Text from gallery ArtForum

This time I will allow myself to conduct conversations on a personal level. With the introduction of the introduction to the August exhibition, he unexpectedly came to me, in the name of one of the works, The Cry of Silence in the Depth of Eternity. He belonged to the excellent graphic artist, painter and illustrator, Hana Čápová. And so, instead of the usual light summer essay, I want to confess my admiration for her, for her work, which so perfectly expresses the author’s feelings and directness of judgment, which did not hesitate to tell anyone verbally, but preferred the art version as a much more cultured way, and even the most natural. In her etchings, gravures, drawings or paintings, she let criticism, perception or thought grow, chew her, tell it as a multi-layered story, with more than one historical branch. She let the viewer look for the main and small clues, connect them in context and at the same time enjoy the brilliant artistic processing.

Hana Čápová’s work has been coming into my life for various decades at various intervals, and the last twenty have been coming to my attention regularly through the ArtForum virtual gallery. The first artistic meeting took place in the form of an illustration for an article, from which the face of a woman I knew so well looked down on me with all her dominion, and at the same time I didn’t care about it at all. Most likely, her forerunner was not the one I had already seen in it, but it struck me and, like the author, coincidentally, I did not erase the namesake shown in my memory, even though art as a crazy girl had not yet attracted me so much.

In a few years, a revelation grew up on the Czech cultural scene in the form of a theatrical performance The Jester and the Queen, created by my pantomime guru and Hana Čápová was already here to immortalize the story of the foolish jester and his cruel and lonely queen “for me”. held reality. Comedy and the tragedy of power and seamstress must have been very attractive to her, and Queen Chantall Poullain, with her eyes eternally furiously closed, fit exactly into her collection of portraits of callous beauties that sometimes a lady stands out like the mysterious woman with finer features she hides as well. like a disappointment behind a carnival mask, and like a shield from a ruthless world, he has a dog in front of him, whose wrinkles seem to dig into his skin, which would otherwise defile the forehead of his beautiful mistress.

As time went on, although Hana Čápová’s work added more and less personal themes to me, nevertheless no less memorizing. The stories converted into graphics and drawings no longer had the form of a specific person, but all the more they fit into the worshiped humanity in general. The cycle of Virtue and Vices was mainly focused on them, the realization of which the author succinctly evaluated in one interview by creating ten graphic artists, but she failed to make a single virtue. Somehow she didn’t get to her. Hana Čápová was no stranger to irony and sarcasm, as evidenced by the mentioned cycle or the introductory work We Love Animals. She didn’t have much illusions about the world we live in, about the people who make it up. Her view, appreciation was rather masculine, with a distance, we do not find any smuggled cuteness in her work. According to her, the world was one big circus, and the better the clown, the sadder the feeling we get from which “performance” we take away. She said she was careful not to drown in sentimentality, that it didn’t suit her. She could really avoid her with an arc. There aren’t many artists who can naturally process the terrifying theme of horses stuck in ice. In this case, she also works as a visionary or time traveler, who jumped into the future for the theme and chose the detail of the apocalyptic scene, which was not shot until eighteen years later by director Annaud in the film Talisman of the Wolves.

She was able to look at the women at a distance that men lured into the traps hopelessly lack. The women in her works are beautiful, but mostly at the same time cold, often calculating gold diggers. She couldn’t be more distant from them herself, she just wanted to: “Don’t do what you don’t want to happen to you. Don’t harm anyone, don’t lie, don’t cheat. Live a normal decent life and be able to look everyone in the eye with a clear conscience.” Hana Čápová was definitely not about empty words, so we can take her works a bit like a set mirror, in which you can see your imperfections, those that are not visible at first glance, because we carry them in us, in our character. Although Hana Čápová was far from mentoring and never lost her foresight, we can accept her work from this, which is not always the most flattering side for us, but we will appreciate it much more than just a nodding: “that the woman could paint”.

Zuzana Ottová
August 2019