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Twenty years I have been seeking the limits of linocut. I have been setting a higher and higher target to see what I can stand. It is also a reaction to the works of such artists who set as a matter of principle a lower target to see what can the audience stand. Elaborateness is my tribute to honesty.

Michal Cihlar

(The exhibition of Michal Cihlář)

I have to confess that the technique of linocut was for me always something rather mysterious, sort of certain tabu. Maybe because of the accident, when we, that is my brother and me, scratched the linoleum floor while trying to move the furniture. Needless to say, there was no way to fix it. Apparently for the same reason, I was never involved in woodcuts. I had enough problems with my pictures of sailboats, which I did using the hot-needle technique, the technique which does not forgive either. And creating multicolor linocuts is of course more than technique, it is a science of its own.

So much I am then amazed when I look at linocuts made by somebody who knows it well and Michal Cihlář is definitely one of those artists - after all, all his exhibitions confirmed that already, long time ago. But he didn't stop at linicuts, but also designed postal stamps, made illustrations and paper-mache plastics; for instance his "Penguins" are simply irresistible. And he also does collages, posters, wallpapers and tapestry - by the way, doesn't his "Bevy" remind us some paintings of Escher? And I haven't yet mentioned his multicolored linocuts or those colored by hand or using computer technique which fascinates us with all its possibilities...

The technique alone is of course for art something like a vehicle - more important are the main ideas it carries. Those can be expressed differently: by content, by form, by style. All that is shown in linocuts quite differently than in paintings or drawings, for instance the expression of three dimensions, the depth of view or the color shades. Similarly to dithering in electronic graphics or pointillism in paintings, the thickness or configuration of lines in linocut creates its own special effects. We could say the role of line and color is there quite different than it is for classical painting. That's why we are so impressed by the final result - the unique presentation and realization, sometimes even with graphic simplification to allow much deeper or global insight. Yes, that different, but most importantly the richer view at the world around us.

© Jan B. Hurych
Hurontaria - Czech/English magazine

© 2000 Michal Cihlar, ArtForum / ICZ a.s.
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