Phenomenology of values

Vladimír Véla

24. 6. - 26. 8. 2022

Curator: Jan Kudrna


Vladimír Véla is a painter for whom the exploration of phenomena represents one of the integral starting points for his own artistic endeavours. It is not entirely clear whether this aim is conscious, or whether it represents the logical outcome of a complex authorial will. In this context, value is a significant element in co-defining the function of that which is represented. The process of exploration in Véla’s paintings takes the form of a complex, functional, and unusually concentrated analysis – a process that is not directly dependent on the scale of the painterly surface or the diversity of the colour scale. It is an original and authentic process, free of superficial templates and solutions. In his paintings, Vladimír Véla silently – and, crucially, non-violently – says that not everything that is introduced in a certain elementary (functional) arrangement and form is necessarily outdated, reactionary, and surpassed. In his own way, he shows groups of perceiving spectators (which, lately, have grown in size) that sometimes less is, in its essence, the most you can have. At other times, he says that less is just about right. He is not a painter who atomises or reduces because he consciously adheres to this often tendentious need. He simply reduces because he can afford this seeming luxury for an artist. He knows how and – crucially – why. There is a great certainty in this process, as well as self-confidence and the highly important and almost palpable element of humility. He repeatedly returns to things themselves. Not (just) to their essence. He accentuates a certain form of humanity that is more or less present in the objecthood of that which is represented. We each have our place and every object has its function. Véla paints objects in their pure, extraordinarily authentic object-ness, but often in a way that focuses attention on their indistinct and hidden immediate surroundings. He creates his paintings as assemblages of perception and clear, specific messages. They are a particular organism of sovereignty over specific meanings and often radical reductions. We could certainly ascribe this approach to the unexpected combination of teachers that Véla had: Zdeněk Beran, and, later, Milan Knížák. Reality, however, is not quite so simple. Véla’s paintings only adhere to the formalities of these different approaches in their foundations. All the manifest and perceptible attributes of the paintings fall under the arch of a personal and unique expressive imagination. It is the concentration of the communicated into (often) simple signs that are marked by monumentality, whatever the format may be. The imaginativeness mentioned above is, in essence, based on a fundamental certainty in painterly expression. A certainty that allows Vladimír Véla to paint virtually anything and – crucially – in any manner.

Guided tour: 29. 6. od 19h

Co-curator of the text: Why a Phenomenology of Values?
Petr Vaňous