Adam Kašpar, Jokulsárlon, 90x140cm, oil on canvas, 2021

12 Artists From Czechia On Our Radar Unveiling Czech Talent

As part of the organised Press trip during Prague Art Week, these studio visits, coordinated by Edu Art Experience, provide an exclusive glimpse into the creative worlds of Czech artists. This diverse group of artists showcases their versatility through various mediums, delving into the facets of contemporary urban life, unearthing personal and cultural histories, and tackling socio-political themes, all while weaving together a tapestry of diverse influences.

Jakub Matuška aka Masker 

Jakub Matuška (b. 1981), stands at the forefront of his generation’s artistic talent. He embarked on his creative journey in the realm of graffiti and street art, but has since evolved his focus to primarily encompass the mediums of painting and drawing. On occasion, he crosses over into sculpture, video, installations, and public interventions.

Within his artwork, Matuška skillfully melds his youthful, ironic contemplations on the dynamics of modern urban life with a deep introspection of his personal experiences. Central to his artistic exploration is the enduring question: ‘How should a person be?’ forming the bedrock of his ceaseless investigation into the intricate interplay between image and language, the interrelationship between painting and drawing, and the various capabilities these media possess in making sense of our surroundings. 

In 2010, Matuška earned recognition as a finalist for the prestigious Jindřich Chalupecký Award, a highly esteemed Czech honour for emerging artists. A year later, he achieved acclaim by winning the Prague National Gallery 333 Award.

Matěj Macháček 

Matěj Macháček (b. 1992), work is a fusion of European and East Asian artistic traditions which builds on iconography inspired by his memories and experiences from his frequent travels to Taiwan. His creative expression is a testament to his distinct approach, characterised by a unique and innovative technique involving the use of ink and acrylic paint on large formats of paper. These paper creations are subsequently affixed to cotton canvases and stretched onto frames which allows him to communicate genuine artistic messages on a grander scale. 

Macháček opts for vibrant and contrasting colours, weaving a continuous narrative within mystical and timeless landscapes rooted in authentic scenes that are gradually composing a comprehensive map of our existence. 

Notably, this year Macháček’s artworks were displayed at significant contemporary art museums MOCA Taipei and Taitung Art Museum alongside a group of international artists.

He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and attended studies at Taipei National University of the Arts.

David Pešat 

David Pešat’s (b. 1980) work connects with the modernist understanding of the image, where the composition and formal expression remain in a perpetual state of flux. In tune with the framework of experience laid out by modernist thinkers, Pešat reintroduces the fundamental concept of artistic freedom in the realm of visuality. He perceives visuality as a ‘raw ingredient’, one that beckons to be transformed and refined. At the core of the artist’s work lies ‘the field of relations’ as its pivotal theme. Through painting, Pešat relives the ‘act of creation,’ embodying the role of a demiurge who introduces novel and diverse perspectives on the objective world.

His paintings build on his energy, channelling the uncovering of algorithms leading to a unique visual morphology. This morphology breathes life into an array of complex human conditions, spanning from apathy and melancholy to euphoria, resistance, and ecstasy. His paintings serve as an anatomical exploration of transformation, referencing the perpetual internal metamorphoses experienced by humans, which, in turn, influence and shape their outlook on the world.

Michal Rapant 

Michal Rapant (b. 1986) is a singular painter whose body of work defies classification within the bounds of traditional artistic genre. However, his distinctive visual language most prominently evokes the style of expressionism. 

During the process of painting, Rapant often initiates a tactile engagement with the canvas, using his fingers to paint. This haptic approach imbues his artworks with intensity and a rich haptic quality. The subjects on his canvases are diverse, including still lifes with a memento mori motif and portraits of family, relatives and friends, in which he reflects their psychology. With unwavering sincerity, Rapant crafts paintings that delve deep into the landscape of his inner world.

