Born 1980 Broumov, Czech Republic, Hynek Martinec graduated in 2005 from the Academy of Fine Art in Prague. During his studies he spent one term at Middlesex University, London (2002), and another at The Cooper Union, New York (2004). Martinec’s work has been exhibited in both national and international venues including National Portrait Gallery and the Prague Biennale. He is represented in numerous private collections in Europe, including the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, London and at the National Gallery, Prague. In 2007 he won the BP Young Artist Award. Hynek Martinec lives and works in London.
THE ZUZANA PROJECT
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.*
在《現實之外 (Beyond Reality ))的展覽上有一位非常引人注目的藝術家，他就是來自捷克共和國的海尼克•馬提尼克（Hynek Martinec）。1980年出生的海尼克畢業於布拉格美術學院，曾旅居巴黎與紐約，而長駐倫敦至今的馬提尼克可算是一名英國藝術家了。他的作品闡釋了他對“時間”與“空間”的獨特見解。海德尼克受過傳統繪畫技術的訓練，但是他並不拘泥於傳統之中，他一直在尋求變化，譬如他同時進行的三幅創作而成為一個系列。 其中一個系列叫做《與此同時／迷失此時 (At the same time/Lost in Time) 》，當中包括了三幅獨立的繪畫， 但展現的是同一個空間；而另一個系列《鋼索 (The Cables) 》則展現了他把毫無聯繫的方方面面融在一起，譬如超現實繪畫技術，肖像，一個對他有啓發的地方，還有對夢境的繪畫，這些都成為了他創作的一部分。
自他的系列畫作《祖珊娜（Zuzana）》。這個系列的創作始於海德尼克在巴黎與其女友祖珊娜同居的時候，海德尼克花了一年時間才完成這個系列。“我並不只是想捕捉一位年輕女性的面容，而是想道出一個關於兩個人的故事。就如作家一樣，每天記下一些普通的瑣事。我想通過我的作品來講故事，但其實很少超現實畫作能做到這一點。我參考了查克•克洛斯 （Chuck Close） 的繪畫方法，一個像素一個像素地，一個方塊一個方塊地把這些真實畫下來。”馬提尼克說。總括來說，這組作品反映了四個信息，第一是模特祖珊娜的肖像，第二是對巴黎工作室的描繪，第三則是祖珊娜眼鏡裡反射出來海德尼克的自畫像，最後是作品第一次在巴黎捷克文化中心展示時的一個錄像裝置的展出。
海德尼克·馬提尼克的《祖珊娜在巴黎 (Zuzana inParis)》和《祖珊娜在倫敦 (Zuzana in London)》闡釋了兩個同時發生的事實之間的緊密聯繫，正好似是攝影與繪畫之間的關係。《祖珊娜在巴黎》中祖珊娜帶著太陽眼鏡，鏡片中反射出攝影師拍攝那一瞬間的真實空間，而在這件繪畫作品中則沒有這樣的空間，僅僅是用繪畫的方式鋪墊了一層單色背景。《祖珊娜在倫敦》中的祖珊娜將太陽鏡推在她額頭之上，鏡片反射出明亮的光束，這樣的光線運用比起繪畫來說更像是攝影中採用的方式。兩幅作品都表現出作者的傑出繪畫才能，而且同時保存了攝影的表現形式。一方面來說，作品中表現的是一張典型的用相機拍攝的臉部照片，而同時它也是一張描繪心理與靈魂的肖像油畫。在巴黎的祖珊娜是無憂無慮充滿好奇的，而在倫敦的祖珊娜是充滿了恐懼和不確定性的，祖珊娜的眼睛和面部表情表達了她不同的心理和精神狀態。這兩幅作品將最精密嚴謹的繪畫技巧與攝影相結合，創造出了一種引人入勝的、極致寫實的、充滿神秘色彩的藝術語言。《祖珊娜1854（ Zuzana 1854）》這張用特殊繪畫方式創作的肖像更加充滿了神秘的視覺體驗，它通過祖珊娜的臉來表現了時光的深邃，這件作品中沒有表現服裝、髮型和任何實物細節，使得這幅畫好似來自現實與幻覺的交接點。與前面提到的兩幅畫作相比，《祖珊娜1854》中不僅人物面部表情不同，而且整個面部的外觀也有鮮明的反差，是由於運用了不同的攝影技術和顯影介質，而不是因為祖珊娜的年齡變化。
A: How long have you been in London?
