In his work, Filip Kudrnáč refers to the tradition of classical realistic painting of the 19th century.
For his models he chose the masters of painting such as Chittussi, Jean Leon Gerome, Hynais or Bouguereau. His effort to come close to the technical perfection of their painting shows he has courage to overcome his own limits, which is is hard, lifelong work.
I believe what he shares with these authors is the sense of presence that is of course completely different in their times and in present. Let’s remember Jean Leon Gerome. Two paintings of his come to my mind. In the first one he depicts voluptuous women indulging in a spa procedure, in the second one we can see an almost mythical scene of Bonaparte meeting the Egyptian Sphinx in Giza. Imagine the crowds of people coming into the academy to admire these paintings. They identify themselves with them, because they capture secular icons of their times, aptly depict then idea of perfection and beauty, they are a promise of exoticism, they enable people to take part in otherwise inaccessible adventures.
There’s an easy apparent comparison with the techniques of the avant-garde that tends to combine high art with decadent forms. But as the author himself notes, this is a reference he does not deem relevant. He strives to leave a personal testament.
Filip Kudrnáč’s work is an interesting lesson for me. I realized that experimenting does not exclude following and admiration of tradition. When I think about attempts of some authors who work with the legacy of modernism or Russian realism, I feel too much of a hyperbole and effort to please current moods.
Filip Kudrnáč, on the contrary, follows his own path, tries out various traditional technological procedures that are not easy to dare to do.
I ask myself how he would work had he lived at the end of the nineteenth century. I kind of suspect that he would flee from the academy, evade cafés occupied by the emerging avant-garde and would search for something truly of his own, something his colleagues would shake his heads at in disbelief and would not exactly know what to think. And maybe that is why in its core, this exhibition is more avant-garde than it would seem at first glance.

Jana Písaříková

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