They said about the author

Accompanying program to the Summer Film School in Slovácké Museum.

During the following week, the Gallery of Slovácké Museum and the main building will be filled with hot gallery news. Three exhibitions will be gradually opened at the Summer Film School. The gallery space will be refreshed by photographs of František Chrástek and Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and in the main building in Smetanovy sady a poster design for Ingmar Bergman's films.

František Chrástek is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary art photography. For the third time he brings to Uherské Hradiště a set of precisely processed shots with an unmistakable handwriting. This time with a sparse color scheme. "When I was a kid, the creation was blue. With new knowledge and a glimpse of the world, I switched to red tones, and now I focused on monochrome messages with a recognized minimalist color accent. the environment in which I found inspiration for creation, "František Chrástek described a collection of large-format still-life photographs, which will also be extended by dozens of views of the landscape from trips to the USA.

Pavel Princ, Uherské Hradiště, 2018


Light, Dust and the Threshold of Secrets ...

In parallel with the opening of the Summer Film School in Uherské Hradiště, an exhibition of photographs of the former student of FAMU, František Chrástek, has been opened in the Gallery of the Slovácko Museum in Uherské Hradiště since 26 June. His large-format artifacts in muted valerians awaken the question of where the boundary between photography and image actually lies.

Lonely objects are captured on these melancholy-pervaded images in front of the finely structured gray wall and the faded wooden floor lightly worn out by annual rings. A piece of a rotten beam, a sheet of dusty glass, a dead tree branch covered with lichen, a broken plate, and frayed plywood at the edges, a blind mirror ... all drawn into the microdetails - like on Jan van Eyck's canvases. The light that falls from somewhere - from the side here on top - to those old, godly discarded things, literally sanctifies them: it returns their long lost beauty, picks them up from the plane of things to the plane of symbols, inhales them. The old tailor's mantle, full of dust and cobwebs, shines in the golden light as if it had just descended from the baroque altar, the rusty, withered shrub evoking an association on its twigs with a vibrant, luminous light, from which the voice of the One who is called...

The world of these freed images - photographic poems is the world of light and dust, the constant constants of our ephemeral being. Their scuffed, dirty things pervade the soul. They become a metaphor for the fact that only the extinction and death open up the intersection into eternity. Their author, František Chrástek, who recently celebrated his sixtieth birthday, became famous at the beginning of his professional career with abstract compositions whose minimalist inspiration was transformed by the energy of red and blue surfaces. He has exhibited worldwide, collecting his artifacts in the US and Japan. It is the impressive landscape he recognized in the US that makes up the second part of his Hradisko exhibition called Fragmety In / Out. They too have the power of a symbol. And as in the still-lifes, created in an old house in the suburbs of his native Uherský Brod, they are pervaded by mystery. They also reflect the path that the photographer has taken from the labyrinth of the world to the paradise of his heart. Treasures he has found at this pilgrimage can be seen until September 9 in Uherské Hradiště.

Bronislav Pražan - Prague, Týdeník Rozhlas, 2018


František Chrástek is one of the most respected personalities in the field of contemporary Czech art photography. His work can be divided into landscape, figural and composed still lifes. Each of these focuses shows creative creativity, a distinctive elaboration of inspirational artwork, and professional precision in the creative intent and choice of the best result. The technical equipment of the photographic apparatus is perfectly controlled in the sum of all successive phases, but at the same time it adds deep content or implied story to the form.

His strong advantage is working with light, either naturally flowing or originally transmitted through various matrices, thereby achieving unexpected effects of rich intensities and surprisingly guided angles of light paths, or spatial transformation - from reality to imaginative dreaminess. In this, František Chrástek is not only a great photographer, but above all a perfect magician who can grab light and turn it into a charming and cooperative medium. It is no coincidence that his works resemble ancient Baroque illusions of mystery and at the same time effective testimony. His interest is also that he leaves the audience with space to release fantasy, personal ideas and subsequent experiences. He does not want to bind them with his intention, but gives them the freedom to interpret the content of the work.

Another positive aspect is that he does not seek attention in current trends. On the contrary, he chooses forgotten places in which, together with the space, the objects left behind - once beautiful and functional, now unsightly and unnecessary - have survived. These are the most attractive models for him to learn and work with. They are a challenge for him to revive them for at least a moment and bring them a new meaning or even a new story.

Another remarkable ability of František Chrástek is the feeling for tiny details, whether it is a devastated wall of an abandoned house or a view of an unusually shaped landscape. With these details he can work in differently grasped shots, which ultimately appear almost inventive.

