PETER AND LUCY – NOSHIRO 2001 | Vlasta Čiháková

(Although the story commences on September 11 th, it is timeless)

Molto: „They both shared a silent will not to see the future. Ske wanted it out of carelessness – resembling a singing brook, reconciled with everything that may come. He was driven by an eager negatioll, which plunges into the gorge of tke present existence, refusing to come up again.” (Romain Rolland August 1918)

The etemallovers, tender and forever struggling for their right to be happy and to love and against the hatred of the outer world, have always been a symbol of humanity and moral values. Their hope is something that associates them with the future of mankind. This is why art has always adopted their picture to depict a basic human archetype. The family also, where the children experience love, order and choose intellectual models to identify with, has always been a support and a defensive archetype in times of social misery. In the final years of the last century, it was becoming more and more difficult to tell the life stories of lovers as transpersonal ones; it was difficult to express one’s approval of orthodox family behaviour. The notion of happiness itself has – in the climate of the market economy – changed into consumerism, love has been degraded to mere sex and free partnership. It is the free individual that became the subject of the market, a person free of any commitments or engagements, who was not bothered by a relationship to a family ar children. “Serial families” – branched families – resulted from a series of marriages, divorces and births. Children themselves, being thrown into this psychological chaos, acquired new knowledge and skills ahead of their parents. The culture of the tongue declined while sensuous stimulation blossomed. The uncertain soul was controlled by sarcasm. The concepts of superman cloning and of virtual reality became the summit of our pride.

lťs as if we face the twilight of 20th century civilisation. The war against terrorism has been accompanied by a hangover from the collapse of high desires. The free legal individual, who once needed to identify chaos with order, has now been displaying an inclination towards decadence and degeneration. Wars have always intimated a fatigue from the existing values hierarchy, particularly if it arose from the clash of liberal democracy and fanaticism, where the values of the heart, reason and commonsense are denied by the blind belief in rigid values. Moreover, it has always been the incommensurability of social and living standards that has brought about the feuds stirred in the name of a fictitious truth. War is in many a sense a stimulus to profound introspection.

Martin Kuriš’s former pictures, with their figural depiction, were based on the feeling of solidarity and unity with a certain intimate parish or community, where all the “divine” human types were bom. As specific figures, they were marked and named for repetitive use in the individual cycles of paintings. Sometimes they were plump, sometimes skinny, sometimes handsome, and sometimes plain. This was govemed by the mental ar aesthetic point of view these figures were to embody in a given pictorial composition. The figures were always well drawn, dressed either in natural shades of nakedness or in the bright colours of garments. From time to time their peaceful looks were disturbed by a dark trace of past suffering or by the presence of a monster. The background of those pictures used to be fictitious, almost hallucinogenic with its exotic tuning in gaudy colours and full range of imaginary fauna and flora. Such characterization might hold good for the cycles of „Professor Frankenstein” or for “Lost She-Wolf“. The latest pictorial cycle, however, the one devoted to Peter and Lucia, has reflected a radical change in terms of form as well as that of contents.

Besides the archetypes of the Saint or Divine Family, of the Madonna and angels as newly introduced eleme the configurations of the miserable and fauna are situated quite unusually on a background of real scenery, shaped only by light. From time to time, an occasional exotic element may be encountered. The tendency to reduce then significant. The figures lose their wholesome plumpness and become thin, almost haggard. Their expressive twisted line is reminiscent of tree boughs. The fragile happiness on one hand and the suffering on the other are reflected the figures’ toothless smiles and the cave of their throats. However, the people in the pictures are surrounded by world of real nature. The occasional pond serves as a mirror; the image of the ambience is tamed with natural shades in soothing contrasts with some artificial accents. The occasional images of a boat, of a gale or of the cloudy sky hint at the existence of the Underworld and Hades. They make us aware of Doomsday and of the inevitability death. Human dreams are but insubstantial stories here.

These recent pictures do not convey peace or serenity. We can encounter life-stories of people enclosed in their dreams of bliss and love, in the communities of their families and supported by the presence of their fellow beings. The figures sympathise and forgive. It is a deliberate defence against the cruelty and inhumanity of the surrounding Works. It is a pilgrimage from the restless real presence towards eternity and perhaps a better world, stimulated by the comforting desire for infinity. Emotional intimacy cannot escape the destructive force from the outside, of course. However, support of emotionalism, seen as the authoťs introspection, revives the people’s faith in life and in themselves. It is means of this metaphor, by the metaphor of spiritual rebirth that the pictorial cycle of Peter and Lucia aspires to stand the antagonist of all violence, evil and war. The cycle strives to convey what we need so much.

Vlasta Čiháková – Noshiro