Tomáš Císařovský

* 1962

  • “We found our themes ourselves. There were foundations, of course. Figure drawing, portraits, nudes, still lifes, loose compositions. You could put an awful lot into that. But basically we were in a schizophrenic situation, where you completed these tasks as a breeze, just to fulfil the bare minimum, and you saved ninety per cent of your time to do what you wanted to. What you considered necessary. Because by then we could hear the growing echoes of the new artistic direction pushing its way through Western Europe and America. We called it the New Wave. It appealed to us a lot. In fact, it was the reason why my colleagues and I got together and formed some kind of generational core. We started searching for options of how to confront each other, to display our works and show them to other people who might be interested as well.”

  • “And the main thing, of fatally existential importance, was that if you weren’t hooked up in that system of funds and unions, you were practically a freeloader. You didn’t have a stamp in your ID card. And so the very first time they checked you, you went somewhere, I don’t know where. You were in big trouble, you had to get employed. Lots of people solved this by entering a parallel world, they were boiler men, cleaners. But this system of corruption worked perfectly. Ninety per cent of people did everything they could to be integrated in the fund, because of the advantages it gave.”

  • “Back then, in eighty-seven or eight, my friends and I went to the pub at Ladronka in Smíchov. The Charter convention was there, and we were there too. My friend looked out of the window and noticed the Antons [prison vans - trans.] arrive. We were both at the Academy at the time. He nudged me, suggested jumping out of the window, so we wouldn’t get into trouble at school. So we jumped out of the window. But they were ready for us, of course, and they shoved us straight into the Antons. That was one of the longest and really ugly moments, when they kept endlessly dialing the Academy number, but luckily they couldn’t get through to the rector. They said that either we tell them who informed us of the meeting and what we were doing there, or our rector would get some really interesting news.”

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    Praha, 25.10.2016

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Our generation was lucky to experience November 1989

cisarovsky old.jpg (historic)
Tomáš Císařovský
photo: autoři natáčení

Tomáš Císařovský was born on 2 January 1962 in Prague. In 1982 he completed his training in wood shaping and woodcarving at the Secondary School of Industry and Art in Prague. In 1983 to 1988 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. Both his parents signed Charter 77, so he was clear on his opposition to the Communist regime from his early childhood. He and his peers presented their works at unofficial exhibitions of young artists, termed Confrontations. After 1989 he became one of the most respected Czech painters. He exhibited in a number of countries. His key works include the cycle of paintings called From the Diary of My Granddad the Legionary, which he conceived as the fulfilment of the dream of his grandfather, who had wanted to be a painter but had fought in World War I instead. His cycle of portraits of Czech nobility, Horseless, is also well known. His oeuvre is present in a number of public and private collections. His wife is the painter Erika Bornová, the daughter of eminent painter Adolf Born.