interview: about painting and queen, czech radio


The painting of Blanka Valcharova stretches from realistic portraits through hyper realistic depictions of objects, fruit and materials to conceptual image sets, in which the beauty of painting clashes with the symbols of decay and ruin. The topics and the processing of the painter show that Zdenek Beran was her teacher at The Academy of Fine Arts in the nineties. Two conceptual canvases on which the refinement of a historical lace costume and the beauty of a pearl necklace is confronted with a radiograph of a human skull dominate the exhibition „ ... not all has yet been answered” in the Litera Gallery in Prague. Karel Oujezdsky the reporter learned from Blanka Valcharova further details;

Valcharova: I like contrasts in painting, which are either positive or negative because they amplify the content of the painting.

In the double painting there is a beautiful dress that looks like it is really made of laces in spite of the fact that it is painted and there is a moderately high relief. You have combined the picture with a black and white skull of your self-portrait. Is it a real radiograph of your head?
Yes, it is really an X-ray of my head taken when I had a head injury. When I saw it later, it fascinated me. We do not even know everything that is in the head and when an ordinary person looks at it, they can ponder on how cleverly everything in man is created.

Does the dress there play a representative role? The painting is called Esther, could it be named after the biblical queen Esther?
Yes, it is the biblical queen Esther. I put her again in contrast, because the queen was in fact the king's bride. Being in such a position she was expected to save the nation which she gladly did, the gesture in the painting was to express it. Since she was to be a queen, she needed to look beautiful and hence wore the beautiful dress.

But it is also a little bit about transience, isn't it?
Yes, it is. The painting depicts the past and the present.

What about the second painting with the beautiful pearls that has an X-ray, of the skull and the neck.
Sometimes I try to think deep and go into depth and play with details. So I asked myself: what does a person wear a necklace on? All can be seen from the outside but never from the inside, so I painted it in such a connection.

And here we are looking at a classic double portrait of a gentleman called „Seventy years of one story“. What is the story about?
It is a story of a man who met his classmate from the first and the second class after seventy years and still recognized him. He was so surprised that when they met he said Mirek from the Jewish houses (as he knew him then) had arrived. However, Mirek was an inventor and after their parting, his life went on in a completely different direction which the classmate did not know at all. But as small boys they had a very good relationship.

Here again we come across the double painting with the little girl and a fifty-crown banknote with a few coins. What does it entail?
Some things change and fall into oblivion. So I painted a fifty-crown note, which is not used as currency anymore and a little girl, who over the years will grow into adulthood with time.

Is the whole collection about time? Next to the entrance there are five paintings with shrimps and fruit. Are they about transience again or about vanitas?
Yes, it is about transience and am also interested in details which I magnify. The naked eye cannot perceive them. It is only when they are magnified, that we can ponder on the way it functions and how it looks like in reality. In the set also there are contrasts of various topics.

You studied with Zdenek Beran, who passed away last year. What did you gain by studying with him? What kind of a professor was he according to you?
He was unforgettable. Professor Beran taught me to paint and he molded me in the direction I have taken. Without meeting Zdenek Beran am convinced these paintings would not have been painted. I would not have painted them in such a way at all. He had a magnificent personality and he was able to pass to the students and my fellows, what he knew.

with Karel Oujezdsky for Czech radio,
on 12th march 2015 in Litera Gallery, Prague