In his work, the artist embodies the hateful satisfaction associated with experiencing the social body as a battlefield on which unembellished life clashes with cultural and power claims, in sculpture-objects created from cultural waste, banal materials, textiles, and everyday items. Apart from painting and installations, these figurative variations on hysterical cultural corporeality have in recent years constituted the most extensive part of Skrepl’s work. “Darlings” therefore represents a concentrated selection from a large and growing series of sculpture-objects. The Czech exhibition title refers to one of the artist’s earliest ironic figurative variations taking the theme of the characters of the 1876 moralising bestseller “Fireflies” by Jan Karafiát (a Czech Brethren Church priest) and a popular animated TV bedtime story from 1967. At the same time, though, it also refers to the intimate pet name for a close person, still commonly used. It is therefore appropriate to speak of the exhibited works as “Darlings”. After all, animals have always enjoyed specific attention in Skrepl’s work, and toy animals or their torsos quickly become elements of his works, which is what it is all about here.
Vladimír Skrepl (*1955) is a prominent personality on the contemporary visual art scene, a painter, author of objects and installations, a “self-made-man” in visual art. Between 1976-1981 he studied art history and ethnography at the Faculty of Arts of the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Brno. Later, he worked as a curator at the Prague City Gallery and the National Gallery and since 1996 he has been the head of the Painting II Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. In 2007 he was awarded the Prize from Jiří Kovanda and in 2008 he received the Michal Ranný Award. Despite all his extensive artistic and teaching activities he has long remained a kind of anomaly that is impossible to ignore, although no one seems to know quite how to deal with him. His nature makes him tend to explore the domain of the creative subject’s affective reactions by means of loose, expressive form, reflecting the possibilities or clichés of the medium (painting, installation, object).