OPENING OF THE EXHIBITION THROUGH THE IMAGINATIVE LANDSCAPE OF J. M. W. TURNER

01 VERI’d love to thank all who joined us in the evening on December 15th in the Gallery of Art Critics (Galerie Kritiků). Even though many had apologized just before the exhibition opening, still, approximately 120-150 people showed up!! That’s amazing and it surpassed all our expectations. A Vivaldian musical introduction was provided by the violinist Václav Pelouch followed by the introductory speech delivered by Hanka Janíčková in place of Mrs Čiháková Noshiro who, unfortunately, could not have joined us for health reasons even though she had been looking forward to it:

“THROUGH THE IMAGINATIVE LANDSCAPE OF J. M. W. Turner”

Seven photographers and one painter under the leadership of the author of this concept, Vladimír Kysela, were involved in this great project of pictorial photography inspired by the landscape paintings of the renowned English painter. The exhibition is also combined with the publishing and launch of an e-book with the same title…

15 VER…The displayed photographic works could have been grouped in various ways – by authors, by locations (London, Lake District, Venice), by themes of the project (Landscape Documentary, Landscape Collage, Abstraction) or by the material used (canvas, photo boards, paintings). Nevertheless, it was a great journey in pursuit of a subject and story, so it made sense to organize the pictures in the order in which the authors perceived the respective stimuli. At the entrance to the gallery, the typical subjects that Turner painted can be seen – the sea, lake, city. After that, on the front wall, the painter’s central theme around the Lake District and seaside landscapes is reflected. In the back part of the gallery there are paintings linked to Venice, and partly also to the Alpes. In the atrium, the painted canvases by Jitka Bejdáková indicate that the project surpassed the world of photography…”

For the sake of completeness, I also chose a part of my introduction to the opening of the exhibition:

16 VER

“Obviously, we are not mad and neither of us can be serious about comparing oneself with the great Turner, but that was not the point. The question we faced was whether Turner’s colours, subjects and artistic elements can be transferred to the modern day either through photography or painting. What works with contemporary people and how they can work with it using modern technologies. Above all, are we skilled enough to implement this not-so-easy project?

How to make a project of this sort? Just like the previous one on César Manrique and the one coming next year on Joan Miró – it is necessary to get Turner into one’s head first. You go to England, visit his collections and the landscapes he painted and places he lived, you buy books, and you study and study … You add a couple of beautiful fools who do not regret spending time and money and who want to take pictures of things other than selfies or calendars. You also add a pinch of Venice to Lake District. Thicken it with a thousand takes, hundreds of work hours and discussions and then come out into the broad daylight, publish a book, and put up an exhibition.

Our Turner is not about the individual performance of a photographer or painter, no matter how important and needed that is. It is about the ability to have a group of people willing to be forthcoming, trying out something new despite the risk of it not turning out right. And to share an experience together that one would have hardly experienced on their own. Creating a story from the initial thought to the individual plot lines and the final joint exhibition. And from this aspect I am both excited and proud about what you see here, of my colleagues and of myself.”

The visitors‘ reactions made me realize again how strong the desire for unusual experiences, romanticism, shared journeys and experience, lies within us. For those of you who could not attend, you can delight yourselves with the images exhibited in Galerie Kritiků at least in this mediated manner.

The exhibition will be on until January 15th. On January 12th there will be a guided tour and meeting with the authors and doctor Hájek, who provided us with theoretical knowledge on the era of English Romantic painting before we set out on out endeavour. And to conclude, a report from the opening night – I’d like to thank all my friends who generously provided me with their snaps from it!

In Liberec, 19.12.2022