The State Castle has invited ten German artists to present their work in the gallery «casanova». Moreover a young Czech artist will participate at the show whose striking piece could be seen at the «Prague Biennale 1» this year. The idea is to try in all modesty to build a cultural bridge between Germany and the Czech Republic.
Duchcov, formerly Dux, lies approximately halfway between Dresden and Prague, not far from the interstate. The well-preserved castle in the midst of a park—it was here that Giacomo Casanova spent 13 years penning his world-famous memoirs until he died here on June 4, 1798—is particularly well-suited as a venue for cultural events, as it is easily accessible, has spacious facilities, beautiful surroundings, and is of course linked with Casanova. Teplice, the old spa town Töplitz, where the leading lights of 18th and 19th-century high society took the waters, is only ten kilometers away.
Owing to the differences in social developments, the non-figurative and conceptual art of the West is little known in the Czech Republic outside Prague. All ten artists—seven of whom studied at the renowned Städel Academy, the Frankfurt visual arts college—belong to the middle generation of artists born around 1960. While they take very differing approaches, they all refer to central issues facing art.

The «Flag» and «Camouflage» pictures by
Herbert Warmuth (born 1960) address the problem of painted illusions of movement and the reality of the flat surface of pictures. Colored fabric or textile colors form the soft sculptures (items of clothing with opening closed by color) created by Andreas Exner (born1962). The color stripe paintings by Steffi Hartel (born 1956) interact with the outside world through the oscillating golden stripes The landscape photos by Ottmar Hörl (born 1950) were taken with an automatic camera fixed to a wheel hub. They objectivize the process of artistic creation and address the question of speed as a parameter of modern perception. The eye drawings by Jochem Hendricks (born 1959) emphasize the productive potentiality of perception and the emancipation away from the drawing hand. The ensembles of sealed vases by Dieter Froelich (born 1959) are variable sculptures with the aura of painted still lives about them. The landscape paintings by Sid Gastl (born 1955) present an uncanny nocturnal world bereft of humans and full of concealed dangers—from a helicopter’s perspective. The abstract script-drawings by Axel Malik (born 1953) are traces of a preconscious movement of the pen in line with a biological impulse. The drawings of flowers by Antje Schiffers (born 1967) and the commentaries by Mexican Indios on the effects of the plants are the result of a collaborative effort: an ethnological project using artistic means. The fireworks by pyrotechnician Sandra Kranich (born 1971) lend three-dimensional form to her explosive drawings. In his video-piece «collector»the paintings of the Czech artist Michal Pechoucek (born 1973) are lined up in linear or kaleidoscope-like sequences: the painter refers to the movies and uses the technique of video for demonstrating painting.

All of the concepts innate in the works stem from a frequently long tradition of artistic approaches to specific issues, without losing their links to the everyday world, which, if often subtle, are ever present.
The concepts behind the works are readily discernible. For this reason it is more or less possible to talk rationally about this art, meaning they stand out from works intended to express feelings or programmatically evade rational interpretation. The awareness of the issues which art has traditionally addressed ensure that the works on show in Duchcov are very sound, and certainly are not to be associated with fashionable trends and products they seek to exploit modish fads. The works exhibited bear neither political nor moral messages, for in my opinion art should present not what it can also do, but only what it alone can do. The works on show do not express intentions external to art, but hinge on the central issue of the visual arts itself: they all concentrate on the nature of our perception. Nothing is what it appears to be.
The exhibition is supported, among others, by SIEMENS Prague and the City of Frankfurt/Main and has as its patrons the German Ambassador in Prague and the Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic for Hessen. It contains cutting-edge contemporary art. Most of the artists whose works are on display here are art academy graduates, some were members of master classes, others have since become professors.
«Buon giorno, Casanova!», the title of the exhibition, pays reverence to the genius loci, to Casanova, but not to the adventurer and lover who traveled the length and breadth of Europe, but to the famous author. Yet Casanova is not referred to in the contents of the artworks on display here. The exhibition is intended to mark the beginning of a series of events destined to strengthen and spread the cultural reputation of Duchcov, which first became known through Casanova.
• Dr. Burkhard Brunn, Exhibition curator