His artworks incorporate words, at times entire sentences, intricately interwoven within the composition, forming a complex poem that traverses the entirety of the image. This poetic element serves as a vessel for capturing the intense moments and sensations rooted in the artist’s life.

The united title and artwork formulates Rapant’s mesmerising depictions and invites the viewer into a profound dialogue through which one embarks on a singular metamorphic journey.

Zbyněk Sedlecký 

Zbyněk Sedlecký (b. 1976), dedicated to the art of painting, is a prominent voice among the artists of the 1970s generation. Among notable contemporaries such as Josef Bolf, Daniel Pitín, and Lubomír Typlt, Sedlecký’s works serve as reflections of the shared sentiments and ideological divisions experienced by his fellow artists. His paintings are a dual testimony – one facet encapsulates his personal encounters with the totalitarian grip of socialist Czechoslovakia, while the other narrates the vibrancy of the 1990s, a period marked by newly acquired freedom, and the artist’s encounter with contemporary consumerism. 

Expanding upon the rich heritage of Czech painting, Sedlecký enhances the fundamental aspects of the medium, all the while staying attuned to the evolving social dynamics and his own memories.

He delves into themes that range from the shift from static photography to the kinetic realm of motion pictures to the transformative impact of visual communication accelerators, particularly in the context of social media. Each of his paintings serves as a frozen moment in time, a snapshot that is both still and visually dynamic, encapsulating a unique event.

Jan Heres 

Jan Heres (b. 1992) presents an idiosyncratic blend of Indonesian artistic aesthetics and the cultural and ethnic diversity  found across the American continent. His work resonates with elements of popular culture and the world of drag and drag queens. His work comes alive through wild and daring colour combinations, geometric flatness, and the nuanced structures of paint or airbrushing techniques. These artistic choices direct the viewer’s attention toward socio-political themes of corporality, queer identities, gender expressions, and visual transformations. Heres’ approach to colour goes beyond mere aesthetics; it carries profound messages that the artist seeks to convey.

Heres’ pursuit of an artistic career led him to graduate from the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, under the guidance of Michael Rittstein. Additionally, his creative perspective was significantly influenced during his time spent in Miami, USA, where he engaged in an art residency program organised by the THINK+feel Contemporary Art Gallery.

Filip Švehla

Filip Švehla (b. 1991) is a visual artist whose work revolves around the dynamic interplay of colours within urban, architectural, and living spaces. With a formalistic approach to painting, Švehla’s entry into the world of art began with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Academy of Arts Architecture and Design in Prague followed by his attendance at the Utrecht School of Arts in 2015, where he enriched his artistic palette with diverse perspectives and techniques. A pivotal moment in his artistic evolution occurred during a stay in Valencia, Spain, where the urban decay and industrial landscapes ignited Švehla’s distinctive abstract style. Švehla’s artworks resonate with layers of vibrant colours, a testament to his focus on sensory experiences and the intricate interplay of surface and structure. This evolution is reflected in his work, where colour, form, and texture intertwine. His work is a mesmerising venture into the world of contemporary aesthetics, uncovering the rich urban visual narratives.

Eliška Konečná

Eliška Konečná (b.1992) is a 2020 graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. She emerges as an artist who skillfully navigates the elusive realm between the tangible and the intangible in her work. Her artistic approach places a strong emphasis on handmade craftsmanship, physicality, sensory engagement, and the incorporation of stylized figuration into her artistic endeavours. Konečná has garnered widespread recognition for her textile-embroidered paintings/reliefs and the wooden objects she crafts.

Many of Konečná’s works and installations are a reflection of her interest in the fusion of the physical and the spiritual. She particularly focuses on the human sense of touch, weaving it into the narrative of her art. Konečná’s handcrafted artefacts beckon viewers to embark on a journey that straddles the ethereal border between wakefulness and slumber, forging connections between the tactile and the intangible. Her work appeared in several galleries across the globe, notably, in London’s Public Gallery and New York’s Below Grand Gallery, aligning her artistic journey with the current wave of innovative contemporary artists.

