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ADDICTION TO BEAUTY (LANDSCAPES)

 

 


Zbyněk Havlín, an established representative of the contemporary middle generation  of artists, presents a representative selection of his paintings from 2013-2015 at a current exhibition. It is a series of abstracted landscape paintings, which form an interesting counterbalance to the author’s figurative and more conceptually oriented creation emerging in parallel. Havlín’s shift to landscapes can be seen as a visceral evocation of the environment in which he grew up - a gamekeeper’s cottage, surrounded by woods and meadows - and also as an expression of spontaneous, sheer joy from creating and from life unencumbered with hidden meanings.

The author brings a very fresh perspective to the landscape motifs - he captures sceneries that he has fallen in love with and which left a profound experience of sensual enchantment within him. However, he does not paint in the open air. He creates what he calls landscapes “from memory”.  The resulting image thus resides within the realm of reminiscence and free imagination. The vision of nature moves beyond any descriptiveness and passive record of observation. The author liberates the landscape from “non-essential” components without resigning to an effort to grasp its lively, dynamic nature and structure. These are landscapes that have lost their precise contours and lyrical work. They are teetering on the verge of abstraction.

The author uses a fairly broad range of artistic processes - he combines classic oil painting with an airbrush technique and the use of templates. He also draws in the coloured area with a brush, whereby he achieves an almost calligraphic image structure.  He often works spontaneously. He penetrates into the landscape almost “elementally “, connects to its wave and reflects its inner rhythm. The colour scheme demonstrates masterly colouristic qualities. It is delicately harmonious in some paintings and expressively contrasting in others, but it is always moved into the realm of a dream and poetic transposition.

The landscapes of Zbyněk Havlín are richly rippled painted poems that reflect the variety and inexhaustible variability of nature, this constantly reproducing miracle, a scene of both visible and sensed events..

It is very gratifying for me to watch Havlín’s creation in a phase of a new creative expansion. One can only wish that the author shall continue in his deepening with his traditionally powerful weapons such as conceptual puns and a subtle lyrical charge as naturally as he has reached his new expression.

 

*Czech version

PhDr. Rea Michalová, Ph.D.

art historian and curator

 

 

Zbyněk Havlín was interviewed by Klára Vorlíčková at the event of his exhibition in Gallery Era svět in centre of Prague

 

Zbyněk, the main motif of your works exhibited in Era svět are landscapes. However, you don't paint classic landscapes as one would imagine. Your landscapes are abstract to the extreme. Why?

Abstract interpretation or a realistic copy of a landscape? The first option is more appealing to me. I don't consider it abstract at all.  I paint my very clear images of landscapes. I work with specific shapes, I just don't like literalism. That to me is a limiting factor that almost frightens me with its definiteness. The exhibited cycle of paintings that was created in the years 2013-2015 reflects my inner images of landscapes. I try to capture the endless variations of nature in them. The paintings often represent a kind of internal record, my idea of perfect, paradisiacal, cosmic or otherwise untouched landscapes. The landscapes are often painted from memory - almost none of the paintings were painting in the open air. I record the landscape in my memory and then put it together on the canvas from fragments that are important to me.

How would you describe your method of work?

You could say that my method of painting is quite active, using both conventional techniques such as oil painting, as well as artbrush. I often work spontaneously - alla prima, and combine it with softer sequences that look like watercolour. I alternate expressive, often sprayed or splattered parts of the paintings with quieter parts executed in oil paint. I use brush drawing to concretize an otherwise abstract composition with a special detail that catches the eye.

To me, the colours and their harmonies are what is most important to me in your works, they seem almost lyrical...

I try to portray a kind of aesthetic and abstract illusion of space. As a whole, it looks like an abstract composition, but when you look closely you will recognize flowers, leaves, stems, pistils... The floral motifs are an aesthetic element as well as a vicarious motif enabling sequencing and rhythm in the first plan of the image. An expressively painted second plan as well as other plans "deep" in the painting create an almost three-dimensional illusion of the landscape.

Do you only paint nature, or do you also work with other motifs?

