Theodor Pištěk

Held in the former Châteaux Brewery in Litomyšl, reconstructed by the architect Josef Pleskot.

The exhibition runs from June 11 - July 6, 2010 and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Curator: Martin Dostal

Exhibition's architectural design: Stanislav Kolíbal

The main exhibition of the VI. Annual Smetana's Litomysl 2010 is the presentation of paintings and drawings by the artist Theodor Pištěk. Visitors to the Châteaux's brewery will see a selection of works from the artist's paintings and drawings. Theodor Pištěk is known amongst Czechs as an exceptionally successful costume designer for both film and theatre. Pištěk's best known works are his photorealistic paintings, with which he had personally contributed to this particular style that at the end of sixties and beginning of the seventies especially flourished in the USA. These smooth and highly realistic paintings have, in contrast to the "overseas" photorealism, Pištěk's own individual interpretation of overlays. Pištěk's artistic creations are, however, much more extensive. Pištěk's first serious of painting dates to the late 1950's. The exhibition in Litomyšl presents the wide range and intensity of Pištěk's works through several collections from different creative periods. Theodor Pištěk was born on October 25th, 1932 in Prague. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 1958 where he had studied at the atelier of Vratislav Nechleba. Alongside his painting, he also established himself as a much-sought-after costume designer. He worked on more than a hundred full-length films, amongst them being classical works such as František Vlácil`s films Markéta Lazarová and The Valley of the Bees (Údolí včel), Jiří Menzel`s interpretation of Bohumil Hrabal`s work Cutting it Short (Postřižiny), or the legendary fairytale Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku). Internationally he became famous for his costume designs for Miloš Forman`s films Amadeus, Valmont and The People vs. Larry Flint. Pištěk received an Oscar for his designs for the film Amadeus and was nominated for the film Valmont. In addition, his uniforms for the Prague Castle Guard are quite well known, and were designed at the request of Václav Havel during his presidency. Alongside Pištěk`s painting and costume design he found time for a career in race car driving, which he left in 1973. Both environments,  acing and films, are reflected in his art works, which in his own way Pištěk regards as a priority. The world of fast machines and racecar drivers are seen in his photorealistic paintings. A selection of these works, which capture in suggestive shiny details the beauty of fast motors and the elegance of classical cars, are presented in the Litomyšl exhibition. The world of film is a world of illusions, which emerge in the environment as displaced reality. Especially film lots with their set constructions playing out for the average viewer the hidden significance of the play between fiction and reality. This moment is one of the key themes of Pištěk's paintings. One finds it not only in his hyper-realistic works but also in other works, which thematize space. The masterful execution of Pištěk's smooth painting technique allows him to embody his works with illusory qualities. In the 1990's Pištěk worked with the boundless variabilities of spatial possibilities. In his works, he gives these possibilities the needed monumentality and decisiveness. Last but not least it is also necessary to mention the artistic colourfulness, his its colouristic efficiency and his handling of the colour spectrum. The exhibition contains a series of representative works from this phase of Pištěk's artistic work, which can be for many a visitor a surprise. Even in these works, Pištěk develops his principle of smooth painting, which he brought to perfection in his hyper-realistic works. Of course, the exhibition also presents a wide range of Pištěk's drawings from the years 1964 to 1982. The exhibition actually begins with these drawings. In the drawings from the second half of the 1960's, Pištěk balances the stimuli of Czech Informel and geometric tendencies; one already senses the gravitation towards the last phase of the author's works. The last drawings from 1982, titled Where I Shall Live Next, deal with the theme of spatial architecture. For the visitor this exhibition can be at the same time both surprising and attractive, because it shows Pištěk as a highly autonomous and contemplative artist, who with his works touches contemporary artistic and even social contexts and at the same time, projects in them his deep felt themes.

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