection, Klatovy, Czech Republic

2014 • Stav mysli-za obrazem | State of mind – beyond painting, GASK Gallery, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

2014 • Divný ročník | Weird vintage, Painting Symposium Dílna, Mikulov Castle, Czech Republic

2009 • Stopy ohně | Traces of fire, Visual Arts Gallery in Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic

2009 • Dolmen Aperto Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2008 • Art Traffic, Montmartre Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2008 • Obrazy slov | Images of Words, Memorial of National Literature Hvězda, Prague, Czech Republic

2008 • Nechci v Kleci | Don’t want to, Museum of Arts in Olomouc Czech Republic

2008 • Nový Zlínský Salon | New Art Salon in Zlín, Zlín, Czech Republic

2008 • Ve Dvoře Gallery, Veselí nad Moravou, Czech Republic

2007 • Ztracená nevinnost | Lost Innocence, Meet Factory, Prague, Czech Republic

2007 • Prague Biennale III, Karlin Hall, Prague, Czech Republic

2007 • Eros in Art II, Deset Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2006 • Okno do přírody | A window into nature, Visual Arts Gallery GVU Roudnice nad Labem, Czech Republic

2006 • Amor Vincit Omnia, Palas Festungsgraben Gallery, Berlin, Germany

2006 • Eros in Art, Špála Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

2005 • Exprese | Expression, Czech Museum of Visual Arts, Prague, Czech Republic

2005 • Diamant – Členská výstava SVU Mánes | Diamond – Exhibition of works by members of the SVU Mánes, Prague, Czech Republic

2005 • Šedá cihla 78/1991 | The Grey Brick 78/1991, Visual Arts Gallery in Klatovy-Klenová, Czech Republic

2005 • Nezlomní 70léta | The unbreakable 70s, Helsingin kaupungin taidemuseo, Helsinki, Finnland

2005 • 12/15 Český Globus | 12/15 Czech globe, National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic

2004 • Bleibtreu Gallery, Berlin, Germany

2003 • O člověku | About Human, Czech Museum of Visual Arts, Prague, Czech Republic

1999 • 6+1, Schick Gallery Saratoga Springs, USA

1997 • Tři jména | Three Names, Czech Center in Berlin, Germany

1996 • I. Nový Zlínský salon | 1st Zlín Salon, State Gallery in Zlín, Czech Republic

1996 • Umění zastaveného času | The Art of a Stopped Time, State Gallery in Cheb, Czech Republic

1996 • Umění zastaveného času | The Art of a Stopped Time, Czech Museum of Visual Arts, Prague, Czech Republic

1996 • Voices from the Interval, Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, UK

1996 • 12/15 Špét, ábr doch | 12/15 late, but better than never, Niederösterreichisches Landsmuseum, Vienna, Austria

1995 • Kresba nebo Obraz | Painting or Drawing, National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic

1994 • Záznam nejrozmanitějších faktorů | Record of the Most Multifarious Factors, National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic

1994 • 12/15 Malé formáty | 12/15 Small Formats, Via Art Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1994 • 12/15 U Zdymadla | 12/15 At the Sluice, Mánes Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1994 • Malováno v Praze | Painted in Prague, Frederikshavn Kunstmuseum, Frederikshavn, Denmark

1992 • Baroko a dnešek | Baroque and Today, Gallery of Arts, Litoměřice, Czech Republic

1991 • Art in Velvet Revolution, Nassau County Museum of Art, New York City, USA

1991 • …a po deseti letech | … and 10 years later, together with Novák, Ouhel, Rittstein, Pavlík, Sozanský, Gallery of Arts, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

1990 • Inoffiziel kunst der CSsR 1968-1989 | Unofficial Art of the 1968-1989’s Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Museum Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany

1990 • 12/15 Kreslení | 12/15 Drawing, Mladá Fronta Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

1988 • Forum 88, Holešovice Market Hall, Prague, Czech Republic

1988 • 12/15 Jeden mladší, jeden starší | 12/15 one younger, one older, People’s House, Prague, Czech Republic

1988 • 12/15 Pozdě, ale přece | 12/15 Late, but better than never, Koloděje, Prague, Czech Republic

1987 • Setkání 30 | Metting 30, People’s House, Prague, Czech Republic

1986 • Česká kresba 20.st. | Czech 20th Century Painting, Mikuláš Aleš’s South Bohemian Gallery, Hluboká, Czech Republic

1981 • Obrazy | Paintings, together with Ouhel, Pavlík, Rittstein and Sozanský, Gallery of Arts, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

 

Art Fairs

since 2000 • Art Prague, annual, represented by Gambit Gallery, Bleibtreu Berlin, Montanelli Gallery

2004 • Art Frankfurt

2005 • Munich Contempo

 

Commissions

1999 – 2001 • European House, Eschlkam, Germany

2000 – 2004 • Lightning, Charlotte, North Carolina, USAKonec formuláře

 

 

Collections

National Gallery in Prague

Museum Montanelli, Prague

South Bohemian Gallery, Hluboká nad Vltavou

Visual Arts Gallery GVU Liberec

Museum of Arts Olomouc

Museum of Arts Roudnice

GU Klenová

Visual Arts Gallery GVU Povážská Bystrica, Slovakia

numerous banks in the Czech Republic

international banks in Washington

TECHO, a.s. Prague

KDŠ Legal Prague

AAC N.Y.C. USA

and private collections in the Czech Republic, USA, Canada, England, France, Danmark, Germany, Slovakia