There are several planes of my work that I am deepening simultaneously. Besides landscapes I also do figure painting, where I combine humour and exaggeration with almost surreal self-reflection and refection of my surroundings. In my doctoral work I reach for purely conceptual approaches. Lately, however, painting landscapes is what I am most passionate about. Perhaps I am trying to paint the same image my whole life and realize a profound memory of childhood. I grew up in the middle of the woods and meadows in a gamekeeper's house, which is why nature is my main inspiration.

What does painting mean to you?

The actual process of painting is incredibly fulfilling. I paint from excess energy; if I have none, I don't even go to the studio. I see painting as a celebration of life; to me it is a reflection of the experience and perception of life. I always like when people are able to find what I put into the paintings. They often talk to me about the painting and express their own reflection of the painting. It is actually a method of communication between the artist and the viewer, where the artist creates his own language and the viewer is trying to understand it. This process is very exciting to me. Abstract painting enables this communication with its openness and variability.

What other projects are you preparing, what can we expect?

I am currently working on a cycle of paintings entitled "Wetlands", and a figure concept in which I have finished the first painting called "Rusalka". I am interested in what makes our country different and specific, as well as related legends, myths... What defines us and conditions us.

 
*Czech version - Katalog
 
 

 

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Rozhovor o výstavě H2O Cyklus maleb mokřadů a kaluží s Karlem Oujezdským | ČRo Vltava - Český rozhlas (od 15:11 minuty)

http://prehravac.rozhlas.cz/audio/3552182 

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Zbyněk Havlín ranks among the few young generation artists who, in addition to being successful at home, have also been able to establish themselves abroad, particularly in Austria and Germany. Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, in Professor Milan Knízák’s Studio of Intermedia Arts, made a significant impact on his work and confirmed his broad artwork portfolio, encompassing paintings, drawings, sculptures, objects, design, installations, performances and new media – photography and video. The connecting link is Havlín’s conceptual way of thinking.

When watching the artist’s evolution in the area of paintings in the last few years, I have assured myself that Zbyněk Havlín possesses several ways to express himself even through the traditional medium, which are linked by his state of mind. He is a truly multifaceted artist. I perceive the canvases presented at his current exhibition as conceptual images. However, my feeling is that, in a certain stage, the process of painting absorbs the artist so much that the concept “steps back”. The struggle between the rational and the emotional remains unsolved. Havlín’s unwillingness to accept “radical solutions” in his paintings produces a special calming impression. Even the effect of some symbols the content of which need not necessarily be positive is surprisingly soothing.

The author explains his “Soft Vision” as follows: “I am reacting to efforts to de-radicalize the image by too many meanings or explicit definitions. The paintings of this series are intended to attract especially by permeability of open-ended actions and meanings. There is no dictate, no unambiguous interpretation. One has to become smoother to permeate through different templates and to make the image move in his or her mind.” The ambiguity is the greatest quality of the works on display. Individual layers of the image do not organically blend into one another. Instead, primary plots play a fairly significant role, asserting themselves against the resulting composition and shifting the emphasis, in a skewed fashion, to the principal idea. While certainly not common, the approach leaves the spectator with an impression that he or she has not been told everything and that he or she has to try to decipher the meaning himself/herself; this contributes to the poignancy and attraction of Havlín’s canvases. For example, let us have a look at shapes standing in the water and almost certainly looking at the opposite bank. The absurdity of the almost surrealistic element once again gives the work a meaning leaving us in existential uncertainty. Similarly, I could turn the artist’s gender emancipation efforts into a desire to celebrate the Fathers’, Gamekeepers’ and Hunters’ Day. In my view, the author’s vision is not necessarily more complex, but it is infinitely more refined and completely lacking the common masculine aggression. The message of some other works may be more literary, but their immense poetry elevates them to another, higher level.

 

PhDr. Rea Michalová, Ph.D.

art historian and curator

 

- Art&Antiques (text) 

- Soft Vision - author's concept 

- Soft Vision - autorský koncept

- Zbyněk Havlín je představitelem...

