The subtitle of Tomáš Císařovský exhibition could perhaps read: Everything You Wanted to See from the Life of President Václav Havel, but… This is because the focal point of the exhibition consists of Císařovský’s newest series of ten paintings, created between 2012 and 2016, which portray various moments from the life of the playwright, author, dissident, and our first post-revolutionary president in an original manner. In this large-format (200 × 150 cm) “biographical” series, the painter continues in his long-term resolution to return traditional artistic genres like portraiture and historical painting to the artistic scene, synthesizing the current experience of contemporary art with the venerable tradition of Western painting.
In some ways, but in an entirely different and new fashion, the “Havel” series continues in the tradition of the “Legionnaire” and “Masaryk” series that brought Císařovský fame at the end of the 1980s, when he became one of the most prominent personalities of the newly-arrived post-modern generation. Images from our Czechoslovak history then made regular appearances in Císařovský’s work, be they moments from World War II, the 1950s, or the Normalization era.
In the Havel series, Císařovský did not stick to just paintings, but also created a large series of pen and wash works on paper showing a number of other moments from the life of the president, from childhood to the end of his life. Overall, it is a unique, surprising, and attractive image-based “chronicle” of Havel’s life that is intended for all who are capable of looking at the world dispassionately and with an open mind.