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Jiří Hauschka – The owls are not what they seem

Paintings by Jiří Hauschka (born 1965 in Šumperk) take us to an environment of confrontation, or rather symbiosis, of man and nature. Nature influences us more than we admit. Some painters have sensed it for a long time – especially in places where there’s a bit more of it, like in the northern regions with plenty of forests and lakes, or in the south with jungles and waterfalls. In those surroundings, events involving man may be more raw, more to the bone. The name of the exhibition is a reference to David Lynch’s legendary TV series that was set in such an environment. After that, nothing was as it had been. This is one of the ways to look at Hauschka’s paintings. And accompany him to the painters’ wilderness.

In recent years, or rather in the last two decades, we witness the art of painting looking back at its history, examining its options, seeking what is still attractive and alive in past layers, and finally realizing, to its surprise, that it can still invigorate today’s audience through its colours, views, compositions and ideas, and be attractive for contemporary artists. And it realizes that figures set in a certain spatial or scenic configuration possess a visual and semantic potency that upsets and attracts a contemporary person just as it did in the decades and centuries before us. Fragments of past visuals are pieced together with the fragments of tomorrow’s imagination.

Jiří Hauschka turns to this type of painting method that utilizes colours and symbolic connotations, prevalent at the turn of the 20th century – he positions himself in that period next to the Canadian painter Tom Thomson (1877–1917) – and used by contemporary painters such as Daniel Richter or Peter Doig. Reality is transformed by the painter’s narration into layered storytelling, where the artist’s memory is interspersed with new experiences, views, desires and emotional turbulences. In the case of Jiří Hauschka, we find ourselves in the wilderness of painter nostalgia, where we look for the conceptual person, and in urban civilization, which has barely any options left and where we can therefore feel and see the colours of wilderness. Ultimately, we can be justified in our impression that nothing is as it seems at the first and second glance – just like in the world of Lynch’s Twin Peaks, where a corpse unexpectedly appears in a quiet town set in the middle of nature, where the trees keep rustling and the waterfalls keep flowing. Colours save us from reality.

Martin Dostál, Curator