 

  Project Addicted to Beauty

In this landscape (abstract expressionism) cycle of paintings (2013) I focus on blending the sharp and the blurred. I wanted the inside of the painting to become a vast space where the attention can zoom from point to point. I wanted the painting to have the illusion of permanent movement, and to play an expressive game with colour and form. Lazur parts are followed by a thick painted section, the juxtaposition of these colours, together with the soft brush style, also evokes feelings of space and movement, perhaps even rotation.

press-text o výstavě 

 

„artist of the week in Saathi“

 

 

 

CLAM Magazine Paris - interview with Zbyněk Havlín

 

 
 

what do you do ?
 
figurative paintings, objects, photography, performances and a ton of other things that keep popping up in my mind…I realised that making art is the easiest way of expressing myself….In art it is possible for me to say a lot of things between the lines, to find self reflection; I enjoying playing this fantastic never ending game of hide and seek with myself….it´s kind of an urgent need for creative orgasm and the more I do it, the more I find myself in need for it…ha ha…that´s very nice, that is the way I like it.
 
where do you live?
 
I live in Prague, but I also move around Berlin and Vienna
 
the new clam issue is about "Going Forward"
 
– going forward for me means revolting against what the majority defines as a old or over, permanent revolution. going Forward thus means staying close to mainstream and that´s not so interesting for me… because the majority is never right…
 
before everything else i want to know what project you are working on now!
 
I am working on a painting&object project which I called Doll´s parliament. I as the author define myself as a doll, and through her realize a lot of (also female) experiences…”She is not just a nice icon, a nice picture, there is a bigger ambition, being special. She has an inner life, deep wishes and emotions which are identical with mine and maybe also with yours…”
 
other painting concept I am working on at the same time is: I am trying to figure out how to define female body without actually showing it…the project is called “Negligee” and it´s a reaction to the fact that my girlfriend who is also my model told to me that I can’t show her nude body on the painting before we are married…through that I found out that there doesn’t necessarily have to be her body in the painting if there is  negligee with the shape of her body and that might be even more exciting
 
Last but not least I am illustrating a children's book , which I also enjoy very much!
 
what does "Going Forward" mean to you ?
 
Going Forwar means not staying put. If you stay still you are not going forward though that does not have to mean rigidity as it presumes balance – mastering the dynamics of motion. Therefore “staying still” is also interesting and stimulative.
 
How have you "Gone Forward" in your life & work
 
“The time is passing to fast, let´s shoot art from the hips” Jean Dubuffet
 
 
Is it necessary to go forward or just relax and be thankful for what you got?
 
relaxing is nice…isn´t it?!
 
How does one know they ' ve moved forward ?
 
It´s difficult, almost impossible to say..If you choose a point on the horizon and watch this point and it´s coming closer that means either you are moving towards it or the point is approaching you…so I don´t really know.
 
After you' ve "gone forward", what's the next step?
 
continue
 
This is the clam Q of the year 2011..
We want to push social entrepreneurs to become the new cool guys, everyone wanna be like, hopefully that will make a better world...
Do you know a social entrepreneur that the world should know about ?,
 
I do not know, tell me…
 
Any tips on how you would change the image of social entrepreneurs to become more cool?
 
cool = smart&sexy, it was always like that, this never changed.
 
is there a question you would have liked me to ask you? Then ask it and answer it here...
what do you think is art cool?
 
I think soperformances and a ton of other things that keep popping up in my mind…I realised that making art is the easiest way of expressing myself….In art it is possible for me to say a lot of things between the lines, to find self reflection; I enjoying playing this fantastic never ending game of hide and seek with myself….it´s kind of an urgent need for creative orgasm and the more I do it, the more I find myself in need for it…ha ha…that´s very nice, that is the way I like it.
 
where do you live?
 
I live in Prague, but I also move around Berlin and Vienna
 
the new clam issue is about "Going Forward"
 
– going forward for me means revolting against what the majority defines as a old or over, permanent revolution. going Forward thus means staying close to mainstream and that´s not so interesting for me… because the majority is never right
 
before everything else i want to know what project you are working on now!
 
I am working on a painting&object project which I called Doll´s parliament. I as the author define myself as a doll, and through her realize a lot of (also female) experiences…”She is not just a nice icon, a nice picture, there is a bigger ambition, being special. She has an inner life, deep wishes and emotions which are identical with mine and maybe also with yours…”
 
other painting concept I am working on at the same time is: I am trying to figure out how to define female body without actually showing it…the project is called “Negligee” and it´s a reaction to the fact that my girlfriend who is also my model told to me that I can’t show her nude body on the painting before we are married…through that I found out that there doesn’t necessarily have to be her body in the painting if there is  negligee with the shape of her body and that might be even more exciting
 
Last but not least I am illustrating a children's book , which I also enjoy very much!
 
what does "Going Forward" mean to you ?
 
