NXT creatives

Jiří Sieber

Akademie Vytvarnych Umení Praha

On the verge of the landscape

The painting named ‘On the verge of the landscape’ is a central painting of my eponymous diploma thesis, consisting of a cycle of six paintings. The painting depicts the native land of mine around Ostrava in the Czech Republic, which boasts rich industrial tradition and shows the landscape in the vicinity of a mine and catchpits. Sieber aims to draw attention to the fact that landscape can suddenly change its essence and shape through an external impulse of a human, be it the discovery of coal reserves in this particular case. This had made the setting beneficial for people and actively influenced further generations of people to have been born there. Sieber for one belongs to such a generation which enables him to observe how strong the bond between the people and their living environment can become. When the coal mining was suppressed in the 90s, the mines operation was severely limited which had a profound negative impact on the local society which also fell upon his family. What makes up for a rather interesting phenomenon is the current cultivation of former industrial landscape particularly the immediate surroundings of the Dukla mine whose catchpits are being drained off, thus creating a suitable agricultural environment. The Ostrava region transforms itself to its current form in which its industry does not revolve solely around the heavy branches. The sites previously tied with heavy industry are being closed down demolished or found a new purpose. This makes the work a partly documentary one as well. As far the formal affairs are concerned, Sieber has decided to accentuate the imaginary lines borders or verges if you will. They’re the lines (ruts) in the field and also the lines that comprise the upper and lower stripes with a wedge clenched in between them therefore the general composition of the painting. Hence the composition reminds the viewer of the Czech national flag. Sieber is fascinated by the human desire to label to give names to use and to venture beyond the verges and transform them. And it’s the borders that symbolise the above mentioned desire for him. All things in the world are relative and as much as the motive of this painting would have looked completely different a hundred years ago it wouldn’t look the same in another hundred years time. Hence he has decided to at least capture and pin down the meaning that this very patch of land with all that goes with it has revealed to himself.