They wrote about me

The creation of František Bálek is rather concentrated, though at the same time, it does not refuse new impulses. It takes its source in the knowledge of our environment, in the heritage of Central-European traditions. It also refl ects influences of the avantgarde currents of the inter-war period. It also coheres with the aesthetics of the 1960s: getting free of classical procedures and fi nding new methods. The sculptor in his prevailingly chamber-like artistic expression arrived at a specifi c personal description of fi gure. He masters the procession of metals, stone, ceramics and other synthetic or transient materials. He can markedly simplify shapes and interconnect inner and outer space. He points out important features and suppresses secondary motives. Thus, he manages to create an expressive reality. He expresses himself in a clear and impressive abbreviation, but at the same time he knows well how to use important details to stress the impact of the whole. He approaches literary symbols with a great sensitivity without letting prevail the story over the pregnant artistic expression. Modesty and the simultaneous feeling for the play of the shades are typical of his artistic creation. Some of his statues have a balanced, prevailingly static composition, into others is interwoven movement either in an expressive or dramatic way. In other statues František Bálek even reaches the very edge of pure abstraction, which he though never oversteps. It is given by the fact that he always relies on his sensing and observing the reality, which keeps supplying him with inspiration. He depicts all his ideas with an expressive facility, delicacy and even robustness. If we observe that in his works he mostly reaches for somehow rigorous composition, there are also works where he lets go a rich imagination reminding us of the heritage of the imaginative currents in the Czech and European art. He sometimes makes use of the natural forms of found stones that themselves suggest the fi nal conception. Simultaneously, he gets close to currents based on interconnecting various found objects. Doing so he then denotes the trace of reality and the environment he lives in. Natural materials are often substituted by epoxides, which the artist handles with the same mastery. There are very interesting imaginary chess fi gures reminding of the context between reason and sensitivity, material and thought, idea and its art conception. A great majority of Bálek‘s creation counts on invariability, i.e. preserving of the statues for future generations. Monumentally felt, and at the same moment, fragile statues of ice and sand though head since their very creation for their inevitable extinction. The creation of František Bálek has slowly developed in a natural process throughout the years. There have been no abrupt changes. The current exhibition allows us to follow, if only in a short glimpse, the way the artist has gone through, we can observe changes in his often praised artistic creation and conclude for ourselves that with his impressive authenticity he still touches current issues.
The creation of František Bálek is rather concentrated, though at the same time, it does not refuse new impulses. It takes its source in the knowledge of our environment, in the heritage of Central-European traditions. It also reflects influences of the avantgarde currents of the inter-war period. It also coheres with the aesthetics of the 1960s: getting free of classical procedures and fi nding new methods. The sculptor in his prevailingly chamber-like artistic expression arrived at a specifi c personal description of fi gure. He masters the procession of metals, stone, ceramics and other synthetic or transient materials. He can markedly simplify shapes and interconnect inner and outer space. He points out important features and suppresses secondary motives. Thus, he manages to create an expressive reality. He expresses himself in a clear and impressive abbreviation, but at the same time he knows well how to use important details to stress the impact of the whole. He approaches literary symbols with a great sensitivity without letting prevail the story over the pregnant artistic expression. Modesty and the simultaneous feeling for the play of the shades are typical of his artistic creation. Some of his statues have a balanced, prevailingly static composition, into others is interwoven movement either in an expressive or dramatic way. In other statues František Bálek even reaches the very edge of pure abstraction, which he though never oversteps. It is given by the fact that he always relies on his sensing and observing the reality, which keeps supplying him with inspiration. He depicts all his ideas with an expressive facility, delicacy and even robustness. If we observe that in his works he mostly reaches for somehow rigorous composition, there are also works where he lets go a rich imagination reminding us of the heritage of the imaginative currents in the Czech and European art. He sometimes makes use of the natural forms of found stones that themselves suggest the fi nal conception. Simultaneously, he gets close to currents based on interconnecting various found objects. Doing so he then denotes the trace of reality and the environment he lives in. Natural materials are often substituted by epoxides, which the artist handles with the same mastery. There are very interesting imaginary chess fi gures reminding of the context between reason and sensitivity, material and thought, idea and its art conception. A great majority of Bálek‘s creation counts on invariability, i.e. preserving of the statues for future generations. Monumentally felt, and at the same moment, fragile statues of ice and sand though head since their very creation for their inevitable extinction. The creation of František Bálek has slowly developed in a natural process throughout the years. There have been no abrupt changes. The current exhibition allows us to follow, if only in a short glimpse, the way the artist has gone through, we can observe changes in his often praised artistic creation and conclude for ourselves that with his impressive authenticity he still touches current issues.

