One artists standing out from the exhibition ‘Beyond reality’ in particular is Hynek Martinec. Born in 1980 in the Czech Republic, Hynek Martinec graduated from the Academy of Fine Art, Prague. After spending some time Paris and New York, he now lives and works in London, long enough to be considered a British artist. Within his body of work he expresses the notion of ‘time’ and ‘space’. Being trained in the traditional means of paintings he works simultaneously on three projects/series so to call that he is continuously developing. One being “At the same time/Lost in Time” consisting of three distinct bodies of work drawn together in one space, the other being ”The Cables”, in which he brings together several unrelated aspects such as hyperrealistic painting techniques, portraits and the intellectual impact of  a place and his Dreams’ Drawings, which he uses to understand and remember his nightly dreams, hence often the process of production.

Represented in the exhibition at the Galerie Rudolfinum are three pictures from his “Zuzana” series. The series started when living in Paris with his girlfriend Zuzana and took the entire stay of one year to come into being. “I was never concerned merely to capture the face of a young woman but to tell a story of two people. Similarly to a writer, keeping diary of ordinary events, I sought to tell a story, which is something I don’t find in most hyper-realistic pictures. Pixel by pixel and square by square, I worked in the manner of Chuck Close,” describes Martinec. In the end, the picture expresses four elements: 1. the model, a portrait of Zuzana, 2. the portray of the workshop space in the Parisan neighbourhood, 3. Hyneks self-portrait in Zuzana’s glasses and 4. a video-installation that was shown as the painting was firstly exhibited at the Czech Cultural Center in Paris.

Like his other project, Zuzana is an ongoing series, witnessing the passages of time and the changes it brings along, turning at the same time into an image of timelessness. As Hynek puts it, “The portrait can say much more than just if the person is young or old, if he has black or blond hair. It has very important and deep information inside*.”

Hynek Martinec’s Zuzana in Paris and Zuzana in London also indicate a marriage of two simultaneous realities, i.e. that of the photography and that of the painting. Zuzana in Paris is wearing glasses, the lenses of which reflect the space where the subject was at the time the photograph was taken, yet behind the painted face there is no such space, only a monochrome background treated in the manner of a painting. Zuzana in London has her glasses pushed up over her brow to reflect a bright beam of light, consistent with a photography session rather than the lighting used in painting. Both images are of great painterly quality, but have not lost sight of the photographic template. On the one hand, there is a typical view en face into the camera; on the other hand, there is an almost psychological portrait painting. The Parisian Zuzana is carefree, inquisitive, whereas the London Zuzana is full of fear and uncertainty – the expression of the eye and face indicate the model’s state of mind. The combination of paintwork of the highest order and photography created a fascinating hyperreality, the enigmatic visual quality of the two portraits. Nevertheless, even more mysterious visuality is offered by Zuzana 1854, a picture painted according to an ambroty using the grisaille painting techniqute. It is as though Zuzana’s face has ascended from the depths of time. It is bordering phantomlike, in part because it lacks all social attribute clothing, hairstyle, and factual detail. Not only Zuzana’s facial expression, but her very appearance contrasts quite star-key with the previous two pictures, not because of the model’s different age, but on account of the different photographic media according to which the picture has been painted.*


A.Zuzana in London Acrylic on canvas, 130x110cm 2011-12 Courtesy of the artist A.Zuzana in Paris studio Acrylic on canvas, 130x110 cm 2006-07 Courtesy of the artist A.Zuzana 1854 Acrylic on canvas, 244x184cm 2012 Courtesy of the artist

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