In the summary of all evaluations, it should be emphasized that František Chrástek's photographs transcend the boundaries of their discipline and reach the level with which we perceive images created by classical painting techniques. These opinions and responses are connected by all fans of Chrástek's work. Numerous exhibitions, not only in the Czech Republic, in many European countries (Austria, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Germany), Japan and the USA, are proof of the artist's abilities, great ideas and objective comparison in the contemporary world of art photography.

Mgr. Marie Martykánová

Art historian and Exhibition curator
Slovácké muzeum, Uherské Hradiště, 2018


František Chrástek goes beyond photography

When asked if the photograph may be closer to the painted picture, František Chrástek responds throught his large-format works. But at the same time he asks new questions. Above all, whether such convergence is desirable and functional. However, Chrástek solves the issue in his own way, putting his own visual procedures into the works, trying to balance between the abstract hint and the specific naturalism. He knows that the best way to get the art work is in an encrypted mystery. If everything is clear to the viewer at first glance, he no longer has to look for anything and does not need to think about anything. But this is not a threat to Chrástek.
His photographic images, full of aggressive red color, embedded symbols, celestial blue, and ordinary things in surprising contexts just don't let us go. Each of them represents one personal stop, but also a confrontation with one's own imagination. It is really surprising what an ordinary object can play when it plays well in space. For example, an antique tin bath, where children once bathed in the kitchen once a week (Objects) looks like a postmodern sculpture in the interior of baroque gloom. And as a subtle detail, which always underlines the overall impression, two red fish rushing inside in the water. In addition to visual creativity, Chrástek also puts a great deal on the creative craftsmanship of his ideas. In some cases, he gets far beyond the boundaries of photography deep within the classic oil paintings. Even with many famous Baroque masters, he has a feeling for light and shadow. On the other hand, he pays tribute to modern artists of cubism or abstraction. He works with challenging colors and shapes so that at first glance it is not clear what kind of art it is. However, the photographer raised this ambiguity to its advantage. The fact that it deletes the boundary between classical painting and artistic photography makes full use of it. He knows how to do it so that he does not just beat empty straw and does not create art for art.

Foto popis | Photographer František Chrástek can connect seemingly non-connectable (Wired sky, 1989).
Foto autor| Foto PRÁVO - Jan Šída, 2014


Zlin Diary (Culture)

The Exhibition of František Chrástek ends this weekend

Uherské Hradiště - This weekend, visitors to the Gallery of Slovácké Museum in Uherské Hradiště have the last opportunity to see an exhibition of photographs by František and Lucie Chrástková. Photographer Frantisek Chrastek offered a set of photographs from recent years. Compared to his previous work, they are atypical, with suppressed colors. "There are autobiographical elements in them, even some X-rays in some photographs. They also express the awareness of matter, the search for things. Finding oneself and what's after death. The question of faith," the author intends. However, also other Chrástek's photographs from the previous period, dominated by the red color, are on display. "Red is a symbol of birth, fire, the origin of the universe. But even sexuality, that color simply irritates," says the author.

Last year František Chrástek let us known about himself in an epic photographic publication in the Zlín Region: Pictures, which represent the most captivating places in the region. Now he is preparing an exhibition in Uherský Brod, which will present him in a slightly unusual light. He will show his photos of his travels around the world.

Lucie Chrástková, daughter of František Chrástek, prepared for the Uherské Hradiště exhibition a series called Smell of Plum Jam, in which she tells the story of an old abandoned interior, where objects are left behind and with a melancholic atmosphere.

Regionální mutace| Mladá fronta DNES - southeastern Moravia

Author: (jar)


UHERSKÉ HRADIŠTE
GALLERY OF SLOVÁCKÉ MUSEUM, Otakarova 103

Exhibition

Photography - Lucie Chrástková, František Chrástek till 13.4.
The author's presentation of contemporary photographic works presents František Chrástek
(* 1953) and his daughter Lucie (* 1980) in an interesting confrontation and approaches to seeking inspirational themes and opinions of personal testimonies. F. Chrástek is a proven artist in the field of art photography and his mature work belongs to the sphere of high-quality production of Czech art. In the thematic selection, he moves within the limits of his personal testimony of the feelings of man, with references to subjective experiences, philosophical considerations, myths, religious symbolism, and the elaborate eroticism radiating from the human body. L. Chrástková is a young author seeking her way in a wide view of man, his existence and his necessary space. For this exhibition, she created a cycle called Smell og Plum Jam and worked out an imaginary story about the passing of time. In her footage, she documents the residual essence of living and exhausting role of the interior or the various objects left by his users. It moves on the border of testimony, memories and the so-called imprint of existence. Forty works by L. and F. Chrástková are an exclusive spectacle of the field of art photography, which crosses the boundaries of territory and time.

