Přijměte srdečné pozvání na výstavu / Please accept our cordial invitation to the exhibition.

ŘEČ MÍSTA - Aldin Popaja a Oldřich Tichý
kurátor: PhDr. Ivan Neumann

  • 6. 4. - 30. 4. 2017 (otevřeno denně od 11:00 do 19:00, kromě neděle)
  • Balbínova 26, Prague 2


“Two artists have encountered each other in an exhibition in Nová Galerie. They belong to two different generations, they have both had different life and artistic experience and so their styles of artistic expression differ too; yet, they share the belief in the ancient artistic medium that has been questioned so many times throughout this past century – they rely on painting. The works of both artists prove that painting has the ability to address the relevant content of human experiencing of the world again and again. Despite the difference in form the works of the two artists share a deep awareness of the artists’ own roots, the innermost connection with the places where they first experienced the world and for the first time realized the weight of life. Oldřich Tichý’s perception of the world and life was und oubtedly formed by frequent stays in the countryside and going through the difficulties of rural life among the hills of northern Moravia. His painting feels the mass of earth and the sprawling of visible things that being touched by human lives become the bearers of the invisible.  In his recent works, Aldin Popaja has turned to places filled with emotive forces and mystery. As if passing through necropolises scattered with white time-ravaged tombstones, known as “stečky”, engraved with mysterious and undeciphered symbols and scenes. The ancient history of earth is concealed here and stories and destinies of many human generations are expressed without words. Aldin Popaja’s paintings, however, do not render or reproduce what can be seen, nor do they express the weight or hardness of the stones. His glaze-like painting transforms the massive tombstones into intangible fluid colour energy. Not being subject to gravity the colour allows unexpected confi gurations of symbols and characters to emerge evoking presentiments of hitherto unknown associations.” PhDr Ivan Neumann

Oldřich Tichý

Oldřich Tichý’s journey to his unmistakably individual manner of pure painterly expression can be said to lead backwards. Back to times before any training, before any modernist avant-garde, back to primary experience, back to the first sightings, back to wonder. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in the late 1980s which was an era of great turmoil in the Czech art scene as the young artistic generation gradually introduced the inspiring ideas of postmodernism in their works. Tichý’s way to the raw roots before the term “art” even originated was also liberated due to the postulates of postmodernism but also, to the same extent, by the independent flow within art which had sensitively reflected the situation of the end of modernism.

Oldřich Tichý does not look for the subjects of his work but quite obviously encounters them wherever he goes. His sensitivity is addressed by the most common man-made objects in this world but also by those despised ones and by natural phenomena and processes. He does not manipulate them to turn them into alienated objects but fully experiences their presence, their reality and listens to their stories. This ability of “being present” naturally stems from the earliest experiences of common rural life in close touch with the sky, wind, rain, sun, solid ground, vegetation and the whole stretch of land intimately experienced as home.
When looking at Oldřich Tichý’s artwork we urgently realize that this is not a case of depicting objects but through the language of the most common, even useless objects addressing the fact that the world has secrets, or more precisely, that the world and life are carried on by secrets. Tichý’s paintings originate from the ever new examination of objects and the space we occupy. They talk about the need to find a place-home. At the same time they offer an exciting encounter with the beauty and power of painting.


Aldin Popaja

Aldin Popaja is a graduate from two art schools who first drew attention to himself as a figural painter following the world-wide trend of new figuration, which had affected art in numerous modifications. It may be peculiar that only after having moved to the Czech Republic Aldin Popaja started working with the theme of mediaeval tombstones called “stečky” found only in his homeland of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their historical explanation still remains unclear, as though they were offering an undecipherable message, and so they are interpreted in a variety of ways. However, Aldin Popaja does not capture their form or treat them as a landscape element, he is not interested in them as a historiographer either, but he sensitively perceives their mysterious speech, he listens to the sound of the places. In his paintings the stones lose their hardness and weight, their structure and outline seem blurred, they are not firmly anchored in land but they levitate in an ungraspable unearthly space. Images drawn from the tombstone reliefs, originally in greater detail, for instance a whole figure with its hand raised in a greeting gesture, later with more focus on the signs and symbols used on the tombstones. Most often it is the sign of the cross which Aldin Popaja modifies and confronts with other structures. In the new spatial conditions they relativize the habitually acquired meanings. In his paintings the hardness of soil, the hardness of stone become symbols of a kind, a spiritual message. It seems as if signs and symbols levitate through space on their own, disappearing and suddenly reappearing. With time, the shapes and symbols originating from those engraved in the solid material of land are confronted with immaterial, imaginary geometrical shapes. Originally these shapes existed as a grid in the second plan of the painting. In recent works, however, this geometrical web, the light stain quality of which evokes an idea of light, has permeated the whole area of the canvas.