Jan Mikulka, Šipka / Jump to the water , 2014, oil on canvas, 55 x 70 cm
Areacreativa42 presents for the new season 2015/2016 the initiative “Introducing a painting”, to show the works of artists, mostly emerging, with great technical ability and with an artistic path characterised by a serious and growing research.
In this first event we present the incredible artwork Šipka / Jump to the water by Czech hyperrealist young artist Jan Mikulka, represented by the gallery Cermak Eisenkraft of Prague, with which Areacreativa42 started an important collaboration.
The career of Mikulka is characterised by a rapid achievement of important results and the victory of significant awards, that led him exhibit in prestigious venues such as the National Portrait Gallery in London and the MAXXI in Rome in 2015.
In 2013 Jan Mikulka won the RP Prize of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters with a dark and photo-realistic work (Selfportrait, oil on canvas, 100×70 cm, 2012).
Charlotte Mullins, director of Art Quarterly and juror of the prize, commented “This self-portrait draws you to it through its technical proficiency and expressive power. You feel you are standing in front of the artist, watching him concentrate on his likeness – his eyes hooded yet determined, his lips pressed together through concentration”. Another judge, artist Phil Hale, described the self-portrait of Mikulka as “lf was almost two separate pieces, one astonishingly controlled – almost neurotically faithful to the reference, but the second (and it seemed to me there was an incomprehensible gap between them) was the human reality of the sister’s presence.” The same work was selected for the exhibition of the BP Portrait Award 2015 at the National Portraits Gallery in London.
Few weeks ago, the artist has also received a mention of honour in the VIII Edition of the Concorso de pinturas figurativas 2015 in Barcelona, among more than 5,000 participating artists, thanks to the work “In the park”, oil on canvas, 100×75 cm. From his works emerges immediately an incredible technical ability which, together with the elegance of the compositions and subjects represented, creates a unique and hypnotic union.
he work presented by Areacreativa42, Jump to the water, is not part of the artist’s the most famous production, portraiture. Nonetheless it has become the perfect synthesis of the poetic and technical work of the artist. As always the central subject is the human figure, in this case, however, entire and in movement.
The hyperrealism of Mikulka almost never comes from a direct observation of things, it seems instead mediated by photographic means. The choice of the framing, similar to the one a photographer would use, is a fundamental element of his compositions, the result is well studied and nontrivial point perfectly calibrating the position of the figures represented and their relationship with space. The link to photography is particular strong in this work, through two fundamental and interconnected expedients: firstly, the painter chooses to isolate a specific moment within a movement, making an almost real shooting; from this depends, secondly, the genius effect of blurred outlines that is unique and exclusive to the photographic medium.
Looking at the work more closely, we then realise the refined technical expertise that guides the brush strokes of Mikulka: the shapes of the branches in the background and the water reflections in the foreground dissolve and it can be perceived an almost impressionistic character. The visual impact of the work has a rare charm and makes it difficult to look away.
After graduating at the Institute of Applied Arts in Prague in 2000, Jan Mikulka graduated in 2006 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Among his most important exhibitions include:
2000, Portrait of the year 2000, Klatovy, CZ
2004, International art fair of contemporary art, Munincipal house, Prague, CZ
2005, International biennal of contemporary art, National gallery, Prague, CZ Probing 1, Gallery Anderle, Prague, CZ
2006, Jan Mikulka (with Dusan Mravec) – Paintings, Kampa, Prague
2008, Defenestration, New town hall, Prague, CZ
2009, Intro, Gallery S.V.U. Manes Diamant, Prague, CZ
2010, Unfocused, Pisecka brana, Prague S.V.U. Manes Looking back, Gallery of Slovak art union, Bratislava, SK
2011, BP Portrait Awards(visitors prize winner), National Portrait Gallery, London, UK BP Portrait Awards, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, UK BP Portrait Awards, Aberdeen Art Gallery, UK
2012, Contemporary Czech and Slovak painting, National gallery, Prague, CZ Academy of Fine Arts graduates – Studio of prof.Beran, Gallery Navratil, Prague, CZ Moments (solo exhibition), Gallery Anderle, Prague, CZ Paintomorrow, Museum Šumperk, Šumperk, CZ Element F, Moravian Gallery, Brno, CZ
2013, Art Prague (The Chemistry Gallery), Franz Kafka House, Prague, CZ
2013, The Chemistry Gallery, Prague, CZ
2013, (1.prize winner), Mall Galleries, London, UK
2013, (Gallery Vernon), Dreispitzhalle, Basel, Switzerland
2013, Confidential Reports, NoD Gallery, Prague, CZ
2013, The Threadneedle Prize, Mall Galleries, London, UK
2014, Royal Society Of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London, UK
2015, Et Cetera, MAXXI Museum, Rome, Italy
2015, Faces of Pilsen, Depo space, Pilsen, CZ
2015, BP Portrait Awards 2015, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
2015, VIII Concorso de Pinturas Figurativas, Barcelona, Spain