until September 25, 2022
A few weeks ago, during an interview about his latest exhibition “Princesses” at the Toyen Gallery, Tomáš JETELA revealed some clues about his upcoming projects. Since the opening of his solo exhibition at the prestigious and historic Nová Síň Gallery in Prague on September 13, we now know more about his “Magic Monsters”.
Split personalities, psychological duality, alliance of opposites… the exhibition explores the ambivalence of beings and things… the coexistence of shadow and light.
By invoking magic in the title, the artist casts a spell on us and awakens in us this paradox as fascinating as it is terrifying. Indeed, Nigromancy (black magic) and mageia (white magic) have colored magic for centuries with both evil and beneficial intentions…. like people who waver between the beautiful and the ugly, the good and the bad… an existential dilemma.
In the context of this exhibition, we must first outline the very special atmosphere that emanates from the Nová Síň gallery. The showroom is presented as an immaculate cube whose grid floor responds to the structure of the large glass roof which floods the room with diffused and harmonious light. The works themselves, through certain geometric patterns (grids of squares, etc.), echo this matrix, this algorithm. The visitor enters the heart of the system. The symmetry is striking like a reflection… returning like a « shared dream » of the movie “Inception”… disturbing like the bedroom at the end of « 2001, A Space Odyssey »… There is an air of science fiction!
By a regular, airy, linear hanging, of identical large formats, the artist (in the manner of Stanley Kubrick) then knew how to play with the magic of the place and appropriate it to stage the exhibition with cinematographic rigor, and a keen sense of storytelling. In particular, he succeeded in preserving (which was also dear to the American director) the illusion that the light emerges from the scene itself.
On either side, the canvases follow each other, the portraits face each other like a guard of honor leading the visitor to the monumental triptych arranged at the back of the room like a sacred altarpiece… a masterpiece!
The triptych obeys several directions of narration that are both alternative and complementary (vertical and horizontal). The composition unfolds from bottom to top like a vaporous allegory of the cycle of life, mixing figuration and Vanitas… Each canvas has a more imposing figure than the others, and a dominant color (bright pink as the common denominator). These figures, invoked, appear as if by magic… bloodthirsty monsters or radiant divinities… superheroes with different supernatural powers. A hand finally emerges from each canvas, expressive and enveloping to form an embrace of the triptych… as if these united figures held the world in their hands… a fraternal unity of humanity… an Ode to Joy!
An exhibition being in a way the final and enigmatic sequence of a long creative process of thought and realization of the idea, of the dream, towards the canvas, the visitor placed at the entrance of the room finds himself facing to this triptych like astronaut David Bowman facing the black monolith… a portal to a rebirth!
All of the exhibited works thus present much more than the character of a simple object… they are parts, moments, of the artist’s life… priceless!