H: The very first time I came to London is in 2002, as an exchange student. I went to Middlesex University and stayed for half a year. And then I went back to Prague, and came to London again in 2004 just for two months. That’s when I firstly engaged with one gallery, which I sold my ten paintings to them. And after that I went to Paris for two years. So I came to London around 2007-08, for the first time to stay for long.
A: What makes you stay here?
H: I went to Paris by accident, it wasn’t my plan to be there. Because when I graduated in 2005 in Prague, at the Academy, I got an email from one friend who has a big studio in Paris, mentioning that he would be leaving Paris for half a year, and he gave me an offer that
I can use his studio when he was away. So I had the opportunity to leave Prague and also to discover a new city. At that time I was just planning to stay for a few months. When my friend came back from
India, he continued to use his own space. But before he returned, I got a new space, though much smaller studio, I got my own space and I could work. But at the same time, I was always thinking about London. I mean around 2006-07, I always knew that London was such an expensive place to set up a studio and live at the same time. So you know it’s quite tricky for me, but I always wanted to come here. Living in Paris is amazing, there’s great atmosphere, nice people, good life, and everything. But the problem is, there is no interesting art nowadays, it’s very past, it’s very closed, it’s very difficult to get in the society. It’s true. Because my French is very bad, I didn’t learn the language, anyway. I mean it doesn’t seem very open, but I think maybe staying another 20 or 30 years, they may start to realize that this guy wants to stay here. They will not give you a chance at the beginning. This is what I felt. At the beginning, my journey didn’t get any feedback, and the most important thing is, I felt that my kind of art is going to a different direction in the taste. Because they prefer more abstract paintings, they are quite stuck in the 60s, and I want to do hyper-realistic paintings, I want to do what I am doing now. And I feel that I really suit to this society here where I am in London, and America as well. So I like being in Paris, but it’s very different. The main reason I stay in London is contemporary art world is here, it’s more about your concept, not art form. I think if you go to Europe, to any other country, you will find out London is the most exciting, the biggest, international city, which is very important to me. And there are lots of mixing ideas at the same time. If you go to others like Berlin or Paris, they are a bit stuck by the society, I mean Paris was good a hundred years ago, but I think London now is very open, having so many artists, lots of ideas, and it would not end up in one day. It’s always changing, and the artists always follow that. I do feel that London has something more interesting, more vibrant. You might find out interesting ideas in Paris, people like to talk about art much more than here, but sometimes it’s just talking, not doing it. What I like about London is that you have to take action. If you want to do an exhibition, do some contacts, meetings, whatever, you have to do it. And that’s what I learn about London.
A: Are there any great impact on your art when you first come to London? Since you come from former –communist country to capitalism country. How do you get into this totally different society?
H: It’s very difficult, to be honest. There are things that I still don’t understand in the society or somewhere. Sometimes I hate it but sometimes I really appreciate it. If you come here, there are very strict rules, and I really appreciate it when I came from Paris. I think in Paris there are no very good rules, not clear rules. I always give the example of the underground, the underground is the good example. If you go to metro in Prague, we call it metro, or underground, we don’t have any gate, you can just go through, which means that it’s up to you to buy a ticket. Not all of them do it anyway. But it’s your morality, it’s questioning yourself, if you want to use the metro, buy a ticket, and it will take you in the system somewhere inside. But you can pass it without paying, you can go, if you think ‘I just go one stop, why shall I pay’? So the gate is open. If you go to Paris, there are quite big different gates, but lots of people jump over it. I’m not joking. No one catch them. Amazing! It’s still happening now. Believe me. And people can smoke in the underground, and pee, and everything in Paris, which you can’t do in Prague. Anyway, so the idea is, there are borders, there are some rules, but they can jump, they can ignore it. That’s the irony. They don’t care. I think this was ridiculous. But in London, this is another system. They have two persons, one sitting in the box, and one standing by the gate. In Paris, if one running and jumping in the underground, nothing would happen, because it’s happening everyday. But when you come to London, if you do that, they will kill you. There are very strict rules here. No way to escape.
