Jindřich Zeithamml

Vernissage 15.02.2023 18:00
Curator Petr Vaňous

Art is a cyclical motion through the linear time of history (anonymous) 

In its pure foundations, the sculptural work of Jindřich Zeithamml is truly original. The sophisticated unpretentiousness of his sculptural expression penetrates through multiple layers of meaning at once, some of them intended only for initiated audiences. For Zeithamml, the product of his work rests in the process of transforming intention into concrete form. It is of little importance to him whether this form is hewn from matter that offers resistance, is revealed from the barely distinguishable surface of a painting, is formed by row up on row of drawn traces, by layers on a piece of paper (like writing), or is made up of constellations of colored outlines and solid surfaces, rendered in unique prints.

All these paths of metamorphosis involved the same process playing out between the initial idea and the decision to realize it using the chosen material. And since a metamorphosis is a self-enclosed process that take place over time, it must be understood as one single indivisible continuum, as a complex shape that is embodied in the subsequent form and in the arrangement of its situation. Hence the specific inner tension of Zeithamml’s works, which combine the contradictory polarities of a process-based dynamic with the freezing or fixation of this process in works possessing the defining characteristics of either sculpture or painting. Speaking in relation to Zeithamml’s works, Gustav Erhart speaks of “static tension.” Hence also the tension within the surface of the work, which, camouflage-like, hides the traces of form or construction contained within, those hidden interior spaces which the artist sometimes deliberately raises to the level of places (or, put differently, “cores”) of sought-after knowledge, meaning that which cannot be seen but which must be assumed on the basis of experience.  

A no less important aspect of Jindřich Zeithamml’s work is the realization that from the very beginning an integral part of this work has been the medium of the artist, who decides on and controls the technological stages of the creative process while also channeling and integrating into the work unconscious layers of unnamable sensitivity so that, at the end of this entire “combined action,” the work may split off from the artist and be released into the world like the fruit of an act of knowledge. The work thus essentially expresses a fundamental orientation within the world and becomes a medium for more than just a sensory message. Like communicating vessels, this orientation combines the non-material movement of mind and emotion with the movement of physical action and direct material presence.  

The exhibition in České Budějovice presents Jindřich Zeithamml’s two-dimensional works, or those that relate primarily to two dimensions. These include his drawings from the second half of the 1970s, when he studied under professor Norbert Kricke at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, as well as paintings from the same era that emerge from barely visible layers and that, by their ephemeral lighting, reference the mythological and mystical sources of inspiration that Zeithamml is constantly revisiting in his sculptures as well. Also on display is an ever-growing series of color prints of varying formats in which the relationship between the chosen simple elements and the context thus defined is constantly changing. And last but not least, the exhibition shows hung works straddling the line between painting and sculpture, represented here by two ovals of different colors, both made in 1975, that represent the beginnings of or the starting point for his exploration of relationships and polarities. 

The boundaries between artistic disciplines are fluid in the work of Jindřich Zeithamml. Behind this fluidity rests his uncompromising endeavor to touch that which, to quote the philosophers Edmund Husserl and Jan Patočka, could be called “the natural world” in all its uncertain yet possible assumptions, its certain principles, hidden mysteries, transcendental layers, and open horizons.

Petr Vaňous   


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