Fragile Harmony of Zdena Šafka Řeháková
08.05.2012 / 09:20
On Friday evening, May 4, 2012, the opening of an exhibition of Zdena Šafka Řeháková was held at the Czech Embassy, ceremonially marking the end of the two years “embassyart艺馆“ cultural programme. The biggest surprise for everybody was the arrival of Yue Mingjun, one of the most famous and appreciated contemporary artist in China, who came together with his family and friends.
The exhibition contained a whole range of various art pieces provided by the artist, starting from big format tapestries, oil paintings on canvas, and pastels on paper, which represented a cross-cutting selection of the author’s work over the last ten years.
Before 2004, Šafka’s principal means of expression was textile art – designing and making tapestries, theatre costumes, and fashion in general, a field where she earned many honours. Gradually, she returned to traditional painting, usually depicting the human figure, very often just the head. She is not, however, concerned with making traditional portraits. Rather, she seeks to depict a symbolic, timeless image of the human head as the place where emotions and ideas are born.
In Šafka’s “heads” one sees the clear sharing and overlapping of inner and outer worlds. They reflect communication between people as well as relationships between the human being – the head, the inner-self, as well as beings and phenomena far beyond a single ego. They also clearly manifest an attempt to sketch out the complex process of the formation of ideas, which always – no matter whether they have come to us by thinking or by the imagination or in a flash of inspiration – have an impact on the world around us, on our neighbourhood. Conversely, the outer world enters our thinking, our heads, and becomes a part of ourselves. And it is the harmony and unity of the inner worlds of each person and the outer world, which Šafka aspires to. In a similar way, she seeks to express the harmony of relationships between individuals, a theme she documents in diverse settings (for example in the works Break-up, Together, Unity, and Alone).
Her paintings are uniformly illuminated by an inner light, using economical yet distinctive colouring to make her statement comprehensible and intense. The interaction between clearly demarcated surfaces of colour, the direct contact between them, where one colour influences the meaning and existence of the other, again closely parallels human relationships.
The cultural event was very well attended by both the Czech and the Chinese people and the leading managers of Skoda China were present too.