Milan Dobeš at Komart Gallery
© Milan Dobeš
Komart Gallery presents an exhibition of Milan Dobeš, born 29th July 1929 in Prerov Moravia, one of the key personalities in the field of Czechoslovak creative arts. His work was already gaining international recognition in the late fifties and early sixties. At that time he re-evalueted his attitudes towards modern art from a decade earlier in much the same way that mainstream artistic trends were moving from impressionism towards abstraction.
After those 'Lehr – und – Wanderjahre' as Goethe would put it, Dobeš developed into a leading figure in the completely new and most up-to-date field of kinetic light and optical art. In both drawings and paintings he explored the use of optical illusions created by particular geometrical constructions. As for his art-objects, along with some well-known colleagues on the world scene, he was one of those to make use of motion and changing lights as a new aesthetic medium in creative art. The actual composition is, of course, always fundamental point.
Within the Czechoslovak environment of that period he took part in key exhibitions, especially the legendary 'New Sensitivity' (Nová citlivost) in 1968. Political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the 1960´s enabled him to developed contacts around the world, so he was invited to the most significant exhibitions including 'Documenta 4' in Kassel in 1968. In 1971 he also succeeded in touring with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra in the U.S.A. where he accompanied new nusical compositions with his kinetic light program.
The re-imposition of political repression in the seventies and eights of course eventually excluded him completely from international events, but Dobeš remained faithful to his own objectives, even if he had to achieve most of them in the form of chamber works and graphic prints. At the end of the sixties he was already one of the ground-breaking artists in Czechoslovakia to use screen printing because it corresponded perfectly with the impersonal design of those geometrical building blocks with which he was working consistently.
Gradually he was unraveling a whole range of artistic problems in constructions, drawings, collages and prints. Looking at the transformations in the artist´s work, 1983 and 1984 were a watershed in formulating his new program which he characterized in the title of his manifesto 'Dynamic Constructivism'. He was aware that the majority of contemporary geometrical creative art from around the world, which had been generally described as constructivist or neo-constructivist, was the product of juxtaposition of statically counterpoised geometrical components, usually squares and circles.
Dobeš wanted to remain in the world of geometry, but benefiting from his experiments with the artistic effects of motion, he wanted to introduced dynamics into the realm of geometrical art which was particularly unusual. From then onwards he was not only making new types of art-objects (for example those taking their inspiration from the reflective surface of metal foil), but also his graphic art took on a new appearance. In this he increasingly developed the used of segments of circles both of varying width and radius and of varying length and color. Structure was still present but, de facto, it was hidden behind the arrangement of individual components. It contributed to the dynamic effect to each composition and thus brought a new dimension to the international school of geometrical art.