Jiří Straka

Ink Cowboy

Sep 7, 2022 — Nov 14, 2022
Opening Tuesday 6. September 2022 18:00

Martin Dostál

  • "In the summer of 2021 in Beijing, besides Jiří Černický and my wife, I was persuaded to realize the performance "Ink Cowboy" by a long-time friend, curator, and performer Shu Yang. At that time, I no longer found this wild idea as unacceptable as I had three years earlier. Instead, in an atmosphere marked by the pandemic of covid, and the international political crisis, its wild humor and Dadaist drive became appealing.The completely irrational association of the cowboy, or rather a western hero with Chinese ink painting suddenly began to seem like an ironic and quite apt expression of my own complex and contradictory cultural identity. At the same time, it occurred to me that such a form of crazy travesty could express my situation more succinctly than sentimental and verbose analyses and interpretations. " - Jiří Straka

  • "A silhouette of a man with a hat galloping alone across the prairie. Thus, this picture is as far from Chinese reality as the idea of a European painter painting in Chinese. Both, however, come together in the ink creations of Jiří Straka, who conjures the Wild West in ink on large paper formats. The Czech painter loves traditional Chinese art, into which he infuses Western themes, creating a positive tension that enriches both distant cultural entities. To the benefit of both the West and the East.

  • The romantic and pragmatic western realities resonate very well in the Czech environment, the audience knows them from numerous movies of American and European origin. They can therefore not only easily perceive a certain cowboy exaggeration that appears in Straka's works, but also appreciate iconic motifs such as the revolver, the hanging villain on a branch, or the lone man galloping from nowhere to nowhere. "- Martin Dostál

  • Jiří Straka is an artist who has long been deeply involved in the study and practice of the traditional Chinese painting technique of ink painting. He studied it at the Academy in Beijing and works in it mostly in monochrome colors, often in large formats. He also does not shy away from "live painting" in the form of happenings, combining Western modern art with the tradition of Chinese painting. He lives and works alternately in Prague and Beijing with his wife A Qin. He has exhibited in prestigious galleries, such as the 798 Art district in Beijing, Today Art Museum, and Times Art Museum; while domestic institutions include Gallery Rudolfinum, the Václav Špála Gallery, and Museum Kampa. Finally, he has taken part in the Shanghai Expo.