Fotograf Magazine

Petr Strouhal

Untitled 2, 18. 9. – 18. 10. 2013

A former football goalie and prospect in mechanical (machine) engineering, and also a student at Brno’s FaVU – Faculty of Fine Arts, Petr Strouhal does not rank among the media stars of his generation; even though he showed up twice at Prague’s Youth Biennale curated by Karel Císař and Jiří Ptáček exhibits his work almost all the time and everywhere. However, Strouhal’s veiled approach and inscrutability, perhaps intentional, reject a broader audience. Even though I myself contacted him about last year’s photography biennale, Strouhal is likely a very introverted sculptor, who will love absurd post-production until the day he dies. The latter pushes him back somewhere to the moment when post-war surrealism began to nonsensically reflect even animated films for children. As the event curator, Jiří Ptáček, writes about Strouhal’s exhibition at Fotograf Gallery, it concerns “attempts at hairy abstraction and gestures of a dead hand.” A game with the scale of actual things and their miniatures or larger-than-life models creates the background for stories at their own edge of relatability (and often beyond it). The semi-abstract wooden bust that crowns the front wall of the exhibition is in reality an “objet trouvé” created by a horse that was sharpening its teeth. And the strange, bulging stain on the floor, the meeting of stomped on play-dough and chewed-upon cardboard only confirm that Strouhal is in fact a sculptor looking for the actual boundaries between forms and imagination. The strange contradiction and fluidity between finding and creation, chance and intent is a central element in all Strouhal’s projects, wherein he’s more than an artist in the tradition of the word taught by an entertaining demiurge.

Pavel Vančát