Going Forwar means not staying put. If you stay still you are not going forward though that does not have to mean rigidity as it presumes balance – mastering the dynamics of motion. Therefore “staying still” is also interesting and stimulative.
 
How have you "Gone Forward" in your life & work
 
“The time is passing to fast, let´s shoot art from the hips” Jean Dubuffet
 
 
Is it necessary to go forward or just relax and be thankful for what you got?
 
relaxing is nice…isn´t it?!
 
How does one know they ' ve moved forward ?
 
It´s difficult, almost impossible to say..If you choose a point on the horizon and watch this point and it´s coming closer that means either you are moving towards it or the point is approaching you…so I don´t really know.
 
After you' ve "gone forward", what's the next step?
 
continue
 
This is the clam Q of the year 2011..
We want to push social entrepreneurs to become the new cool guys, everyone wanna be like, hopefully that will make a better world...
Do you know a social entrepreneur that the world should know about ?,
 
I do not know, tell me…
 
Any tips on how you would change the image of social entrepreneurs to become more cool?
 
cool = smart&sexy, it was always like that, this never changed.
 
is there a question you would have liked me to ask you?,then ask it and answer it here
 
what do you think is art cool? I think so

 

 

 

 
 

In the time period 2004 -2007 he was working with the culture clichs and heritage of small states in the middle of europe like Czech Republic and Austria (Weidmannsheil, Alles Walzer, Das beste aus unserem land etc.). He is reflecting a point of view in which we see, or we want to see our-selves. In the longer term he is trying to find out rituals of today (Between man, EgoLand), to specify them and to find for it an adequate visual form. This aspect he used also for The International Project Karfiol (Czech Republic/Austria), which he initiated and organised, to prove the potential of this concept. He is using classical and new media or inventing new technologies.In the past there were projects in which he was using for example just water as a material (family tree), food like whipping cream (Wedding dress) or sunflower seeds and beef fat (Self-portrait masks),   the movement of the body - performance, smell (Taking smell), text or music in the video. The paitings from this year are like stopped in time and they are asking for the attention which is typical for icons. There is crossing what is in and out. As a background are very often landscapes (typical for the middle European region), but part of the composition is also still-life. This combination of landscape and still-life is to be understood as a metaphor for losing the border between inside and outside. The casual arrangement of the composition has always an important connection with the main form usually with the figure. There is a game about classical modern aesthetic which is growing over to postmodernism. Also the frozen position of the composition gives a deeper sense, which is producing a feeling of some familiar archetype, held on memory like the feeling of home, beauty, safeness...etc. His objects are working with some kind of contemporary totemism. He is painting over them, to mix the second and third dimension. These aspects are also connecting the object with the paintings. This is giving the chance to connect both in an installation (Dolls parliament). Between man is a project about mens rituals. By this topic I was trying to do a mans self reflection. On the paintings are depicted men which are initiating some step up, deep or anyhow doing something what seems unique to them or at least somehow important and in the same way unrepeatable. Weidmannsheil, these series of paintings are in some meaning of the word a visual contrapposto between the hunters life and some hyperbole of point of view from outside. Looking on the archetypical character of men, thinking all over. The bagged game with the portraits of the hunters is intended through exaggeration to introduce a poetic atmosphere, but not at all a fatal drama. There is shown how men wanted to be accepted as heros, players who are winning and who are independent on one side and on the other side the family life of animals and their width. The pictures are telling us a fortunate story which lets us estimate a nice epilogue. EgoLand, this cycle of paintings is dealing with the morning hygiene of both, man and woman. These everyday rituals are a process during which we are reflecting on ourselves (over the mirror). Its a very intimate, private and contemplative activity which we are using for monologising, stimulating and criticising ourselves. In this way we are washing off by water and cleaning our private life and leaving the bathroom in a state of fitting the social conventions as well as our own demands of appearance clean, ready, uniform. It is like a rebirth, again and again. In these very intimate moments we re-determine our identity. Porcelain, this cycle of paintings is a reaction on the aesthetics of figural sculptures made from porcelain, they are tender and affected. These figures are like frozen in ecstasy. The gesticulation of the hands and all the body is so over talkative and very often so emotionally accented that there is something uncommon about it. They are like elitists which are cut off from time and context and like that living just for themselves, comparable to some kind of population which you cannot touch, because they would disappear. Alles Walzer is a cycle of pictures which contains special moments of gladness. Im showing the invariable and living tradition of Viennese Balls and the folkloristic background in Austria, which I experienced during my stay in Austria. Dance is a kind of celebration, a ritual. The dance contains fullness and an overplus of energy, but if we are watching it, we see as well temperance as balance. These paintings are cutouts from remarkable events. The most interesting aspect for me was the rythm of the complex which could be in the final visualization painted as a very simple graf, as a colourful whirling mosaic. It is very interesting how the move is always dynamically going up and turning down again. This stereotype is everytime for everybody a little different and this is making it exciting to watch. Doll´s parliament is a cycle of toy-objects and paintings oftencombined with three dimensional elements. I am working with ananimation effect, when every painting or sculpture is part of thebigger hidden story, which happened before or which will happenafter. This story as a whole can be very trivial and infantile. The main purpose (as usual for toys or comics in general) is to getattention, to be exciting, colourful and rich in contrast as wellas to offer some adventure which we could imagine (we would like)to be part of.The protagonist of this story is one doll. I as the author defi nemyself as this doll, and through her realize a lot of (also female) experiences. She is not just a nice icon, nice picture, there isa bigger ambition, being special. She has an inner life, deep wishes and emotions which are identical with mine and maybe also with yours. She is lets us enjoy it.

