Connection: Jana Kasalová

11 3 2024

Jana Kasalová (*1974) studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno in the atelier of Jiří Načeradský. She completed her doctoral studies in fine arts in Spain. Her artistic journey was undoubtedly influenced by several years in London, Paris, and New York. She profiles herself as a conceptual artist but also works as a curator of original thematic projects. She uses a wide range of media: painting, graphics, audio-visual installations, video art, and photography. However, her dominant technique has always been drawing, which allows her to authentically record the most intimate experiences and sensations that often transcend sensory reality. Individual and collective memory, its loss and displacement can be described as her long-standing central topics. She is interested in the interpretation of the landscape and the human footprint in it. For the reconstruction of collective memory, she uses historical maps as a formal, semantic, and aesthetic element. She blackens areas on the maps or rewrites the names of towns and villages on them – in this way, for example, she processed the question of the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans.

Besides strongly felt society-wide traumas, she thematizes her intimate experiences. In several cycles, she reflects on her pregnancy, motherhood, the transformations of her body, and the rearrangement of the hierarchy of values associated with them. More recently, she draws inspiration primarily from her deep memory and experiences that often transcend sensory perception. In 2018, through her yoga and meditation practice, she unexpectedly experienced the opening of her “third eye” and this experience radically shaped the nature of her future artwork. She concentrated on mapping her revealed inner world. Another strong impulse for her was the death of her father, an eminent Czech glassmaker. Thanks to her heightened sensitivity, she experienced his presence during the process of creation. She became a medium and began to draw in direct connection with him. This resulted in a powerful series of medium drawings depicting intimate mental landscapes and their dynamic processes. Her drawings remained an open and bold testimony, a record of the beauty of the energies flowing behind the “curtain” to which the author surrendered.