A: They have undercover inspector as well.
H: Yes, exactly. In Paris and Prague, you can see them miles away, wearing proper suit, having their names on. Anyway, I would say this is that kind of controlling. So being an artist in this sort of system, at the beginning I really like it. Because I thought I knew what I could get from the society, which you can realize. When you go over red line, you know that you are facing a penalty. But in Paris, you know you are not facing penalty, because I can run away. And in Prague, no one even ask you. You just go. So here in London it’s always strict, it’s very clear. That’s why at the beginning I really like it when I came in
2008. Sometimes it’s too much tight here, but now I’m very happy to discover that some places in London are not very much controlled, which is quite free and open. And also the other thing is quite tricky, in the past they were dictated by regime, and now is by the money.
But you know, you could compare it. Because there’s freedom here, you can do whatever you like. But it’s very expensive, just the strong one can survive.
I think at the same time it’s very good to have those kind of pressure, because you want to produce, you want to be good, you want to paint, you want to show the good works to people, you want to beat it. Because if you are right in the sleeping place in Paris or in Prague, which I’m not criticizing, it is a good place to work, it’s still growing as well. But I need this kind of competition as well. On the other side, if you talking about the selling works and having the gallery and representing, that’s the other thing. London has the best in Europe. So it’s not about just good art, good work, but also how the gallery support, how everything is supported, but you need to be good to get that. I would say that since 2000 I thought London was an interesting place to be. It’s just difficult to get in to make an attention and so on in the right art world. Because the art world here is very massive, so they are like two circles, one was extremely commercial, in a way there are bad paintings, bad art, something like rubbish, and on the other side it’s like Frieze, which is very important, and that’s very difficult to approach.
Many people would criticize that art shouldn’t be involved with money. Some artists are like that, ‘no no, just don’t touch it’. But I quite like the words that Anish Kapoor once mentioned, ‘Good art has always been near money’. And I think that is the answer because if we think about the past, for example the Christianity, which was always being painted a lot, produced good paintings, produced good art, a good fresco, a good chapel, whatever. It costs lots of money because it’s never cheap. I think the problem nowadays is that maybe the money is everywhere, maybe the taste, and politics maybe are ruining it, because they think that they can buy everything, and they are able to spend money on rubbish, and that’s what it is quite bad. I believe that the good artworks will survive, will always stand out from the bad art. But I think it’s up to artist to really decide where to sell the work, and which art fairs to join, and the galleries and so on. It’s very easy to get lost in the art world. There is so much going on, and it’s not just about what you want to do as an artist, but also where you want to meet as an artist, which society you want to be, what is your audience, what gallery is and so on. So I mean it’s very big complex of this, but I don’t think you will get this in Prague. In Paris you will get it but in a small scale, not like here. It is difficult at the same time, but on the other side, it’s a challenge, and opportunities are still here at the moment.
A: Which moment would you consider as a significant one?
H: I think I know what I want to do now. I know where I am now, and
I know where I want to be. So I think this is quite ambitious of what I said, but I feel quite clear now is my work, I don’t feel lost. And that’s very important to me. So I just want to demonstrate this, what I’m just saying, I’m just creating new works, and then realize that I was correct or not, but I have the plans and I think they really fit to somewhere.
A: Why do you like portrait?
H: This is a big question. I think portrait is very important to me, because I like the stories and I think you can see in each face. If you look at the portrait, you can find out the character, you can find out if the sitter is struggling. I mean there is so much information about us. If I look at your arms, I could say you have a lovely arm, but I wouldn’t be able to see how you look, how your eyes look like, how your hair looks like, how you smile. And I like all those details about each person, and I think that’s what makes people so unique from each other. So that’s why I am so into portraits. If the art is able to capture these real things from people, from the face, and turning into painting, I think that’s really amazing.