Adam Kašpar

Adam Kašpar (b.1993) is a distinguished figure in contemporary Czech realistic painting, celebrated for his exceptional ability to encapsulate the unspoiled essence of natural landscapes. Drawing inspiration from the founders of Czech landscape art, particularly Julius Mařák, Kašpar’s work delves into the deep history and eventual evolution of nature. His artistic exploration is not limited to the world of plants; he also delves into the realm of inorganic natural elements like rocks, stones, and celestial bodies. Kašpar synthesises traditional painting techniques with modern tools. He employs cameras, telescopes for celestial observations, and microscopes for geological study, resulting in a distinctive blend of artistic and scientific approaches.

In contrast to the romantic landscapes of the 19th century, Kašpar’s creations have an archaeological quality, providing insights into the essence of Earth’s existence. While categorised as a realistic painter, Kašpar often transcends reality, crafting landscapes from multiple angles to highlight geopolitical issues or envision untouched worlds centuries after human intervention. His work is cherished in esteemed collections globally, and he has left a mark on significant exhibitions, sharing space with renowned artists. 

Veronika Drahotova

Veronika Drahotova is a Czech artist and curator renowned for her mixed-media art, blending painting, photography, video, and installations. She began her artistic path by joining the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague (AVU), in 1992, under the guidance of J. David and J. Sopko. Drahotova made a significant impact with her “Castle in the Sky” light installation in 1998, funded by the Soros Foundation, which bathed the Prague Castle in a vibrant rainbow glow. Her work is characterised by a rich visual language of symbols that emphasises interconnectedness in various mediums. Her artistic focus also shifted to large-scale paintings featuring geometric elements, offering a commentary on the interplay of philosophy and psychology, spirituality, and mathematics. introducing an innovative approach known as “Architectonic.” This method involves using two or more canvases to form a single artwork, each meticulously designed for rotation, rearrangement, and reconfiguration. Through a series of manipulations, including horizontal and vertical repositioning and 90-degree rotations, a multitude of compositions within a single painting come to life. Drahotova founded the HOME Gallery in Prague in 2002, curating numerous exhibitions, and has showcased her work globally, leaving a lasting impact on the art scene. 

Sarah Dubná

Sarah Dubná (b.1993) an artist known for her unique approach to both tattooing and visual art, inhabits a studio space in Prague’s Letná district. Her studio offers a serene atmosphere filled with natural light and a unique perspective on the world outside. Sarah uses her background in tattooing to redefine her artistic canvas, combining her skills in a diverse range of media, including tattoo instruments and paper or canvas. Her work reflects a dual nature, incorporating the pain and healing power of the tattooing process into her visual creations. The exploration of her own body and the transformation of her subjects’ experiences come together as a central theme in her work. Beyond this, Sarah’s involvement in beekeeping and her research on the complex dynamics of these insects intertwine with her artistic expression, bringing forth a unique perspective on the interplay of nature, culture, and the body, making her a distinctive and thought-provoking artist.

Nela Britaňáková

Nela Britaňáková (b. 1995) is a young artist whose work utilises fluid object installations to convey messages and emotions. Her art explores the contextual meaning of materials and incorporates discarded or crafted objects, group performances, and a connection between consumerist remnants and the natural environment. She has delved into plant aesthetics, inspired by the work of Helena Johnová, founder of the Studio of Ceramics and Porcelain at the Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design. Her work combines contemporary relevance with a focus on environmental issues, including the extinction of plant species. Britaňáková additionally incorporates ecological elements by recycling fabrics and costumes. Ceramic objects play a pivotal role in her creative output, bridging the gap between utility and symbolic personification. Nela Britaňáková’s innovative approach to art places her within the emerging generation of artists, dealing with contemporary environmental concerns through visually striking installations and performances.

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