Exhibition - About the Exhibition
Parallel Fates Chagall / Reynek
In the lives of Marc Chagall and Bohuslav Reynek, a number of common points can be found in the lives of Marc Chagall and Bohuslav Reynek. Maybe even that is why much of their work is surprisingly correspondent in tone and poetry.
- Throughout their lives, their places of birth provided the inspiration for their work – Chagall from Vitebsk, Reynek from Petrkov.
- The had difficulties with their origins. Chagall was discriminated against due to his Jewish heritage, Reynek bore the stigma of farmer’s son.
- They shared an affinity to France. Reynek translated from French, took a French wife and while it was possible, spent a lot of time there. For Chagall, France became his new home.
- They were poets. Reynek was also a master of the word, Chagall composed “poetry” through paintings, prints, ceramics and stained glass. Both valued their own art and gave preference to depth of confession over formal bravura. They are connected by simplicity of expression, a poetic nature, and humanity.
- Their wives were active in literature. Suzane Renaud was a poet and translator from the French. Bella Rosenfeld translated her husband’s memoirs, My Life, from Yiddish into French. The most famous book, Burning Lights from 1939 was only published after her death.
- A major creative impulse in their later creative periods was the Bible, for both Reynek and Chagall. The Czech artist approached it in particular through the graphic technique of drypoint. He placed expressions of the evangelical into Petrkov real life scenes. Chagall re-created biblical scenes using multiple techniques, where etching and colored lithographs dominated. He viewed Old Testament heroes through the lens of humanity, without a divine aura. They somewhat resemble his countrymen from Vitebsk.
- Both avoided the trenches of the First World War. Reynek by accepting the work of an adjunct, Chagall in a bureaucrats seat at the Ministry. They served as civilians.
- They fled from the Second World War. Reynek was forced from his farm by the Germans and lived at the home of the publisher Florian. Chagall was forced to flee all the way to the USA.
- They did not like the communists. Reynek’s position was clear, as the communists nationalized his farm. Afterwards, though his work was not prohibited, it was not allowed either. Chagall was passionate about communism at first, but soon admitted that it was a mistake. To the end of his life he made no secret about his antipathy towards communism.
- Faith was not only a source of comfort and enrichment of the soul to them, but also a source of numerous problems. Due to his faith, Reynek was a thorn in the side of the regime. Chagall was not sufficiently orthodox for the Jews, and too Jewish for the Christians. He encountered lifelong discrimination in many forms.
Spring of rebirth
Exclusive Exhibition of the Lifetime Artworks of Bohuslav Reynek
For the first time ever, the work of poet and graphic artist Bohuslav Reynek is being exhibited in all of its richness, including never-before seen and newly discovered works. Moreover, it is being exhibited so as to enable us to understand, in full strength, his evolution, maturation and depth. To enable the works to speak to us, leaving us richer with knowledge and the belief that fundamental human values and feelings still exist - if nowhere else, certainly in the works of Bohuslav Reynek. We can drink their inner strength as if it were a healing spring, and experience a rebirth. Even should it be a rebirth of just a single emotion, which we thought long extinguished within us, it is tremendous. More than tremendous.
The message of Bohuslav Reynek is capable of speaking to peoples across continents. To span an imaginary arc of gentleness, humility and harmony among varied, often seemingly very different cultures. The values that radiate from his prints are generally human, timeless and without borders. Whether these be love, seeking beauty in simplicity, the purifying strength of forgiveness or belief in the uniqueness of the sole of every living creature.
Despite this, we’re dealing with a personality, which is as yet practically unknown to the world. And not only the world, but to most of us as well, to our detriment. Meanwhile, Bohuslav Reynek is an artist, who can be placed alongside phenomenal artists such as Marc Chagall or Georges Roualt, without hesitation. Moreover, in contrast to these personalities, Reynek is associated with out cultural context, with the landscape of feelings familiar to us.
Experts, art historians and art collectors have already discovered and appreciate the artworks of Reynek. 58 000 visitors saw a selection of prints in Beijing. Several exhibitions that took place after 1989 received a positive response. Still, however, we’re dealing with a voice calling out in the wilderness. Those whose souls require strengthening through the humanity of Bohuslav Reynek the most, do not hear it. They do not have the opportunity, because the media, schools and the public as such do not yet perceive Bohuslav Reynek as a great artist, whose work must be revisited on a regular basis. Like a spring.