Jiří Machalický

The creations of František Bálek (1954) possess an imaginative character; as a sculptor, he gained his first experience with shaping as a ceramics modeler, later refining his artistic talent to a professional level at the Academy of Applied Arts (VŠUP) in Prague, where he studied applied sculpture under Prof. J. Malejovský. After graduation, Bálek worked in Plzeň where he collaborated with sculptors A. Sopr, B. Holakovský, and L. Fládr, simultaneously developing his own sculptures first in intimate sculpture and soon afterwards in architectural realizations as well. He soon developed a mature sense for dynamic and aesthetically pleasing sense of shaped elaboration of form in space for working in architecture. Bálek’s works stylishly develop the aesthetics of classical modernism with a harmonious treatment of form conceived as a dynamic-organic unity, often loosely applying the principle of Cubist morphology. There is a typical emphasis on an exclusive and perfectionist presentation. In principle, the organic morphology of Bálek’s sculptures draw from the artistic language of the 1930′s avant-garde, from a late-Cubist morphological base that František Šmejkal termed “imaginative cubism”. The aesthetically impressive stylization of figure and shape tends towards the further use of organic morphology of modernism, which it combines with a cubicizing shape-compositional order. This stylish base is the starting point for an imaginative transformation of forms with an attractive formal-aesthetic and poetic quality that evokes free imaginative associations. In Bálek’s concept, the abstracted formal unit is a source of fanciful figural metamorphosis. Rather than a purely shaping component in the modernist sense, it thus acts as an imaginative component, enabling a fantastical interpretation of a figural theme in the spirit of the symbolist wave of modern art. The expressive means of this interpretation is a special tension of the form in which a distinctive artistic tendency is reflected in an effort to reach the limits of kinetics and a gesture of the human figure. The intimate sculpture “Strange Future” (Podivná budoucnost) has a symbolist character, combining bronze and stone. Its allegorical conception works in harmony with the decoratively ensuing design that dampens the expressive iconography of the torn head, revealing a universalist stone sphere inside. The double face refers to iconological figures of the Renaissance (Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia), which were a common tool of iconography of the Modern Age (see Braun’s allegory of Wisdom/Foresight at Kuks Hospital). The normative basis of meaning, of course, is freely revised into a subjectivizing position, following up on the Art Nouveau and Symbolist current of art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in an intersection of naturalism and ornament and in the symbolist subjectivization of semantically-allegorical elements with the characteristic motif of dreamily closed eyes.

The sculptural counterpart “Blue Dream” and “Desire for Blue Dream” (Modrý sen, Touha po Modrém snu) thematicizes, in a Modernist form somewhat inspired by surreal morphology, erotic and autoerotic contents, i.e. a significant motif source of surreal and imaginative creation. With the monumental woodcut “Spring” (Jaro) as well, which otherwise has a more distinct position in Bálek’s intimate work, there exudes a modernist organic form eroticizing an energetic charge, its abstracting morphology pervading an intense sensory perception. The “artistic imaginativeness” of Bálek’s sculptural work – if I may be permitted such a label – is attractive to viewers through its aesthetically accessible treatment of shape, its organic transposition of a figure following up on a modernist re-evaluation of Cubism, its elegant and perfectionistic preparation of material, the sensory energy of the pieces, and their communicative symbolic content.

Petr Jindra

balek-sochy.cz is proudly powered by WordPress