Jan Morávek CV (updated: 15. 9. 2019)

In contrast to many forms of contemporary artistic expression that can be created by leaving a video camera on ‘record’ for ten minutes, Jan Morávek’s sculpture is equipped with a memory that can’t be measured in gigabytes. If the current art scene is littered with ideas that can be compared to the ‘on-off’ principle of a light switch, Morávek’s thinking (both conscious and intuitive) is more like a river. His work springs in the historical uplands of Central European Baroque, with its sense of psychologically charged plasticity. It tumbles through the rapids of Modernism, acquiring the moral unease of Dadaism and the disturbing imagination of Surrealism. It meanders through the vivid landscapes of Pop and Neo-Pop with their double-edged adoration/condemnation of consumer culture. What of Postmodernism, since we’re headed that way? In the Czech sensibility, it can be claimed, the notion of ‘Postmodern’ is not so much a stylistic genre as hardwired mentality – indeed, why flow with time when you can flow against it, as we see in Jan Santini-Aichel’s unique Bohemian Baroque-Gothic churches of the early eighteenth century? And let’s not forget the unwitting kitschy charm of irrepressible Czech ‘folk creativity’ that flourished under communism – the quasi-Dadaist poetry of a sawn-off Trabant car turned into a henhouse or cartoon characters recreated at home in knitted wool and shaped wire…

Jan Morávek’s sculpture is a highly personal reflection on what faith, power and influence mean in the obsessively interconnected world that we are (whether we like it or not) all part of. How can we interpret his expression in regard to contemporary society? Is it the despair of an embittered romantic idealist or the playfully ironic dialogue of a swift-footed sparring partner? Perhaps it is both. In any case we, the viewer, are compelled to communicate in our own thoughts with his work – we are much too provoked and entertained not to. There are no simple answers here – only the implicit understanding that the ephemeral and the eternal are opposite banks of the same river.

By Richard Drury, Head of the Art Department of GASK