You are now at the spring. Although it will never dry up, you now have a unique opportunity to drink deeply from it. To drink as no one else has before, nor probably will again…
A word from the curator
The history and work of Bohuslav Reynek are already well known. It is, however, clear that the significance of this genius seeker of values increases as time passes. He is sought and found by those whose needs harmonize with interior recollection and the need for solitude. Solitude which can not only be tolerated, but from which we return to the real world purified and strengthened, able to see, at least for a time, more of life than the desperate struggle for temporal things.
This exhibition took as its task to clean Reynek’s work from the deposits that have been settling on it for decades, from the image of a sheltered oddball, engraving his boards to the sound of the rooster’s morning crow. We present him in his eminently human form, as person living in the real world, passionate, loving.
The exhibition shows print works that were created in the Petrkov “studio”, in the kitchen by the stove. The prints reflect the whole of Reynek’s world – fundamental are the landscapes, still lifes, biblical motifs and scenes from everyday life. Through his prints, Reynek attempts to calm his visions, inspired by faith and based directly on the Bible, from old piety. Even these subjects are inserted into the immediate vicinity of a homestead, the Bible is transferred to the Petrkov gardens. In his prints he brings to life things, plants and even rays of sunlight. He places feeling and strength of expression on equal footing next to emotional depth, and supports everything with virtuosity, perfection and discovery in a harmonious whole.
Maybe even those who dare to say: brilliant dilettante are right!
Reynek’s big inspiration were also Chinese painters and poets. Close to his heart were primarily Tu Fu, Li Po and Lao-Tzu. It was even partially to honor them that he built a small gazebo in the Petrkov garden, where he spent his reading time. He never traveled to China, though he would have liked to very much. He at least got to Beijing vicariously in 2012, where he was presented to China by Zdeňek Sklenář. The exhibition became a phenomenon and showed the universal nature of his work. And now Chinese painters and poets head to Petrkov.
Growing up surrounded by all this beauty, he continues to live his life in the Petrkov house. Intensively, in secret, through gifts from the past, surrounded by mysterious sounds and apparitions. Prints still merge with life here, everything remains in its pure form, from the gazebo to the colored panes of glass in the front door. Only, thank God, the cheerlessness of the JZD collective farming organization is gone! To preserve the genius loci of the Petrkov farm our family had the idea to establish the Reynek Foundation, which will care for his legacy and work. The main intention is to maintain this house in the form already known from the prints of my grandfather. Another of the important goals of the foundation is to provide an opinion on the origin and authenticity of the works of Bohuslav Reynek, since the appearance of fakes is enormous recently. In an effort to meet the demands of all those interested in organizing exhibitions, all works from the estate have been placed on loan, including the print matrices. However, not all organizers were primarily motivated by an effort to present Reynek’s work. By establishing the foundation, our family also wants to settle speculations regarding the estate and continue to dedicate ourselves to the legacy of Bohuslav Reynek, even in future years of continuous care.
This time, this exclusively image-oriented, largest and most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s estate at the Wallenstein Riding School and the publication of the Bibles represent my grandfather primarily as a visual artist for whom the print was one of the means of painting.
I believe that it will enable the most sensitive among us to hear the poetic rhythm contained in them.
The exhibition is under the auspices of the highest spiritual authority in the Czech Republic – cardinal Dominik Duka OP, 36. Archbishop of Prague, metropolis and Primate of the Czech Republic.
The exhibition is further under the auspices of the Minister of Culture, Mgr. Daniel Herman.
*1975 / Havlíčkův Brod / curator
Veronika Reynková, just like her grandfather, Bohuslav, is a renaissance personality of many talents. And just like her forefathers, she feels the most valuable aspect of a work of art is the message of the artist’s soul, which is concealed within it. That is why she chose, as her mission, to care for the work of her grandparents. To ensure it is not forgotten, and that it comes to life again and again for future generations. The title of the exhibition REYNEK – GENIUS, WHO WE WERE TO FORGET is, therefore an apt reflection of her efforts.
Veronika Reynková is the daughter of photographer Daniel, the elder of Bohuslav’s sons. Even she is faithful to the region of their birth, near Havlíčkuv Brod. In 1994 she established the first bookstore here, and a year later the literary tea room of Suzanne Renaud, which is also active as a publishing house. Though it bears the name of Veronika’s grandmother, the French poet, whose work has not yet earned the acclaim it deserves in the Czech Republic, she cares for the works of members of the family. She also dedicates her time to translations from French for uncle George.
