Hana Čápová’s entry into artistic life introduced a set of drawings and illustrations for the works of the Italian writer Curtio Malapart, Kůže a Kaput. He belonged to the extremely successful life of the graphic artist, but he also determined the expressive tension of her works until the following years, when several other artistic accompaniments of world classics were created:
James Jones, Forever (Our Army, 1985),
Yuri Trifonova, Lust (Works, 1985),
Irwin Shaw, Bread on the Waters (Mladá fronta, 1985),
F. S. Fitzgerald, Stories of Pat Hobby (Czechoslovak Writer, 1985),
Ilja Erenburga, The Fall of Paris (People’s Publishing House, 1986).
In Malapart’s novels, their plot moves on the border of reality and fiction, she managed to capture the apocalyptic atmosphere of absurd and at the same time fantastic situations with extremely cruel and at the same time ethos filled with humane ethos with indescribable means of expression. victims with all the stigmas of a terrible apocalypse. The naturalistic detail alternates with the generous form of the outline and the raw flow of ink stains. Unfortunately, no publisher took this unique opportunity to make the illustrations.
She later converted many of the motifs of her diploma thesis into a graphic etching technique, and the theme of horses freezing in ice (called Horses in Ice) became one of the most impressive examples of an anti-war memento. Hana Čápová also placed her exceptional gift for depicting an animal in the image of horses rising in a terrible spasm of the premonition of the end, which also became one of the permanent motifs of the graphic artist’s thematic repertoire. She used her ability to use movement mechanics, but also the mentality of the animal in many graphic sheets with civilization and ecological themes – in the series Animals (etchings Leopard, We Love Animals, The King and His Jester from 1982 or in warning sheets. “So, people, you let them survive” from 1984). The pure natural world of the animal confronts human greed, the age-old dream of humanity and the blissful arcade of the golden age with the current reality, whose advanced culture allows entire animal species to become extinct (Expulsion from Paradise, etching, 1981; Environment I – III, etching, 1981).
The technical mastery of graphic means of expression, most often in etching and aquatint, allowed the author to develop the ability of material characteristics of rendered motifs, which can be compared with the illustration of old scientific atlases or the exactity of Hollar animal etchings. On the graphic sheet for the 100th anniversary of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in 1982, the huge artistic element is the huge wing of Nike Samotrácká hovering over the school building as a symbol of creative genius. With the pathos of thought and sovereign presentation, the poster was one of the most successful student works and was selected in 1984 for the World Student Universiade in Kobe, Japan.
Since 1984, another great theme of theater and pantomime, inspired by the acting of Bolek Polívka, has been unfolding in the work of Hana Čápová. The collection of drawings from the Theater series from 1985 was awarded at the International Triennial of Youth Drawing in Nuremberg and gave rise to several excellent etchings Theater-Circus, Between Heaven and Earth, With Whom I Have Honor, The Jester and Queen and The Scream in the Deep Eternity, from the last of which, from 1988, returns to the fate of J. Debureau. The world of theater has also become the main theme of modern, subtly humorous paraphrases of classical themes – To Be or Not to Be, King Lear, Pierot and Harlequin, Dialogue over Love Apples, Masquerade Ball, which featured at the International Exhibition of Young Drawings of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the GDR in Berlin, Erfurt, Prague. and Bratislava in 1988 and met with an extraordinary audience response. In addition, they enrich contemporary young art with the art of figure and figural portrait in a non-traditional metaphor of theatrical arrangement.
The drawings, mostly in large formats, are characterized by a special, difficult-to-define humor, characteristic of the silent performance of pantomime and translated into pictorial language. In a specific way, they overflow the naturalistic display with a cool stylization of the shape and, in the graphic design, also with a decorative interweaving of various details. In the cycle Virtue and Dishonesty, Hana Čápová simplifies composition even in graphic design in favor of a clearer and clearer form. The graphic structure is penetrated by a subtly shaded color range of pink, greenish and velvety brown halftones, underlining the softness and also the modeling plasticity of the otherwise very fragile, manneristically cold and withdrawn poetics.
Hana Čápová’s choice to portray the complex emotional world of today’s man is not accidental. Although he has occasionally demonstrated his skills in landscaping, such as in extremely impressive drawings inspired by the old distillery building from 1985, he is a man in rich emotional ties to his world, its culture and history, who wants to make an eloquent picture of his personal – human and creative – experience. Hana Čápová rightly won her place in graphic enviroment.