Lidová škola umění – Jan Merta and with him Jasanský – Polák

14. 9. 2023 — 25. 11. 2023


Artist: Jan Merta
Curator: Michal Koleček


Jan Merta (born 1952, Šumperk) returns to his experiences associated with the years 1966-1968 through a solo exhibition project prepared for the DUÚL (Regional Gallery of Fine Arts) in his hometown. These were the years he spent in Ústí nad Labem before departing for studies at the Václav Hollar School of Art in Prague. However, the theme of the exhibition cannot be perceived solely as retrospective, as the artist utilizes this look back to primarily define new starting points and reflect on entirely current societal and personal questions. In the individual artworks created for this exhibition, Jan Merta touches upon the romantic tradition intertwined with the cultural significance of the nearby České středohoří (Czech Central Mountains) and the Elbe Valley. He also delves into the existential estrangement characteristic of the fading industrial past and the bitter post-industrial disillusionment of this city and its broader surroundings, inspired by his “Ústí experience.” The atmosphere of this place is reflected in the intersections of photographic images present in the artist’s works, serving as tools to evoke visual memory sensations, forgotten flavors in the Proustian sense that unveil the course of forgotten stories, and graceful paintings revealing the essence of the present moment.