Jaroslav Bradáč


Jaroslav Bradáč was born in 1945 in Prague, where he studied at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (1963-1969). He moved to London in 1969

His education in the visual arts was based on academic and classical teaching, with a strong emphasis placed on drawing, artistic techniques and the history of art. His academic background influenced his iconoclastic approach and interest in traditional artistic values: how to build on them, and how to break them down. The conflict, tension, and the difference between highbrow art and low art became a battleground of artistic activity.

A traditional life drawing, when finished, is torn to pieces and reassembled randomly. A fistful of paint gets accidentally thrown at a completed painting... The act of willingly surrendering one’s artistic control over a finished work and allowing an institution to complete the artwork became the next stage in his development and it is documented in the POSTAL WORKS. A parcel, generally created in a foreign location, that captures the spirit of the place - the genius loci - is addressed to the artist’s home, then taken to the local Post Office and is posted back to the artist. This anonymous institution, the Post Office, stamps and franks the parcel, thus embellishing and finishing the artwork, a step that is totally beyond the artist’s control.

During the eighties, Thatcher’s years of boom and bust, Bradac created a series of extremely tall sculptures which aim to reflect the decade. Absurdly tall, fragile chairs, held together with string, unbalanced, over ambitious, high reaching without proper foundation, sometimes on wheels, comment and echo the go-getting eighties: a contradiction of what traditional sculpture should look like. High walls, ladders and tall chairs are often featured in paintings of this period.

Use of collage, the randomly selected fragments of photographs and other assembled materials developed into another technique contradicting the past. Extensive experimentation led to new discoveries of techniques and materials, including photography and digital imagery. All his investigations and experiments were mostly contained within a traditional form, displayed within a frame, intended to be hung on the wall.

Texture and, in particular, the texture of decay has been of major interest in Bradac’s creative process and it has strongly influenced his most recent canvases. Eroticism has also always played an important role in his imagination, as have images associated with childhood memories. The CENTREFOLD series, for example, are reminders of the double-page spreads that featured in earlier copies of Playboy magazine. They are imitations of that feature translated into paper, and simply folded a few times.

During the nineties, Bradac also became interested in visual narrative, which developed into a series of OCCASIONAL DIARIES. These are unique, individual artist’s books of approximately 70 pages, bought as blank paper volumes, and filled, occasionally, with relevant images reflecting personal, fictitious and public events, all clearly dated. Twenty Occasional Diaries have now been completed, and some double spreads have been scanned and printed separately as unique digital prints.

Visual narrative inevitably evolved into moving images and to creating experimental VIDEO work with sound. There are currently three completed short videos, available on DVD, ranging from 9:30 to 13:30 minutes in length.