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úterý 17. června 2014

Protesting texts: Farewell to the painter

The name: Zdeněk Šputa. The age: 97. The place: Prague and an ancient windmill near Pecka castle in northern Bohemia. The person: a man of principle, a painter of great artistic merit, invention and discipline, who sadly passed away last week. And the question: what's the right attitude for an artist to take when surrounded by the dictates of a totalitarian regime? 

Only the true connaisseurs of art would know about Šputa's work, its quality and depth. And only a few people would be aware of the immense sacrifice this man performed during the communist era in order to keep his personal, moral and artistic integrity in synergy. After his early exhibitions, that enjoyed wide public success, the Art Committee suggested, that Šputa changed his style and declined the impressionist touch in his work, as it allegedly showed Western and capitalist tendencies. Šputa then voluntarily stopped to exhibit his work for more than thirty years. His first exhibition after the Velvet Revolution enjoyed immense success. Impressed by Šputa's personality, art and attitude, I dedicated one of my Oxford essays to him. Reprinting its excerpt now, years later, I feel like taking a toothpick and angrily stabbing into the very visible flaws it contains; also, my own perception of the whole issue has changed. In any case, bravely enough, here it is. Couldn't paste the pdf here, so excuse the poor formatting and a number of missing footnotes. The original title is Protesting texts.