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Evaluation of Marina Richterova's Thesis

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to follow Marina Richterova's creative development for quite a long time. It was quite clear at the very beginning of her studies at this university that she possed a great gift. Her stubborness, determination, ambition and great efforts to penetrate into the world og graphics were her real help to get over all the obstacles, represented at the time of het studies by an absolute artistic and creative ignorance and indolence.The more admirable the result of her effort is.

I can say that I witnessed her thesis from its very beginning - it was illustrations to King Lear. And I am happy to say that she managed this difficult task in an absolutely professional way. She proved her qualities in different techniques of composition and drawing, she also proved her sense for drama corresponding the given text. Her illustrations, I'd better say artistic emphasis of the theme,persuaded me completely about her brilliant technique of etching - especially its soft sort.

Any negative has its positive. In this case the negative of the absence in teaching the positive was that she thus avoided any mannerism.Today, when Mrs. Marina Richterova presents her works as our younger colleague, I am happy to say that she did her work excellently.

Oldrich Kulhanek, painter and graphic


Marina Richterova 2008

The collection I am introducing was supposed to be a part of my doctoral dissertation "JAPANESE AESTHETICS IN EUROPEAN ARTISTIC CREATION - INSPIRATION AND REFLECTION" at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in the years 2006-09. I was not accepted for studies, so the entire project has been created independently from any state institutions. In 2007 I completed a one-year study program financed by the EU, focusing on Sinology and Korean Studies. It was the project "TAO" that would have a major influence on my artistic development. The combination of the study of Mandarin Chinese (based on pure "RACIO") with artistic invention cleansed my graphic signature of effective but momentarily superfluous allegory and fragility. It even turned out that the inspiration transformed itself not only into visual art, but also into written expression of ideas set in verse. I tried to translate some of them into Chinese using PINYIN transcription with the kind corrections of my teacher Mr. Jakub Hrubý.

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A requirement for the creation of the entire graphic series was the precise printing created in cooperation with the master lithographer Petr Korbelář.

One of the original ideas of my project is the transferal of some principles of xylographic printing (printing from the height of wooden printing blocks) to lithographic techniques (print from a stone surface). So-called UKIYOE - pictures of an ephemeral world - woodcuts that are very popular with broad strata of Japan's population from the era of the Shogun family TOKUGAWA (1600-1868), became my inspiration for finding completely different artistic forms based on the combination of the European school of drawing and the Zen aesthetic of Japan.

Besides classic drawings on stone, I tried a special type of scratch lithography and so-called "brocade printing", with its roots in Japanese woodcuts from the late 18th century.

I put great emphasis on compositional rules and aesthetic criteria, and especially on:


Emptiness "KÚHAKU" has its origin in Chinese transfer painting, where empty spaces served as room for so-called COLOPHON (poems and commentary on the picture).


Aesthetic ideals for art and life during the HEIAN period (794-1185). The principle concentrates on feeling for an object and awareness of the values of joy or sorrow.


The cultivation of aesthetic refinement, elegance and taste.


Based on Zen Buddhist ideas - simplicity, naturalness, moderation. We can regard the idea "WABI", elevated to an aesthetic principle, as the ideal of cultivated poverty which embodies signs of great wealth.

And it is "moderation" that I have chosen as an antithesis of the generous, even bombastic use of colors in "UKIYOE" woodcuts. In the 1780s, Japanese printers used 15 or even more printing blocks, precious metals, brass and mica powder and blind blocking as well as printing with gold and silver. Also used were toxically striking shades of color imported from Europe.

"Frugality" forced me to limit the number of colors and in order to preserve the effect of the colored "brocade printing", I had to think ahead already when doing the basic sketch about the intensity of the future etching and the method of color registers.

I am also returning to the questions of monumental Italian painting of the "quattrocenta", when for painting on wet plaster "al fresco", the range of colors used was limited because of time limitations.

By the magic of combining the traditions of two absolutely different cultures and worldviews, an informal result arises. One need not imitate slavishly in an effort to maintain tradition and style. It can be seen as an exhibition of a certain playfulness, unburdened with the dogma of either culture. It is conscious: "I belong to no school, but I show what good teachers I have had".

The idea of trying out the potential and limits of lithography was provoked by four factors:

1. My physical inability and lack of time to continually work on the technique of woodcutting, generously introduced to be by my colleague and friend Zdeněk Mézl. As a small consolation for the investment he made in me, I have started with black-and-white scratch lithography. To prove myself to him, I have also immersed myself in experimentation with colors. I truly hope that Zdeněk Mézl will be satisfied.

2. An effort to show the masters of gravure printing, the Dřímal brothers, that even the lithographic color black can be truly black, even with a velvet undertone. My nearly two-year absence from their workshop could only be redeemed by high-quality prints in a "competing technique".

3. To show Japanese collectors that the surface printing that they despise, invariably calling it "prints" or "offsets", can bear all of the qualities of the most refined graphic techniques. I was irritated by forcing a conservative Japanese collector to exchange rustic gravure printing for fresh lithography.

4. The ordinary ambition to develop oneself further, to try something new fall into stagnant mannerisms.

Instead of writing many more words, I wish to thank you for your interest and to invite art lovers to the next exhibit of my latest graphic art.

Marina Richter, Zbraslav, May 2008

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Seven years with Marina were not just about bookplates

© 1999 Marina Richterova, ArtForum / ICZ a.s.
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