PRESS RELEASE: Thailand through the Eyes of Czech Painters Martina Chloupa and Jan Stoss
September 26, 2008 - November 2, 2008
The National Gallery in Prague
4th-floor respirium of the Veletržní Palace
The exhibition has been prepared by the National Gallery in Prague, Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand
Exhibition concept: Tomáš Vlček
Curators: Lucie Šiklová and Tomáš Vlček
Graphic design: Pavel Bosák
Production: Dagmar Němečková
Installation: NG’s Installation Group headed by Jiří Leubner
Education programmes: Education Department of NG’s Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art
NG’s chief partner: UniCredit Bank
Chief media partner: Hospodářské noviny
Media partners: Classic FM, ČRo 3 - Vltava, Radio 1
Thailand through the Eyes of Czech Painters...
The paintings on view in the exhibition “Thailand through the Eyes of Czech Painters Martina Chloupa and Jan Stoss” have been inspired by the artists’ impressions from their tour of Thailand in March 2008, organized by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand in Prague, in partnership with Thai Airways International and the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The Embassy enabled the artists to become acquainted with Thailand’s varied countryside, enjoy its many historical and cultural landmarks, meet and stay with peasant families, and to learn about the Thai people’s customs, traditions, cooking and way of life in general. The purpose of the project was to increase the general public’s awareness about Thailand through the painters’ experiences translated into their art.
The exhibition presents works created on the basis of the artists’ study trip. The beauty of this popular Far Eastern destination with its fascinating scenery and innumerable historical sights is echoed with sensitivity in the paintings and drawings of the two Czech artists. In their creations, distinguished by an impressive delicacy of simplified forms and a colour scheme that transpose the exotic experiences to the realm of nostalgia, the allure of the Thai milieu is perceived and interpreted through a contemporary artistic idiom.
“The two-week stay in the central and northern regions of Thailand was an intensive feast for all the senses. Specific tastes, fragrances, colours, light, sun, culture and people. I was fascinated by the details, ornateness, monumentality and quantity of sculptures, the exquisite intarsia techniques (gem and mother-of-pearl inlays), colour mosaics, spectacular paintings and the omnipresent gold hue. Most of my paintings capture fragments of architecture, large and small sculptures and reliefs - both figural and floral, as well as details of flowers, trees, decorations, Buddhas and people. I approach my images intuitively, rather than schematically, even though I’ve strived to create series based on themes and techniques that I opted for and which determined my painting method: watercolours on hand-made paper, acrylic paints on canvas, and mixed media - acrylic paint and sprinkled sand; my choice was purely intuitive...”
"Our visit to the Kingdom of Thailand this March was my first trip to Asia; not so for my colleague Martina Chloupa. This made my curiosity regarding this distant country all the greater. The entire collection of my paintings and drawings could also be titled “Thai Eastertime”, as we spent that Christian holiday in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country. We met with imprints of the Buddhist religion everywhere. There are great many monasteries and temples, as well as smaller shrines, even on private properties. All abounds with life, decorated with flowers and colourful ribbons. Our occasional encounters with traces of the Christian faith therefore seemed that much rarer. I captured one such encounter in my painting “Cross”. Just as evidence of the Buddhist religion is ubiquitous there, so are the expressions of profound respect for the sovereign, which seem to be spontaneous and genuine. Portraits of the King and his family are seen frequently. The monarchic establishment evokes in us the romantic quality of bygone days. Yet it has been only ninety years since our own country set on a republican course. The Czech lands have been ruled by a monarchy for most of their existence. Even the founders of the Czechoslovak Republic had initially counted on the new state being a kingdom. Thailand’s nature and architecture are essentially more ornate and, as I expected, also more variegated - with such colours as pink, purple, orange, gold and silver... Yet we also find subtler tones there, as we know from our own homeland; there are those of ancient monasteries, rice fields, “death” railroads along the River Kwai. The Thai cuisine deserves particular praise. It took me a while to become accustomed to its spiceness, but now I eagerly seek out Thai restaurants in Prague. Our visit took place during Eastertime. The exhibition will be on display roughly between the Feast of Saint Wenceslas and the anniversary commemorating the establishment of our republic. I don’t try to feign an expert knowledge of Thailand. I attempt to present an unbiased view through the eyes of a visitor from another religion and another culture, to collect what is different from us and to find what we have in common.”
About the artists:
Martina CHLOUPA (born 1976) - painter and sculptress, graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Her works are housed in the National Gallery in Prague and in private collections. Chloupa exhibits in the Czech Republic and abroad, she lives and works in Prague. The painter and sculptress Martina Chloupa ranks with the emerging generation of young contemporary artists. Her creative pursuits reflect the current trend of “intermedia” art and therefore comprise a broad range of genres, from painting and photography to three-dimensional objects made of unusual materials, such as latex rubber. Nevertheless, Martina Chloupa engages largely in traditional, expressive painting. Hand in hand with the measure of expressiveness in her works goes the corresponding communicated content, which includes relationships, their very existence, affirmation, denial, or mere statement, seen from different perspectives and through various exponents. All these aspects shape her interest in human and animal figures and their existence, more than in their story itself. Similarly, she is attracted in her paintings by nature, through which she translates more general subjects. Just as in her series “Companions”, she chooses a concrete dog or cat from her encounters with animals, so she selects certain sections from landscapes, interpreting through them her own, generally valid statements that develop from and ultimately depend on concrete situations.
Jan STOSS (born 1964) - painter, graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. His works are housed in the National Gallery in Prague, the Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Germany, and in private collections. The artist works as an instructor in evening drawing courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Jan Stoss is a prominent figure within the younger generation of Czech artists. He specializes in portraiture and figurative art. In his paintings of Heyrovský, Kramář and particularly in his superb portraits of T. G. Masaryk and Cardinal František Tomášek, he has indicated new artistic possibilities for contemporary Czech portrait painting. He also engages in the visual representation of Czech statehood, patriotism and the Czech national feeling. Here, he moves between classical art expression and the grotesque, frequently bordering on the brink of comic-strip aesthetics. Landscape painting is another genre embraced by Stoss. His works feature a characteristic stylization and an intriguing use of colour and dotted grids. Attesting to his brilliant draughtsmanship, firm contours outline planes of washed transparent colours, and the final image is evocative of the watercolour technique employed on a large scale. Like in his figural images, content and context are equally important to Stoss as a landscape painter. All these qualities reflect the artist’s highly distinctive contemporary approach to landscape painting and its execution.
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 4 p.m. Guided tour of the exhibition Thailand through the Eyes of Czech Painters Martina Chloupa and Jan Stoss; commentary by Tomáš Vlček, Director of the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Admission: free / Duration: 30-60 minutes / Meeting point: Veletržní Palace’s ticket office
The National Gallery in Prague
Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art - Veletržní Palace
Dukelských hrdinů 47, Praha 7
Open daily, except Mondays, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission to this exhibition is valid for the permanent exhibition as a whole:
Regular fee: 160 Kč, after 4 p.m.: 100 Kč
Reduced fee: 80 Kč, after 4 p.m.: 80 Kč
Family fee: 200 Kč, after 4 p.m.: 100 Kč