Kryštof Strejc, Fish and Dog

GAVU – Small Gallery

30. 9.–28. 11. 2021

Curated by Radek Wohlmuth

The title of the exhibition of Kryštof Strejc (1994), a recent graduate from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, resembles a fable. It is not far from the truth since animals and humans represent almost the same in the artist's interpretation. Although they retain their characteristic features, there is almost always something that simultaneously disrupts and shifts the unambiguity of perceiving them. Kryštof Strejc views the two creatures without attributes and sports no prejudices and preferences in approaching them. He has no personal relationship with them. He does not have a dog; he is not a fisherman. He began painting animals during his studies in the studio headed by Jiří Černický and Marek Meduna (Michal Novotný). However, he at that time favored more dominant animals, such as beasts of prey. Only later did the more “submissive” dogs and fish begin to appear spontaneously in his work. Now they arrive in some form, at least substitutionary, in almost every new canvas, and it is among them that Kryštof Strejc found his place. It is not an exaggerated statement. The artist alone states that his work is autobiographic  - at least to the extent that he imagines himself in most of the characters he paints for the sake of authenticity. Even motifs seemingly objective at first are inexplicitly parts of his mythology. Self-portrait also plays an increasingly distinctive role in his oeuvre, which he now even multiplies in successive rows. Sometimes he smiles, sometimes his expression is embarrassed. A similar intertwining also occurs on another level concerning the connection between man and animal. The mutuality is apparent: dumb fish have human lips, while dogs are dressed and wear shoes, which, moreover, does not differ much from lived reality. There is basically no need to invent anything.

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