It is no coincidence that Blanka Valcharova’s work is closely connected with what took place in the atmosphere of the Prague Academy after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. During the first half of the century, art got drifted by the strong current of the avant-garde modernism that was brought about by the fundamental change observed since 1960. We begin to talk about a fundamental change in the whole life pattern of the second half of the Twentieth century. In this context, art begins to be understood in the scope of its multi-faceted pluralist width, where talk about the post - modern art begins. This process also brings an entirely surprising new role to a deprecated medium - painting. Rather than maintain originality, some artists look for lost continuity by intentionally turning deep into the past, after half a century of fasting, in order to get inspiration in the unique and quite specific tradition of the European art. Also, at the Academy of Fine Arts it was necessary to change the then one-directionally cultivated trend of the strongly decayed production of the late totalitarianism. That is why, after the Velvet revolution in 1989, an unprecedented number of pluralistically functioning schools were established at the Prague Academy which represented an extraordinarily wide spectrum of opinions. One of the extremes of this opinion range was represented by the school of classic painting techniques where a special studio was established with the task to integrate the forgotten processes into the current painting.
Blanka Valcharova was one of the first students who were able to orientate herself in the new situation. She quickly developed a precise system depicting paintings, whose roots can be found in the application of the Renaissance and Baroque principle or in their Manneristic offshoots. However, it is necessary to say that, Blanka Valcharova did not get stuck in the trap of old master fascination. She was able to evaluate these malleable means for the needs of contemporary art since the beginning.
Starting points and projection
Her sense of putting meaning into details brought her to the hyper realistic orientation of painting. Blanka Valcharova tries to develop this phase gradually into a new dimension just like a number of the American authors do. It happens mainly in two levels. The first cycle of portraits include the current social types. She puts emphasis on her social feeling, in the selection and in keeping a stern concept. Such an attitude, however, exceeds the framework of the cold attitude of hyperrealists. It is through this that, we notice a specific feature of Blanka Valcharova’s work, which became even more characteristic later. It is a short state of astonishment and stiffening over the shape of reality, creating a paradoxical iconographic representation of something which before did not function as a generalization. At the same time with the sense of significance of true detail in the organism of an artwork (which prevents the author from slipping into the general popular stylism of art). Blanka Valcharova displays a sense of monumetalization and pureness of form, and this is the most distinct shift from the hyper-realistic starting point.
Seemingly unimportant topics of a still life – a torn bag with lentil grains, a box with decorative corals, the lost meaning of inscriptions and the detail of a wedding dress – it is a reality that does not attract much attention mostly. Blanka Valcharova can detect this discrete reality and elevate it up to the level of art work. Thus, the revealed shapes of the neglected reality become an important pretext for an artistic play of volumes and their countless light valeurs. The zooming and magnifying of the topic section does not prevent the identification of the object. This is a substantial and perhaps a characteristic feature of Blanka Valcharova. The detail of the wedding dress thus becomes a distinctive iconic sign, which provides full authenticity at the same time. Empty gesture stylization thus does not take place. The extent of the achieved equilibrium is a sign of feeling, which though not often displayed; it is a profound stream of the whole European art. The reflection on life and death is also expressed in the concept “At the Boundary of Change“. In the concept with a similar name “Beyond the Boundary of Change” the author comments on the social and spiritual values – on the act of three national heroes’ sacrifices. The topic can get linked to a trend of the current art dealing with social and political aspects. In this way she surprisingly updates the depictive painting selected to visualization of the concept in a multiplicity of expressive means. During her short career Blanka Valcharova presents in her work a distinctive artistic talent in whose range there are considerable possibilities.
Zdenek Beran, Academy of Fine Arts, Prague
at the opening of the exhibition at Castle Castolovice 1998