Marie Martykánová, Uherské Hradiště, 2008

František Chrástek`s creative development is that of a strong flood of ideas, moving on from one oeuvre to another, without the author ever falling into stereotypical exhaustion. In the individual stages through which this artist has passed, and which have progressively risen ever higher and further, we can find ever new motives, shots, panoramas, and magnificent wizardry in his use of light, shapes, and space. From his erstwhile purist, clean-lined geometrical formations, he has gradually mastered much more lively subjects that - in a wide range of differing variations, excisions, confrontations of shapes and spatial arrangements, associations and interpretations, he has evolved and developed right up to the very edge of magical content, expression, and interpretation. Many texts have been written about Chrástek`s works and dozens of exhibitions have garnered praise and recognition regarding the originality of his creative talent.

It is not that long ago when photographs were regarded with some degree of trepidation and bewilderment - without consideration and the same weight being given to the same need for artistic talent and abilities as is the norm for painters, graphic artists and others. Evolutions in this discipline however have seen an unprecedented progress and advances - and, as long as a concrete piece of work engages our attention and Interests us, we can now talk without hesitation or embarrassment of the minutest evidence of individuality and originality. Long gone are the days when anyone who could see and had a camera was capable of photographic reproduction. The passage of evolving time and greater attention paid to this field have shown that only a truly creative and gifted person can create an oeuvre worthy of our admiration, sense-laden, or even of a timeless character. And, it is without doubt that František Chrástek is one such person. He has chosen his own somewhat not easy path, which is occasionally oriented rather towards the more thoughtful and demanding viewer. His photographic works are, artistically speaking, a summary of precision technical execution and a profound philosophical content. Whether dealing with the confrontation of structures, (or) died-off spaces (combined) with infinitely repeating energies of incoming and outgoing light; or whether he chooses as his models remnants of zoomorphic origin or replaces them with worn-out parts and components or with various other differing technical materials; or when working with the human body in a variety of poses or detailed views thereof - we can always discover a wide expanse of associations filled with emotions, imagination and fantasy. If we so want, we can find associations between our own experiences, thoughts and also, our own subjective view on the world within the bounds of rational and emotive perception.

František Chrástek is a creative thinker who embeds a wide range of potential subjects and themes into his inspirational stimuli. He transforms various spatial compositions into apparently differing associations, while not avoiding references to completely simple, everyday things as well as referring to those things which influence and have influenced civilisations throughout the centuries (e.g. erotica, myths, Christianity, etc.). In all of his artistic endeavours, he is concerned with the inevitable and unconquerable laws of time passing (c.f. tempus fugit), the symbolism of constantly alternation of life and its end (in a figurative sense, apart from living creatures this also relates to non-living subject matters), and to the unidentifiable feeling of the rule of laws governing our perception. If we add to this the actual execution of his works, then it often happens that we stand before Chrástek`s photographic oeuvres and ponder while raking through our consciousnesses about what they remind us of, or where we have encountered such phenomena or scenes in our pasts. Often, we cannot even find the answers (to these self-imposed questions), but we walk away from these oeuvres filled with feelings and impressions and fired with the impulse to continue thinking about ourselves as well as the world around us.

František Chrástek has found his own style and way of communicating and disseminating it in a modern way which is, in part, based upon ancient long-gone cultural sources in such a way as to be able to react and link these over time and to rework them into topical perceptions. 


Chrástek is preparing an exhibition in Zlín


Zlín - Uherský Brod photographer František Chrástek is preparing his own exhibition in Zlín these days. In the Alternativa Hall, he will exhibit more than thirty large-scale color photographs, which showcase his work over the past twenty years.

"Still life is one of the main themes of Chrástek. However, he also finds inspiration in Czech art of the 1960s and existentialism," said manager Darja Musilová. The exhibition in Zlín will start on September 7th and will last until September 30th.

Chrástek divides his work into three creative periods: black and white, blue and red. The art historian Aleš Kuneš, who has been a long-time admirer and critic of Chrástek's photographic works, has previously stated that the author is modelling color styles for an unmistakable style. Among other things, he puts emphasis on technical perfection while working on lighting moods. The images are captured and processed to a large-format slide in the traditional analog way.

