Collage has really significantly influenced the development of Tomáš Jetela /1986/. He became interested in the technique of collage while working on his dissertation series of paintings in 2010. The theme of the Library brought him to use pages with texts to surround readers. Mere pasting of touched pages from books, which apart from Jetela´s bookworms with somnambulistic expressions nobody needed, gradually developed into a painterly approach to work with different materials. Pasted and torn again pages, the endless number of shades of their typical colour, the structure of destructed layers, all this Tomáš Jetela uses consciously and with the same energy as a brush and paint. However, he did not remain faithful only to collage with paper and painting, he is also concerned with combinations of different materials, apart from others he makes assemblages with pasted fitting or coincidental objects, metal filings and even hair to augment the physicality of portraits.
The term figural painting includes a number of authorial conceptions. The human figure can “merely” fulfill the role of staffage for formal procedures of the author or focus on a realistic scene without emotions. Although Tomáš Jetela is a painter of a very strong form, fascinating expression and expressive gesture, he also brazenly uses his figures as carriers of stories. However he does not abase himself by literal, word-for-word expression. He likes to make the viewer guess what is hidden behind the portrait of a middle-class family, the blood-shot eyes of a thief or behind a portrait of a person run down by age and experiences or behind a portrait of a film star with a “say cheese” smile. And the viewer senses that in most cases it is nothing to make you laugh. Tomáš Jetela´s persistence combined with solid, spontaneously fresh painting connected to neo-realism and Bacon´s new figuration makes us want to get really close to his heroes. What really helps the persons involved in his paintings is the contemporary popularity of retro. Nostalgia and “free good mood” emanating from old photographs and the smile of film stars on the silver screen are really almost automatically accepted by the public. We may accuse Tomáš Jetela of goodliness but we may also believe that only with the help of time which has already passed, he is able to show that “something has happened but we do not know precisely what.”
Jetela regarded the space of the gallery as an opportunity to free himself from the format of the canvas and to fully use the possibilities of blending materials in a collage. Paper “memoirs” and Indian ink drawings on the wall expand uncontrollably the same as a story in a book or film noir when you feel you cannot wait to see what happens.

Šárka Koudelová

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