Duch a hmota (Mnichovský p?ízrak) / Spirit and Matter (The Munich Spectre)
2008-2009 by Jan Merta
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle
Merta is one of the most prominent contemporary artists from the Czech Republic and currently still lives and works in Prague. His works are stylised abstractions from everyday reality, contorting and simplifying shape and colour to form his awesome compositions. Merta’s paintings are large and imposing and it is through this size and abstraction that he is able to draw our attention back to the medium, the very being of the painting, as well as providing a visual interpretation of an idea. Spirit and Matter is particularly abstract due to its name, visualising what cannot be visually defined, allowing his abstract style a particular strength in capturing the very essence of ideas and being able to show them pictorially. The paint itself seems to take on the persona of a spirit, the haze or cloud, surrounding an object, articulated through soft and natural colours; the paint seems weightless and transparent rather like light, a glow or warmth surrounding something alive. These large shapes then appear as ‘matter‘, bulbous and dark, built up of blocks; they are parts with the potential to be combined to build something new. They seem to be floating, turning or falling slowly like mass in space, carried by this wonderfully inverted colour scheme of dark mass in a brilliant expanse of white nothing. There is an energy, a vitality, infused into the image, reflective of this purpose of building new elements — evident and bright in the deep blue on the left, the white droplets that surge like miniature meteors and the bright pink glow in the top right hand corner. Merta’s image is imposing, transporting the eye to a closer viewpoint of a large expanse of abstract, slightly Cubist and painterly glorification.