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Zdeněk Sýkora: A Rider on the Back of Time

A human being is a citizen of two worlds! In the world of phenomena, all that a human is and does is an insignificant link in the chain of necessary causality; but a human also belongs to the transcendental realm of freedom, elevated above space and time.

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, 1788


One of the features of our time is that „none of us have time“, haste devours us with increasing intensity and its dictate is all the more pressing. In the past it was necessary to divide time into days and hours, the Renaissaince brought minutes; later seconds came along, perhaps so that we could better manage time. Or, more aptly - to be able to spend it with more efficacy. We’re always rushing somewhere, as if wanting to catch up on lost time. And this, as you will no doubt agree with me, is very difficult, one might say, impossible.

Despite this, there are people who have not concerned themselves with this apparently obvious certainty, have not thought about it; not because they wanted to rebel against time, go against it, outwit it or keep some in reserve. They were simply not interested in the bottomless chasm of time, they did not focus on it and ignored it; or in fact their work met its demands. And then we talk about their message as eternal, historical, timeless.

Only a strong individual can stand up to time – one who knows how relative time is, how transient is worldly fame, how ridiculously temporary so-called “eternity” can be and how worthless is the falsehood of truth. Such an individual suspects that we have also been assigned other, time independent, tasks, regardless of the period, the circumstances, one’s ambitions and the often grey and stormy weather in which it is our fate to live, create, exist. I believe that in former times such people were called prophets.

And because Zdeněk Sýkora’s work is not time-dependent, and thus is not subjected to it, the painter himself is not ruled by time, could not have become its hostage, its slave, serving a short-term and transient goal. He interpreted the enticements of time in his own way and he filled the flow of years, days, hours and minutes with paintings and other work, without negotiating or bargaining with time. He thus remoulded a hurried epoch in the furnace of his talent and extraordinary inspirations, becoming a visionary pioneer whom – and what a surprise that is! – time eventually proved right. That is the moment when the artist, on the contrary, becomes time’s adversary, because through his work he makes it possible to disregard it.

He thus has no need to copy sacred models and ignores global art trends, as they’re known; he has become immune to sudden popularity and ignores short-sighted criticism. On the contrary: he is a loner rolling on through his own creative corridor, who stops time through his patience and enthusiasm and through the black holes of creative ecstasy touches eternity and communes with the universe. He becomes a messenger who is able to converse with the future through his painting, his creative code. He is a true artist.

But at the same time as he makes his way into galleries, catalogues, school books, chronicles and history, and as his pupils, epigons and plagiarists assemble, time will one day catch up with him anyway. Thus in the end the highest goal of this contest between man and time can only be a draw. However, a draw is an undecided result which – as we well know – has no champions, or losers. But I think that a tie with eternity is one of the greatest possible human victories of all!

For this reason, as you look around this exhibition, stop, forget about the rushed ticking of your watches and in spite of time running out, join the side of art, contemplation and the beating of butterfly wings in this eternal arena… Find in the exhibited paintings of Zdeněk Sýkora the courage to abandon the ground of reality beneath your feet, to crawl through the quick sands of painting and to sail, with no waypoints, around the foaming reefs of colours, journey in the direction of the endless horizon of illusion and dream, without the map of reason. I read somewhere that the horizon calms the soul.

Just for this instant at least, reject the enticements of the Sirens of Civilisation, the furious tempo of our increasingly hasty epoch and for at least a few moments slow down the gallop of time. Become a time rider…

Vladimír Drápal, 2005

Studio, 2002

Zdeněk Sýkora: A Rider on the Back of Time

In katalog Zdeněk Sýkora, Vrchlického divadlo v Lounech, 2005
Autor: Vladimír Drápal, 2005
Topic: work