From Uherské Hradiště, Zlín region
Based in Ostrava, Moravian-Silesian region
Aleš Hudeček is a figurative painter whose body of work is a collection of artistic renderings of his own memories, often expressed inaccurately as a result of his creative process, which involves analysis, extraction, or transformation
A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. How did you find your path to art?
AL: Actually, quite the standard way. I studied painting at a secondary school in Uherské Hradiště and then at the University of Ostrava. Saying that I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a child is probably cliché at this point. I like this answer my friend, a great painter, gave to a similar question once; that he chose to study painting at a university because his friend told him to give it a try since he’s the best painter in their street. I don’t have such a strong and motivational story.
I come from a family that didn’t embrace visual, fine arts. My mom is a mathematics and chemistry teacher which didn’t exactly align with my way of thinking and childish dreams. I was more on the same page with my dad, a room painter. That was around the turn of the 70s and 80s when colorful walls were trendy. I liked that a lot, working with paint. My father then soon gained a small and helpful assistant in me that loved to put his little kid’s hands in buckets with paint and mix them up. With a great foundation like that you’re just one step away from becoming a painter.
A: What inspires you the most?
AL: My mind, unlikely or unexpected and often entirely coincidentally observed situations, and humans. I carry those visual memories in my head, trying to process them and complete them depending on my vision. Therefore, memory is essential to me because it’s only thanks to memory that I can come back to my experiences and analyze them, or synthesize them into some form of artistic expression. Rarely do I have my phone or a sketchbook with a pencil on hand, so I need to remember most of these random events. And it doesn’t matter at all that I don’t remember them accurately - on the contrary, the skewing of memory can be to my benefit. Once I lose my memory, I don’t know. I’ll immerse myself in abstraction. Abstraction isn’t concerned with interpersonal relations.
A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?
AL: When I arrive at my studio, I first make myself a cup of coffee, sit down, stare at my empty or unfinished canvas and prepare a plan of my painting process in my head. Then, when I paint, I stick to that plan to some extent but allow myself diversion, caused by unexpected coincidences. Apart from that, I prefer to avoid any rituals related to my work. I try to mix up my creative process with every new painting, to avoid unnecessary routine. Firstly, to keep learning something new every time, and secondly, to keep surprising myself. Many painters paint according to their learned or gained habits, leading them to a certain template-ness and repetition. I wouldn’t like such work.
A: What would you recommend to someone new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?
AL: The most important thing is to listen to your gut and heart. If you want to do any form of creative work, you need to enjoy it. If you want to be a creator, you should find pure joy in exploring new things. Only then should you listen to other people’s advice. Even advice from more experienced people can be a source of knowledge and information. Similarly, something that is not easy at all and is very time-consuming, is surrounding yourself with such people and befriending them. However, without the drive and enthusiasm, no advice, no matter how well-meant, will be useful to you.
A: Your top 3 phrases/words related to art?
AL: That’s fascinating. Kitsch. Form and content.
A: Do you have favorite Czech artists?
AL: Absolutely. For example, Josef Lada and Jiří Trnka accompanied me during my childhood. Then, during early puberty, it was Zdeněk Burian. And now that I’m grown up? There are many of course, and I can’t remember all of them so I’ll mention at least three. I’ll try to choose those that aren’t stuck in a loop with their work.
I find Veronika Holcová’s works to impress me strongly. It might be because her work resonates with my own artistic approach; she likes similar colors and atmosphere as me and we’re on the same page in smaller-scale works, such as sketches, aquarelles, and my older sketch cycle from 2000-2004.
Josef Mladějovský is another great artist. He studied conceptual painting under František Kowolowski and moves between painting, conceptual art, and spatial objects. What attracts me to his work is his courage to take established techniques, the knowledge of whose technologies is close to extinction (e.g., scagliola), and reframes them in new, and for the audience unexpected, contexts.
The third one is another woman painter. Katarína Szanyi oscillates between deadpan and abstract work. She works with banal things and items with an almost magical lightness, ciphering and rasterizing them to a point of obscuring their role in this world. Other times she lets them resonate in pure, almost puristic bareness, only to implement text she processes in brutalist or calligraphic ways. Her artistic scope is fascinating.
A: What work of art do you think embodies the Czech national spirit and culture? Why?
AL: You got me there. I don’t think about art in such contexts as the Czech nation or mentality. I suppose such work might exist but I’m not concerned with it. Although now that I think about it more in-depth, I believe that Jiří Surůvka’s complete body of work represents those concepts and consciously works with them very well.
A: How do you like to start conversations about art? How can we connect with others through art?
AL: Any way works. In fact, I have no issues with it at all. For example, yesterday I saw this great exhibition… The problem is that I am surrounded by a community of people who are artists and we talk about art spontaneously and naturally.
The answer to your second question is complex and cannot be objective. I think that visual art shouldn’t forget that it’s visual. So, I suppose it should work with novel but strong formative elements. At the same time, the message shouldn’t be underestimated. The message, of course, shouldn’t be entirely sycophantic and at the same time, not too full of complicated subjectivities. I do think that many artists often can’t combine these elements in an appropriate ratio, making the form outshine the content or the other way around. I don’t know if I manage it but I believe that to some extent I do.
A: Where can we meet you most often?
AL: I share a studio with Markéta Hermanová, Martin Froulík, and Jan Vrabček in Ostrava, Novoveská Street. When I create smaller works, such as sketches and watercolors, I work at home. That’s also the place I like thinking the most. I also like to think in nature, although I don’t like to meet anyone there.
I have two unfinished cycles in my studio. One is concerned with the interaction of man and light and they’re bigger-format paintings. The other is smaller-format and concerned with trees aka conductors of natural energies. I think both cycles will intersect at several points in terms of content.
And from September 2nd, I would like to invite you to my exhibition titled “3 AM games”/Ostrava figurative painting organized by the Behémót Gallery and Brandýs in the World association, and located in Brandýs nad Orlicí.
A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art):
AL: Carpe Diem, aka seize the day.
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