Michal Pechoucek works in variety of media. He expertly paints large representational canvases, that however are not to be seen as paintings only. They become props, kind of a story boards for the short video or films that would eventually grow out their content. Combining images culled from fictitious situations with the personal experiences, Pechoucek proves to be proficient in the use film and video technology. Extensive narrative of individual paintings is enhanced by time based properties inherent to film medium.
Michal Pechoucek Portrait of the Artist in the Digital Age
It seems almost impossible today to look for and to find meaning in the world, or an intelligible guiding principle. It is getting more difficult not to succumb to the gradual processes of differentiation in the social strata and to preserve one’s own, unstable and vulnerable, identity. What must be really soul-destroying is the need to communicate one's doubts through images, which refer to the increasingly relative traditions in the fine arts. The young Czech author Michal Pechoucek has chosen this anything but simple triad as a basic model for his work. He makes constant reference to this ideal, while being aware of its impenetrability and also a certain nostalgic contradictoriness.
Pechoucek’s most recent work, called »Sberatel« (Collector), can be seen as a programmatic manifestation of his attitude to art. It is about a group of 26 paintings, whose content is fragmentary, mysterious and well-nigh beyond the grasp of the viewer. Some of these are representative of traditional genres of painting (the portrait, the still-life, the landscape) and contain a series of hidden post-modern references (Gustave Courbet, Caspar David Friedrich, Vincent van Gogh). An integral component of Sberatel is a video (of about 8 minutes) showing the series of paintings, which are clearly destined for some imaginary collector, being presented somewhere in the artist’s studio. Music by Bernhard Hermann (who composed sound tracks for Alfred Hitchcock films) plays a key role within the structure of this work and has directly inspired its line of thought. The whole work is variable in form given that, according to Pechoucek, it can be shown either «as a static gallery exhibition, a series of hanging paintings with a video, solely as a video, or as a series of photo reproductions with a video».
The mimetic strategy, which Pechoucek follows in »Sberatel« arises from the marked contradiction between the banality of what is being shown and the aesthetically rich structure of the perceptive apparatus employed. The artist arranges the work as a linear kaleidoscope, emphasizing neither concrete sections nor particular meanings, but concentrating instead on the course of the actual communication. He makes a consistent use of the technique of film editing by placing static shots next to one another so that their tension is heightened by this very juxtaposition, in a logical (or illogical) interaction. Thus the original idea of the painting as a work, which is to be hung and which underscores the relationship between the depth of the reality presented and the plane on which the illusionist translation is rendered, is confronted with the dynamic visual process of media reality.
Somewhere in the middle of »Sberatel« (in one of the many frames) we see a philodendron leaf stuck in a beer bottle. Perhaps the richness of Michal Pechoucek’s work is concentrated in this detail. The essence of his art is often concealed in something that is not fully understood.