The 53-year-old photographer lives and works in Uherský Brod. He exhibited his works not only in the Czech Republic, but also in Poland, Japan, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Austria and Germany. He has prepared more than 25 solo exhibitions.

Aleš Kuneš, Prague, 2006


FRANTIŠEK CHRÁSTEK

"Let's turn only slightly, and the colors and stripes of the spectrum will change immediately." Czech exile living in Paris, Věra Linhartová wrote in the novel "Space for Resolution" (1964). František Chrástek (despite the compactness of his work through three decades) truly pervades a surprisingly wide spectrum. It always reveals new themes of motives and is a perceptive explorer of remote areas without losing sight of the previous and subsequent correlation to the whole. And all this from strictly ascetic moderation in transforming a staged still life to an almost baroque refined picture with strangely mutually incremental forms. In all these oscillations, the author maintains a conscious and clear order. The whirling movement in deeper and more mysterious authority here connects with generally human uncertainty to something clear and liberating.

Traditional and sophisticated technological procedures of large-format photography (especially color inversion) at the time of the rapid onset of digital photography are not an end in itself. Among the technically high-quality prints created either by traditional or digital scanning and processing, most viewers today would hardly find differences. Yet the difference exists in many ways, and eventually it may remind you of a different sound and distinctive charm of the vignette compared to the music stored in a good MP3 player. Or otherwise: by almost perfect possibilities of modeling an electronically processed image, the photography medium has also lost some of its "alchemical" nature, something of the dramatic uncertainty of producing a latent image on a film in a darkroom.

But let's get back to the beginnings of the photographer's inspiration, which we already find in black-and-white girls' acts. There is a basic syllabus of everything that Chrástek processes more consistently in the subsequent work. Interest in characterizing the shape, the position of the figure in the indicated space, the light and the thoughtful and consistent layout of the final image. Although the photographs are very ingeniously staged, we still perceive nature as the authorś specific point of photography. It is the ability to create a new space in the studio, which is decisive for the creator.

In the context of individual opuses, their names are often very important. "Tribute to the Square", "Square by Malevich", "Delimitation of Space", "Diffusion of Red", "Pathway of Light" and quite different "Study of Destruction", "Anatomy of the Head" or "Monoceros". Already in this cursory enumeration we perceive a surprisingly fluent dispersion of motifs from pure abstraction to its direct opposite in the refined transformations of Mannerism or Baroque symbols (very characteristic styles for old Czech art).

Christian symbols and concepts in contexts of corporeality (such as Crucifixion or Christ in Red) are undoubtedly inspired by part of Andres Serrano's work. The "sexuality" of the red, from which matter flows, the female legs of the Crucifixion illusively radiate sacred light. In recent years, the Western cult Veraikon "veil of St. Veronica", often referred to as the allegorically mentioned Western cult Veraikon, is evoking in the Red cloth or Shroud. The mystery of the "Turin Canvas" with the imprint of Christ's body in the negative can be interpreted in a symbolic plane as the "first photographic image". However, Chrástek also finds inspiration in Czech concrete art of the sixties and existentialism ("Photography for Franz Kafka", "Picture inspired by Dorian Gray"). However, unlike photographs from this time, it works almost exclusively with color. The color stylization of the motifs is modelled by the photographer on the unmistakable manuscript ("Imaginary Red", "Interference in Red", "Blue pyramid"). The sophisticated record of apparent motion in images, movement that at the same time rises and falls, develops, stands out and recedes is ultimately an expression and instrument of the modus vivendi, based on a well-defined belief in the physiology and functioning of the world's forces in its intangible wholeness.

František Chrástek's main focus has been the modern concept of the still life genre for many years. The centerpiece of his works are photographs of concrete, elementary simple props in the production, details, surprising cutouts and in the original ways of lighting the scene. In these paintings, the original objects lose their meanings and concentrate things much harder to grasp, transcendent. The photographer seems to touch the undefined natural forces and the basic biological facts of man, and of course the stop of regular or rhythmic movement in nature.

Simple shapes dominate the picture, with minimalist compositions using subtle valleys of tonal transitions and impressive light contrasts ("Curved Light", "Ray of Light"). Often in the very choice of motives, there are impulses in free interpretations from the field of fine art - especially painting (eg the Square by Malevič / 1987). Consistency, complexity and respect for the "Good Shape Law" with well organized form is never directed to any spectacular decoration, but is more of an interpretation, incantation, evocation and perhaps even a silent rest. On a similar level, an intimate Self-portrait of the hand into which pain and loneliness, abandonment, activity, belonging, good and evil imprinted together. In addition to the erotic and sexual symbolism of images, light and color also open up their counterpart. And that is the limitations of our lives. The mystery is deepened by the mystery that we experience, and which opens to us in ourselves.

