Beauty on a Small Scale

There’s a lovely new exhibition at the Hunt Kastner Gallery here in Prague of drawings, designs and photographs by Dalibor Chatrny (1925-2011), an influential artist and teacher who studied in Prague shortly after the Second World War, and who spent most of his career based in Brno where he taught, until 1986, at the School of Applied Arts.

The Hunt Kastner exhibition displays collections of designs that Chatrny published privately in small pamphlet editions, as well as photographs, some his own, some by friends and students, that he delightfully ‘enhanced’ with drawn lines and strings. There is great beauty in these small scale works.


In recognition of the profound influence of Dalbor Chatrny on artists in the Czech Republic (and no doubt in Slovakia before the separation), guests at Friday’s exhibition opening were invited to bring their own small-scale works inspired by the artist’s work, together with some explanatory text. Sadly, few complied, and the few works that were contributed by aspiring or established artists (or perhaps complete unknowns) served only to illustrate how difficult it is to create works of simplicity and beauty that don’t need justification through pretentious conceptualist explanation.

Fine works by Dalibor Chatrny


Rubbish (in my opinion) by guests at Friday’s Exhibition Opening

No Dalek

no dalek

Artist David Davros writes: For a child, all is the ‘other’. It is only through a process of secondary familial and public socialisation that a child can construct his or her necessary public and moral structures containing other: LOVE and other: HATE and at the same time  (re)configure his or her symbolic understanding of other: TERRESTRIAL and other: ALIEN. The child will all too often and all too easily reach for a palette of anatomically incomplete, sometimes conventional, sometimes degenerative, quasi-distorting representative forms to defuse the power of the hidden multiverse.

Breaking Wave (oil and modelling clay)

breaking wave

I am fascinated, writes Qi Qi-Di, by the relationship between object and representative medium. The wave breaks, just as its representation breaks, cracking and flaking dynamically as the clay dries. And as our cortical synapses progressively fail, and our own perceptions and memories break and fade,  object, medium, perception: are conjoined in oblivion. In the contemplation of the unending cycle of our striving and failing to convey, lies our only hope for peace, both in ourselves and in the world.

Out of Box


Out of Box, writes Ahmed Oud from ArtOffensiv Kolektiv, challenges the underlying strictures of representation, whether figurative or symbolic. Medium may itself remain untransformed by the assertion of the artistic object. Literally, nothing becomes the object when representation lies outside it. It is a message not through art to the world, but from art to the world.

These eccentric contributions have been incinerated (a condition of their contribution, apparently) so you need have no fear that your pleasure in Dalibor Chatrny’s work will be spoiled by the work of his overly cerebral and practically untalented followers.


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