The DOX Centre for Contemporary Art wishes to announce that
it is holding an exhibition of paintings by František Matoušek from 15
January to 15 March 2010. This is the first extensive show of Matoušek's
works, which is surprising in view of the fact that he is one of the
most significant Czech painters of the middle generation.
Like his contemporaries at home and abroad, Matoušek frequently tackles
the theme of memory. He does so, however, in a way that is strikingly
personal and specific, particularly with respect to his choice of
material and painting techniques. Matoušek paints on denim: jeans cloth.
The name of the fabric betrays its historical origins (denim="de Nîmes"
i.e. from the French city of Nîmes). In Matoušek's case, however, the
choice of this material is not
a reference to the earlier history of
Europe but to the recent era of so-called "real socialism", i.e. the
period when Matoušek was growing up and when denim symbolised a longing
for a freer life.
Matoušek developed a special technique for working with this textile,
which is a combination of manipulation of the fabric weave and
application of acrylic pigment. Matoušek's style of painting also
consists of his approach to the various genres within which he works -
portraits, landscapes, urban exteriors or intimate interior scenes of
family life. A key element is Matoušek's complex use of photographic and
other pictorial sources, which is evident particularly in his
portraits. For instance, in a painting based on an old family photograph
he dresses the person portrayed in a jeans jacket. Another of his
portraits is reminiscent in its concept to Picasso's Blue Period,
although this is not the artist's intention and it is definitely not a
quotation of any specific work. Matoušek's method might be described as
"iconographic sandwiching", but an apter metaphor to describe his
approach are those memory processes where collective and individual
experience are linked in ever new and original ways. His works have a
unique status on the Czech art scene in terms of their multiplicity of
genres, technical innovation and original treatment of the theme of
memory. They also beg interesting comparison with the output of his
contemporaries in the rest of the world. For that reason Matoušek's
oeuvre merits far greater attention from both local and foreign critics
than it has received so far.