In the work after 2000, the author turns to the tradition of the nature morte genre (from the French literally dead nature, but in the visual arts it means any still life). In one of his essays, Roland Bartes argues that photography is always permeated with the image of "vanitas" (Latin in vain) and its essence is transience. Vanitas still life was mainly for Baroque painting. The latent and period-transformed inspirations in the Baroque will now be found in the Chrástek's latest works (Study of Ruin - vanity, Post morte, Monoceros and others). They are united by the extremely delicately balanced color scheme, the bizarre of some shapes, the sophistication of mutual counterpoints between objects, the complex allegorical symbolism of the hints and, at the same time, the surprisingly simple means by which this world of amazement and illusion of "baroque theater" builds. The more dramatically the time space is concentrated at some point, the more we feel and experience it, the more we realize the finality.

But at the very end (as in the introduction) I borrow Linhart's quote from the mathematical definition. Because it remarkably relates to the work of František Chrástek: "The whole is infinite, if it enters all and clearly into any part of it." Aleš Kuneš, Prague, March 2006

"František Chrástek's paintings bring a lot of experiences, knowledge and questions, they are a distinctive testimony about life and the world. Also the steady color scheme in the prevailing red shades has its significance in terms of the author's profile and manuscript."

Marie Martykánová, Zlín, 2006


Ladies and gentlemen.

I have the pleasure of watching František Chrástek's photographic work for many years. And believe me, they always surprise me with something new. He is a type of creator who, once he achieves a sense of satisfaction from a successful work, then tries and seeks other ways to move forward. However, it is by no means a random experimenter looking for cheap visual effects. He carefully analyzes his ideas and analyzes them in various variants to find the closest of his feelings and intended statements. Although I do not like the word perfectionist too much, and a person with this sign is scaring me about revealing my possible imperfection, I cannot avoid this term in Chrástek's case. His work is really precise not only in terms of content, but also in terms of technical execution. Surely the one who deals with the photo and can evaluate the scope of the author's professionalism.

František Chrástek tells his photographs paintings, which most people have in common with classical painting techniques. A random viewer might even be mistaken for the impression that it is not a pure photograph, but that other finishing entries have been used. But what you see is really the result of a single discipline. In summary, there is a perfect knowledge of light effects based on the knowledge of one of the greatest phenomena of nature, namely light in all intensities and nuances. If we add the author's aesthetic feeling for the composition in advance of the basic idea so as to use the unrepeatable moment to the necessary angle of incidence of light rays and in accordance with the materials used, it is not possible to state the success of the harmonic connection.

František Chrástek has gone a long and challenging journey in his work. Many years have passed since his graduation at FAMU in Prague. He went through a stage of classically understood acts to find interesting inspiration in geometrically arranged still lifes in the second half of the 1980s. Perhaps the most admired work of this period is the "Square by Malevich", which is a perfect example of the professional combination of shape and space. In this spirit, the author proceeded in other variations and increasingly bold combinations. He multiplied the geometrical figures, arranged them in special formations in order to find new dimension. Gradually, however, these airless, motion-filled schemes shifted into the interior of a completely different space. František Chrástek felt the need to convey a deeper meaning, which can be described as an intimate imagination, but in a cultivated connection with real space. He confronted the smooth geometric shapes with a structured background to gradually move to an even more expressive expression. He found places where time and human existence left their mark of destruction and tear. Shots of this type are emotionally conceived in the expressive connection of the past and the present. The theme of life and its transience in conjunction with the time that light passes through has become a rich resource for other intentions. Geometrical morphology gradually transforms into more life-like formations and utilizes not only utility or zoomorphic objects, but gradually incorporates the human body or its parts into its compositions. In natural maturation, one has to look for parables whose original meaning can be found in many mythological or philosophical sources. And just as every person thinks from time to time about the meaning and transience of life, even in his self-realization, the artist sorts his thoughts, but with the gift of the possibility of art. However, František Chrástek goes even further in his reflections. While in his previous stages he communicated feelings from the visually perceived surface, then in the following time he penetrates through the so-called physical and material cover. It reveals a man in a profound lumen to the inside, crosses the seemingly hard cover of our bodies, and with our own emphasis reminds us of our archetypal essence. We all have our identity and it's not just a surface image of a figure. In a schematic layout, we are a combination of sophisticated connections that together form hardly definable relationships between real and subconscious actions or actions. The interpretation of Chrástek's works has many options, depending on which one we choose. These are irritating works for our imagination, and in a proper state of mind we find many symbols associated with life in the widest sense. And if there is something mysterious in Chrástek's work, then it is a connection between rationality and abstraction. Red shades dominate the color range of this creative effort. As an art historian, I will not analyze it in terms of the physical laws of the light spectrum; In this, red is perhaps the most active in different positions of perception, imagination and effect. However, it is not possible to comment on Chrástka's Blue, which also has a meaning in his works. In recent years, the author has not avoided the entry of other color shades, but they keep them as flashes in bounded limits of imaginary light alchemy. František Chrástek at this exhibition presents a selection of older and completely new works. It is also his characteristic feature that he wants to surprise. In addition to the new themes, he also comes with large-formats, which further enhance the impression of painting techniques in a matte. What seemed to be a second-tier layering of space in the past suddenly attacks our senses with vigorous intensity without losing sight of the central motif. In its multifaced balance - form, background, light, it plays out and provokes our senses.

