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Home Bittersweet Home

24. 11. 2023 - 24. 2. 2024

Still life is one of the most common subjects depicted in visual arts. Its still living form and constant updating is proof of its timelessness. Although this genre has undergone significant development - not only from a formal point of view, but also considerably in terms of content, it is interesting to see how it still resonates not only with its creators, but also with viewers. Motifs, previously most often painted according to a model and carrying a specific reference, symbolism or period taste, are now replaced by objects of personal use, objects that have a key meaning mainly for the author and yet can resonate universally.

Matěj Janák (* 1988) is an artist for whom motif is important and to a large extent it is precisely his expressive painting style that describes it. The genesis of his current expression stems from his long-term experience in the field of graffiti, in which he refined his feeling for linear depiction, monumental execution and at the same time fast expressive work. The path from the almost unlimited areas of not only public space led him to the studio to the area of painting canvases, on which he transfers the contents of his personal inventory in a streamlined form. A vase with a flower on a table, a push-button mobile phone or a basketball – motifs that often appear in his paintings are varied in more and more formal designs. Certain "pillars" of his work not only refer to objects to which he has a personal connection, but also act as means of expression carrying an emotional state. Janák's frequent return to these pillars in the form of motifs on his works allows him to repeatedly explore the formal possibilities of the image and deal with the given theme countless times. The specific feature of the expressive tone of his work, in this quantity, brings a recognizable and profiled gallery of Janák's dynamic creative style.

The nostalgia that Janák's works evoke is perceptible by several senses. Not only the eyes are full, but also a kind of smell seems to be smelled. The author's specifically sensitive work with color and feeling for formal design anchor universally understandable motifs in the surface of the canvas and bring the viewer a feeling as if he were looking at his personal space. The flower-themed push-button phone complements the information about the period that this technological object defines, evokes a return to a time that has long since passed, and evokes memories that are generationally comprehensible. But they may not always be the most pleasant ones that we keep in our memory. The title of the exhibition Home Bittersweet Home also refers to this. Home as a safe place. Home as a springboard for every other day, the content of which may not always be the most pleasant, but as a result more formative than pleasant experiences. Home as a refuge from the pitfalls that lie outside. Such a place must be cared for, the bad experiences must be aired out and the flowers watered.

text: Bára Alex Kašparová

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