Jonáš Czesaný (1972) belongs to the generation of painters that emerged on the Czech art scene at the turn of the last century. His earliest works, dating from his time at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he studied under Professors F. Hodonský (painting) and V. Kokolia (graphic art), tackle the theme of landscape. He mastered the art of drawing during his graphic studies which brought him deepening interest in figures and objects. When working on his first self-contained series of paintings, the artist uses magazine and photo patterns. He creates a strangely bizarre world in which the key role is initially played by a feel for the grotesque (series Koupacky, Anthems, Black and White), sense of absurd and black humour (series Fish&Fishes], later succeeded by a greater degree of melancholy and scepticism (series Beatles). Jonáš Czesaný exhibited a selection of his paintings at a two-man show with Jakub Špaňhel at the National Gallery, Veltržní Palace, in 2005. A catalogue was published by the National Gallery to accompany the show.
For his large-scale paintings, Czesaný looks to locations near his home in Prague. Mostly portraying the modern developments and buildings in the Prague's Holešovice quarter, he explores their specifics forms and scales (e.g. Veletržák, 2006). Using the medium of painting, he enters the "ghetto of life" as given by the circumstances and his long-term existential symbiosis with it (High-rise building, 2006). The covered territory has been "experienced", Czesaný has spent much precious time in the area. In its detail, Czesaný's contemplation of Holešovice also echoes in the cycle Pigeons (2006). Czesaný imparts the different subspecies of pigeon with irony by the names he gives them (Plebeian, Aristocrat – both fom 2006), expressing his own individual sympathies or aversions.
text: Petr Vaňous, 2008