As I said in the introduction, František Chrástek has had a long creative journey divided by individual stages of his efforts. Visitors to many Czech and foreign galleries could already get acquainted with his work. If I am not mistaken, then the farthest place he exhibited was in Japan. And, without exaggeration, I think that Paris would be quite "nice" fit for him.

I wish you to leave this exhibition nicely tuned and with a head full of interesting ideas. Opening of the exhibition F. Chrástek - Identity


Alternativa, Zlín, 7.9.2006
preface Mgr. Marie Martykánová


Marie Martykánová, Uherské Hradiště, 2004

"The flagship of František Chrástek's works has been the modern concept of the still life genre for many years. His inspiration could be initially searched in both Czech and world abstract art. The images of concrete, elementary simple props in the production, details, surprising cuts and in the original ways of lighting the scenes were loosing the meanings of the original objects and concentrated things much harder to grasp, transcendent.

In addition to the erotic and sexual symbolism of images, light and color also open up their counterpart. And that is the limitations of our lives. The mystery is deepened by the mystery that we experience, and which opens to us in ourselves.

František Chrástek, an artist from the Czech Republic. His photographs are kept in the color of red, with visible motifs of still life and act. The cropped fragments of the anatomy of the human body or animal skulls (resembling a mask) in combination with the structure of the walls and sheets ... in the right lighting have the character of almost-graphic compositions.


FRANTIŠEK CHRÁSTEK 700 nm

The propagation of light (so important to photography) can be described with the help of the electromagnetic wave theory. Wavelength is the distance between two consecutive ridges of a wave. Most photographers range from 380 to 780 nm (ie visible in light). Photographer František Chrástek can be found almost exclusively among those longer waves. This does not mean a stormy ocean (the nanometer is 10 to minus the ninth meter), but the author's "luminous manuscript" has eventually settled to "absolute red" (as one of his recent exhibitions), about 700 nm long.

The flagship of František Chrástek's works has been the modern concept of the still life genre for many years. His inspiration could initially be found in Czech and world abstract art. The images of concrete, elementary simple props in the production, details, surprising cuts and in the original ways of lighting the scenes were loosing the meanings of the original objects and concentrated things much harder to grasp, transcendent.

Here, Chrástek, perhaps intuitively, gets to a position known more than from the European tradition in the tradition of the Eastern conception of creation. I do not dare to take a short excursion into the history of Japanese art-historical thinking on the occasion of the photographer's Japanese exhibition, but we can see some correlations in my opinion.

Let us note the term "Yūgen", which has often appeared in old Japanese poetic manuals, when "Yū" means "dark, hidden" and "gen" means "dark, black". The compound then meant "depth and mystery, mysteriousness." If, in Chinese thinking from Tang, it has a profound meaning as contrast to superficial or banal, in Japan, it has always a meaning of aesthetic. Fujiwara Mototoshi defines "Yūgen" as a mysterious, indefinite mood. The innocence and simplicity, with the emphasis on concrete detail along with the reflection of one's own destiny in the sense of futility of human action, is what Chrástek brings to some directions of the traditional Japanese art. In the last author's work, we find beauty in what is worn by the signs of fading, dullness, something that has lost the original shine, that is called "sabi" in Japan - abandoned, worn out by old age, rusted, faded. "Sabi" signifies the decrepitation of things. And in the later definitions of "Yūgen", the elements of mystery and indefinability ware emphasized. "It is completely impossible to explain what is the wondrous beauty of the Yūgen" (Shōtetsu monogatari,
Book 16). In this evocation, the Japanese traditional poetics is closely approaching the modern poetics. Also in the Japanese tradition, we are faced with surprising courage to end the image where it should barely begin. The efficacy of the hint increases by affecting all of our perceptions of growing out of the context of the overall atmosphere. "If we say all that remains." Japanese poet Basho once told his disciple.