Veronika Reynková dedicates the same attention to her grandfather’s art works as she does to his literary legacy. She has initiated, organized or has participated in the organization of a number of exhibitions of his prints. In addition to this, she’s managed to open another bookstore and cafe in Havlíčkuv Brod. Because man does not live by poetry alone. Although it would be beautiful…
*2013 / Praha / patron
The works and legacy of Bohuslav Reynek are also, newly, being cared for by the recently established Reynek Foundation. The idea of institutional support arose in connection with the inception of the Rebirth project. It was immediately more than clear that the work of Bohuslav Reynek is such a phenomenon, that it deserves not only a representative “rebirth” in the form of an exhibition of the same name, but also intensive and continuous care for the genius loci, which is associated with the places of the artists life and work.
The foundation plans to maintain the work of Bohuslav Reynek for the long term, systematically and in all aspects. From documentation and cataloguing, restoring, revealing forgeries, through to popularizing, publishing, organizing exhibitions and carrying on enlightening activities. The aim of these efforts is the capture a place for this personality in consciousness of the public, which it doubtlessly deserves.
*1966 / Praha / idea co-author and donor
One of the pioneers of advertising in the Czech Republic in the nineties. He established, owned and ran the Ark Communication agency, which he integrated with the WPP network. He also managed the advertising group of companies associated under the Ark Thompson and Mindshare agencies.
An inclination to large projects and a growing faith in visual communication led him in 1998 to establish the BigBoard company. In 2011 he expanded it with the competing News Outdoor and in 2012 with outdoor akzent.
The culmination of Richard Fuxa’s efforts to date in the area of art was the organizing of the exhibition Ivan Lendl: Alfons Mucha. It was not only the event of the season, but most likely of many decades past and future. The exhibition for the first time presented the complete collection of the popular tennis star, Ivan Lendl, a long-time Alfons Mucha collector, to the Czechs. It was exceptional not just in its content – this was the world premier – but also in its grand style of promotion.
The exhibition REYNEK – GENIUS, WHO WE WERE TO FORGET is again a representative, and therefore organizationally very demanding, exhibition of fundamental importance, which, thanks to Richard Fuxa, will undoubtedly take its place in the history of Czech culture.
The Richard Fuxa Foundation
The foundation focuses on donor activities in the field of fine art. Richard Fuxa is the founder and main driving force. The scope of activities of the foundation is very broad, including support of contemporary, individual artists as well as movements and groups. It does not, however, forget the past, and works on making up for the debts society owes to many artists. It does so through popularization of their works to caring for these works. It completes collections, supports research and restoration projects, etc. In the current era, the Richard Fuxa Foundation is probably the only institution of its kind, which is capable of initiating, providing auspices, organization and media promotion for monumental events such as the exhibition REYNEK – GENIUS, WHO WE WERE TO FORGET. To ensure that these events bring an experience to not just several hundred of the initiated, but to hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery
The Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery is a prestigious private gallery, which has been successfully representing both Czech and international artists, all over the world, for twenty-three years. It was present at the birth of a new, free marketplace for art in Bohemia, helped to form it and to connect it within the European and global context. From the beginning of the 1990s, it has consistently also bee presenting the work of Bohuslav Reynek and currently cares for the most extensive collection of prints from his estate.
Zdeněk Sklenář, founder and owner of the gallery, and simultaneously the nephew and namesake of one our most important twentieth-century painters, has already organized over 200 exhibitions. Currently he acts as a publisher, and has published several tens of books, including but not limited to catalogs and monographs, visual publications and even noteworthy and fictional works and factual literature. He has won over print aficionados by issuing unique albums of serigraphs of personalities in current painting, such as, for example, Karel Malich or Zdeněk Sýkora.
Among his current favorite projects are those created in cooperation with China. Both the professional and lay public benefit equally from the patronage and philanthropic activities of the Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery, through which he provides assistance in spheres other than art.
BigMedia, s. r. o., member of the BigBoard group
BigMedia is the founding company of Czech outdoor advertising. From its inception in 2001 it has been working for maximum client satisfaction, as well a professional growth. It is constantly developing new paths to and methods of changing streets and public spaces into a gallery of everyday inspiration. Its premium billboards are sought after by the most influential companies and institutions of cultural life.
Lately, BigMedia has also put the experience it has acquired over time into the services of art. For example, it has received media eminence for the response to Ivan Lendl: Alfons Mucha, which took place in the spring of 2013.
Now BigMedia is co-organizing the exhibition e REYNEK – GENIUS, WHO WE WERE TO FORGET, a project overflowing with spiritual strength and humanity. The company’s art of promotion is a guarantee of success.