 

                                                                                                                              

Lost in context...2009

…bei meiner Einreichung aktueller Arbeiten handelt es sich um Zeichnungen auf Leinwand und Skulpturen aus Ton. Die Skulpturen repräsentieren eine Art zeitgenössische Totems. Sowohl die Skulpturen als auch die Arbeiten auf Leinwand wurden be- bzw. übermalt. Dieser Aspekt des „Darüber-Gehens“ ist die Verbindung zwischen diesen beiden Werkreihen.  Die Zeichnungen wurden über bestehende Bilder gemacht, das heißt, Bilder wurden weiß übermalt, Tabula rasa gemacht, um eine Fläche für die zeichnerische Arbeit entstehen zu lassen. Die ursprünglichen Bilder sind verdeckt und ihr schwaches Durchscheinen regt die Imagination an und provoziert eine Spekulation über einen möglichen anderen Kontext mit den sehr reduzierten Zeichnungen. 

Die Skulpturen evozieren Assoziationen mit Kinderspielzeug, sind kombiniert mit symbolhaft aufgeladenen Elementen wie einem Haus, einem Auto, einem Zahnrad etc. Der offensichtliche Kontext ist verloren, aber er fehlt nicht. Zumindest ich, als der Autor, suche nicht nach ihm, sondern lasse neue Zusammenhänge entstehen.

…this is cycle of drawings on the canvas and objects. The objects are working with some kind of contemporary totemism. Is painted over them,. These aspects - “going over” is also connection between the drawings and the objects. This drawings are realized on the paintings which were painted with white colour over. There is some history, about what was on the paintings before. It´s coverded now and it´s possible to see just very simple drawing by the pencil on the canvas now, what is under that is inciting imagination about other possible contexts. Objects are evoketing kids toys, they are connect with things like house, car, sprocket and other stuff. The obvious context is lost, there was also not really need to find it, at least not doing it as a author, but let it happen.This paitings are like stopped in time and they are asking for the attention which is typical for icons. The casual arrangement of the composition has always an important connection with the main form – usually with the figure. There is a game about classical modern aesthetic which is growing over to postmodernism. Also the frozen position of the composition gives a deeper sense, which is producing a feeling of some familiar archetype, held on memory like the feeling of home, beauty, safeness...etc. His objects are working with some kind of contemporary totemism. He is painting over them, to mix the second and third dimension. These aspects are also connecting the object with the paintings.