However, Chrástek is, above all, a Czech photographer and finds his sources of initiation primarily in the region of Central and Western Europe. In the last concentrated work (created this year), he turns to many new aspects to the nature morte genre (literally dead nature in French, but means still life in the visual arts). In one of his essays, Roland Bartes argues that photography is always permeated with the image of "vanitas" (Latin in vain) and its essence is transience. The vanitas type still life belonged mainly to the Baroque painting, which has a great tradition in Bohemia. The latent and period-transformed inspirations in the Baroque will now be found in the Chrstek's latest works (Study of Ruin - vanity, Post morte, Monoceros and others). They are united by the extremely delicately balanced color scheme, the bizarre of some shapes, the sophistication of mutual counterpoints between objects, the complex allegorical symbolism of the hints and, at the same time, the surprisingly simple means by which this world of amazement and illusion of "baroque theater" builds. Although many of these practices seem to be in direct opposition to Japanese perception of aesthetics of shapes, I think there has never been a fear of irregularity - on the contrary, it has always been a natural part of creation. The more dramatically the time space is concentrated at some point, the more we feel and experience it, the more we realize the finality.

Christian symbols and concepts in contexts of corporeality (such as Crucifixion or Christ in Red) are undoubtedly inspired by part of Andres Serrano's work. The "sexuality" of the red, from which matter flows, the female legs of "Crucifixion" illusively radiate sacred light. In recent years, the Western cult Veraikon "veil of St. Veronica", often referred to as the allegorically mentioned Western cult Veraikon, is evoking in the Red cloth or Shroud. The mystery of the "Turin Canvas" with the imprint of Christ's body in the negative can be interpreted in a symbolic plane as the "first photographic image". In a different level, an intimate Self-portrait of the hand is led into pain and loneliness, abandonment, activity, belonging, good and evil imprinted together.

The consistency of the chosen system in the choice of motifs, in their stylization, rhythm and subsequent distribution seems to be a measure of the urgency of the testimony and opens the audience the idea that all these characters encode a difficult primary experience to communicate. Although František Chrástek uses simple props in his still lifes, his work touches on the undefinable natural forces and basic biological facts of man and, of course, the stop of regular or rhythmic movement in nature - the movement of us, water, clouds, fire and cosmic bodies. These circuits seemed to show also the clearly defined color of the resulting prints (in the "basic" red and blue). Obviously, the author's narrative takes up a much wider section of reality, but the art order is undoubtedly understood to be isomorphic with the order of the microcosm and the macrocosm.

The sophisticated record of apparent motion in images, movement that increases and decreases, develops, stands out and recedes is the basic characterization of two decades of photographer's work. Ultimately, it is the expression and instrument of the modus vivendi, based on a precisely formulated belief in the physiology and functioning of the world's forces in its intangible wholeness.

Stability from the initial routing in the area of ​​large-format static photography is conditioned by the regularity and uniformity of changes in Chrástek's works. The imaginative color still life prevails, balanced by subjectively sensed landscape and black-and-white and later also colored acts. Simple shapes dominate the picture, using minimalist tonal transitions and impressive light contrasts in minimalist compositions. Inspiring impulses are often found in free interpretations from the field of fine art - especially painting (eg, The Square by Malevich / 1987). Consistency, complexity and respect for the "Good Shape Law" with well organized form is never directed to any spectacular decoration, but is more of an interpretation, incantation, evocation and perhaps even a silent rest. In the first plan of Chrástek's works we perceive above all the ability to balance between "empty" and "full" and the dynamics of the individual parts of the composition, which are rearranged, interchanged and re-assembled similarly to the assemblage. Also note one thing: in all variations, the most straightforward direction of motion and diagonal orientation remain. Most of the scanned photographs seems to be quite specific memory records (although they are not the first name for individual sections of personal everydayness). Elementary geometric shapes that occur only rarely in nature have an important role in his works. The main motif is underscored with an extremely precisely and clearly composed background, from which it is highlighted by a contrasting smooth surface (In Honour of the Square (1992) or Red Square (1994).

