Jaroslav Valečka

Looking at them [Valečka's paintings], we enter into a haunted world.”

Edward Lucie-Smith, art historian

Valečka completed an arts degree at the Academy of Fine Arts Prague (AVU) in 1998, 
also having spent several months at the 
West Norway Academy of Art (VKA),
the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe and the
Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam (WDKA).

Born on October 27, 1972 in Prague, Jaroslav Valečka has always felt an exceptionally strong emotional attachment to the impressive mountainous countryside of Northern Bohemia (particularly to the village of Líska in the Lusatian Mountains, where he spent part of his childhood), which has been serving as an inexhaustible source of inspiration with regard to his body of 
work – be it because a child’s soul is naturally peculiarly impressionable and sensitive, or due to the fact that its eventful history has created incredibly exciting contrasts within this specific area.

Stylistically, as well as in form and content, there are certain essential elements within Jaroslav Valečka’s body of work:

A distinctive combination of expressive symbolism and naivist morphology, resulting in the creation of an idiosyncratic visual idiom, characterized by contrasting effects in various shades of blue and yellow – which are often compositionally emphasized by the existence of a high view point and, associated therewith, exceptional distance and vastness – rendering countless variations of the pictorial elements nature, architecture and the human figure, accentuated by the depiction of twilight (dusk, dawn and night versus moonlight, as well as snow, respectively water, versus blazing fire) conduces to the artistic exploration of the imminence of death and fate.

For quite a lot of the beholders of his paintings, they might fairly quickly bring to mind thoughts of the work of artists like Caspar David Friedrich, the surrealist Leonora Carrington, the magical realists Franz Sedlacek and Alexander Kanoldt (in particular his multi-perspectival architectural landscapes), the presentation of the spacial or physical aspects of buildings by Lyonel C.A. Feininger around 1910 or even of the cinematic oeuvre of Ingmar Bergman.

 

Indeed, one majorly significant aspect in the matter of the narrative method and the image composition, which we therefore should not forget while experiencing Valečka’s works of art, is that they offer numerous opportunities with regard to their legibility, thus produce effects equivalent to film stills.

In this context particular attention should be given to the fact that these paintings are undoubtedly (externally and internally) akin to, reminiscent of, the manner in which Bergman explores processes of (self-) reflection and identity issues, addressing the subject of loneliness and death with tremendous artistic dedication to their cinematic presentation – this applies especially to the decisive role of the landscape, of geographical conditions and architecture but also to the lighting (design) and his use of flashbacks.

Everything that can be seen in a film shot by Bergman “stipulates the available potentials for showing and for perception. (…)separating the visible from the non-visible, creating a pictorial arrangement, creating room for seeing within a precisely defined frame”, conveying a peculiar, poetically dark intuition. Ideas and thoughts which, amazingly, can be recovered in the context of Valečka’s paintings in a strikingly similar way.