Vladimír Skrepl, Václav Stratil


Dec 9, 2021 — Feb 20, 2022
Opening Thursday 9. December 2021 18:00

Jiří Ptáček

  • Vladimír Skrepl and Václav Stratil are often seen as some kind of brethern artists. The shared animality of their painting presentations, obsessiveness, and affective explosiveness have led several stakeholders of the Czech artistic scene to believe that the two painters should have a joint exhibition. Although both artists have known and intensely perceived each other for decades, such an exhibition has never happened. It is only now that they are meeting at a conversed presentation when the former is 66 years old and the latter even five years older.

  • Naturally, the result both exceeds (of course!) and falls short of (how?) expectations. In other words, it exceeds them precisely because it also falls short. Imagining ‚the compulsory‘ and somehow predictable exhibition, automatically, both Skrep and Stratil went in the opposite direction. In part, they were moving away deliberately from the ‚idea of an idea‘ of what the exhibition was supposed to be like, and, in part, they were nearing each other at the opposite ends of a curve so that their artistic dialogue stayed informal and, preferably, intimate. True to themselves both individually and in a shared inclination.

  • The exhibition is characterized by a subdued atmosphere unusual for the artists, the kinetic energy of a hyena and a fox bubbling to the surface rather than exploding in a power move. A set of the largest paintings appears not to belong to Skrepl. The colors resemble accidentally created thick skins of the canvases. Their surfaces find their counterparts in Stratil’s pencil self-portraits. Those were born during the past two years, paying close attention to his own face lined by age. They are defined by one’s search for their image through the act of drawing, deformations arising from the fact that he watched himself in a pocket mirror, and, at other times, from the stylization, which allows Stratil to use mild, self-reflective humor. And then there are those objects… like two blackened bodies, it could be said without spoiling too much.

  • Skrepl and Stratil are two reputable personas of the Czech fine art scene. However, their dialogue is modest, intimate, non-literary, crossing the topic and the theme, happening between a representation and a materialization, a painting, and a material. Still, if we attempt a verbal parallel nonetheless: To stand in front of the gates of hell does not mean we are there already. It is, simply, in sight and its furnaces burn our cheeks a little.