Only rarely does any of the configurations resemble animal or human corporeality, a stylized mask or face from the totem (White Dragonfly (1998), Icarus on My Wall (1998 ), Grin (1987)). Nevertheless, it cannot be said that the photographer consistently renounces metaphorical meanings (let's name at least Inferno (1992), Something We Can't See (1994), The Limits of Darkness (1996) and Penetration Analysis (2000), but much more remains). However, they resemble the variability in the author's private act of magic or metamorphosis in capturing than the usual metaphorical message.

Part of the author's work now follows the older black-and-white photographs of female acts from the early 1980s. In his color prints, Chrástek keeps the basic characterizing features of the traditional genre, with the poses of his models guided by the ingraduate observation precision. Strict austerity and rigidity is disturbed by the light, which here seems to open up the erotic and sexual symbolism of the images (this can also be latently discovered in many of the older still lifes). In the act of Provocative Red from the turn of the century, it connects the titles of original work with the present one. The diagonal orientation of the female body (which further amplifies dynamics) consistently models the moment with its own rhythm in the flow of time. The moment in which the existence of man may be constituted as a result of many forces. Or more concretely in the next picture, the red tonality suppresses and indeterminate the body model as a secret. The lightly accentuated facial expression seems to give our floppy journey
a personal sense of character through the world.

In addition to the erotic and sexual symbolism of images, light and color also open up their counterpart. And that is the limitations of our lives. The mystery is deepened by the mystery that we experience in ourselves, and which opens to us in ourselves.

14.9. 2003 ALEŠ KUNEŠ 


"For many years, the flagship creation of František Chrástek was the modern conceptual genre of the still life. Initially, we might search for his inspiration in Czech and international abstract art. Photos of specific, simple, elementary props in staging, details, startling cutouts and the original subjects lose their significance in scenesilluminated in original ways and the focus is on those much less comprehensible, transcendental

In addition to erotic and sexual symbolism, light and colour also reveal their antithesis in the images. And this is the demarcation of our comprehension of life. The secret is deepened by the mystery that is in all of us and which is revealed to us alone.

Aleš Kuneš, Prague, 2003.


František Chrástek´s works arise utilising pure photographical techniques. His imaginary effect is the result of thoroughly thought-out and cunningly lit arrangements, into which the author projects his sophisticated sense of composition and harmonises the individual elements on the picture's surface. The results are works of brilliant artistic quality, which are the expression of his individual deposit into the fund of our Modern Day artistic photography.

Jaroslav Pelikán, Uherské Hradiště, 1998


When I saw František Chrástek´s work for the first time, I thought, very frankly speaking, that this person doesn't want anything to do with reality. Is it totally abstract, or only squaring with reality else when, else wise, elsewhere? Is there a tie to the somewhat abstruse abstract paintings of the Thirties?

Then I saw his advertising photographs and discovered that he sees reality so well, as so few of us do. He is able to accept it, comprehend it, define it, and simply put "to get it". Chrástek´s photographs are at first sight incisively austere. That is, precisely their greatest merit. There is no ballast here, nothing pointless. We are perfectly concentrated on the pure relationships of colours and shapes. František Chrástek has an almost unique position among our photographers. The way in which he works with pure surfaces, simple shapes and colour accents is outstanding enough, his ability to abstract and discover the "Ur - shape" is neither so frequent nor so easy. The further development of his creativiness will be evidently interesting."

Martin Hruška, Praha, 1994


(Catalogue accompanying the exhibition celebrating 75 Years From the Founding of the Arts and Crafts School in Brno, Teachers from 1924 - 1999, (pp. 51/2).

"His domain has remained coloured photography, after still-lifes of objects and their refracted and reduced details, he came-of-age artistically speaking with coloured compositions, whose relationship with reality has progressively minimalised itself.

František Chrástek´s works correspond to modern art, with their non-figurative expressions, the older periods especially to geometric abstraction. He arranges the environment and objects on the basis of deeply thought-out concepts and conceptions, formulating new realities thereby, imaginary spaces of photography with their own regularities, in which the method of photographic interpretation of real objects and shapes evokes new associations.

He exploits the emotive effects and changeable relationships between colours and lights, their mutual reflexes, the transparencies of materials and surface structures, and the colours of shadows. He understands colours as individual phenomena, emphasising their symbolic significance."