Jan Wojnar (1944 – 2014)
Space Grid Poem, 1976
combined technique, canvas; 68.5×68.5 cm, acquired 2003, Olomouc Museum of Art, inv. no. O 2258
The central motif of Wojnars work is a reflection on cosmic events and the organization of the cosmos. More precisely, it is the creation of a work according to rules analogical to the "construction of the universe" (J. W., 2004). His work at the end of the 1960s was in the spirit of the period movement of New Sensitivity. The artist created white monotints with laconic geometric compositions and small visual objects. In the first half of the 1970s a conceptual approach started to assert itself in his work, and it remains characteristic of him. However, his work to this point cannot be connected exclusively with conceptual art, as remarkably he oscillates between visual poetry and concept art. Wojnars ability to synthetize different approaches in one work found its culmination and original fulfilment in grid poems (visualisation of the relation between two structures), the inventiveness of which shifts the borders of post-modern thinking. One of the early but completely mature examples of this approach, at its time unusual in Czech art, is the Space Grid Poem, dated 1976. At the time when people on the Czech semi-official scene mainly discussed different forms of "existential grotesqueness", Wojnar focused his attention on an original solution to the problem of the relation between order and the random character of a certain situation or constellation. Thus an integral part of the picture-poem was the authors effort to turn a passive spectator into an active observer or "co-author" of the work. The spectator becomes a part of Wojnars "open works", provided he or she is willing to accept the "rules of the game". The author expanded the problems of the "open work" several years later through equally original poem-objects titled přesýpací básně/sandglass poems. Wojnars unusually vast work, the facets of which cannot be described in brief, is one of the most original expressions of Czech conceptual art that developed, in particular in enclaves outside Prague (Pilsen, Brno, Silesia).