Jan Merta (1952) graduated from the Secondary Vocational School of Art in Prague, known colloquially as “Hollarka”. He then spent nearly ten years in a variety of professions unrelated to art, before enrolling at the Prague Academy of Fine Art to continue his studies between 1981 and 1987. In the 1980s, he was involved in the Confrontations series and took part in momentous performances by the post-modern generation. Since then, he has exhibited in the Czech Republic and abroad. In the 1990s, his work was included in the Test Run and Reduced Budget exhibitions. He is viewed as a painter transgressing the limits of his time; his paintings are membranes between the volatility, flow, and fleetingness of time and the permanence of objects and phenomena. The names conjured up by Merta for some of his exhibitions are a sophisticated provocation (Art Lovers, Exhibition, Gallery, Museum, To My South Moravians, To My Praguers on My Sixtieth Birthday). He is interested in the relationship between the world of art and what lies outside of it (as in the exhibition 70% Artist, 30% Tram Driver). He ponders the confines of art and the bounds of its perception. He is critical of the state of society (Moralities, Stockhausen’s Symphony), yet draws on the hedonistic quality of painting for pleasure, deliberation, and reflection (New Beauty of Old Morsels, Delights, Appetizer, Dessert).
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