Easiness is difficult, simplicity is complex. Jan Knap´s work demonstrates this.
    Upon observing his painting one may in fact have the impression of finding oneself faced with simple, even naïf, work. So simple as to be a little irritating.
    But how? At school they taught us all the good rules of modernity: that the artist creates her or his own private and arbitrary language, not imitating reality, but inventing it; that the following step is that of leaving the picture and entering life, taking material from the daily environment or creating theatre with one´s own body. We have, in the end, seen it all, seen everything there is to see, and here again they are presenting us again not just with painting, but with a painting that is so immediate, so comprehensible and so normal (but we will have to go back and look at this adjective again).
     In reality this painting is not all that normal. What is this painting of icons, this inspiration from the l5th century? Isn't it supposed to be forbidden to us of the twentieth century - actually, the twenty-first century? You mustn't. It´s not possible...
    Those readers who know Jan Knap, and who are familiar with the multiple charms and the grace of his painting, will pardon this vaguely ironic preamble. For them it is superfluous. But perhaps not useless, at the start of the game, to play up front upon the main misunderstandings that usually prevent a real understanding of this very special Bohemian artist. Just as perhaps it is not superfluous to suggest that those for whom this is an initial approach to his painting do not make a hasty judgement.
     Knap´s work is so intellectually refined as to appear to be elementary. But his is a mental painting, not sentimental, even if babies, cupids and sweetnesses do take up a large part of it. And it is painting which comes from a philosophical vision, even if the philosophy is camouflaged by pleasant images, so pleasant as to scandalize our neurotic and suffering sensibility.
     If we were to use a formula, we might say that his dialog with what is classic, but containing veins with a dimension of deliberate naivety, finds its place within the post-modern and is rooted in the conceptualism of which it at one and the same time represents an overturning and a prosecution. But art is something which is too important to be entrusted to art historians and their classifications what does a picture byk. Actually look like? Let´s take any of the works reproduced here. For example, Untitled of I986 (p. 33).
     First of all we notice a precise figurative quality set up­on a form sealed within perimeters, and generated by skilled draftsmanship. The image is composed, harmonious and highly defined, favoring reduced, slightly miniaturized dimensions when compared with natural proportions. The framing is in general made from a slight distance so that foregrounds and close-ups are out of the question. The perspective obeys an ordered diminishing of planes, even if it does not follow naturalistic illusionism. It is a neo-Albertian perspective which however also admits an infraction or two: what interests the artist is the suggestion of the existence of a space governed by rules - not competing with realism.
     Colour favors the pure ranges which highlight the gold of light. There are in any case moments when the artist explores earthly values, the depth of grays and browns, although more often it is the enamels, the crystalline and solar tones, which attract him. "When I can, when the harmony of the picture allows me to, I try to use pure colours. Light colours in particular inspire security, clarity. I love their strength, their luminosity, even if I don't like the fact that they become violent, that they cry out uselessly. " he himself has said .
     Color, however is subordinate to design, and laid down with precision, without tonal or iridescent states. Dissolving and shading is rigorously abolished. ("Another thing I don't like is dirtying the colors. The colors are the image of the personality. They are a mystery, they are like persons whose identity is to be respected").
     With this now defined style (closed, classical, neo-l5th century form) Knap paints the world of his desire and his dream: a universe in which beauty, harmony and goodness reign, and in which, according to Neo-Platonic theories and those of St. Thomas Aquinas, that which is beautiful coincides with that which is good. Because man, even if etymologically his name can be traced back to dust and earth (humus), has an eternal origin and vocation. And, according to Christian revelation, God took on human form so that men, borne down by radical inadequacy (sin means, in reality, lack, insufficiency) could reacquire divine dignity. In Knap´s painting these philosophical and religious concepts take on the affable appearance and humble splendour of spring meadows, domestic interiors, cupids flying like swallows in a serene shy. The subject which most often appears in his pictures is that of a new earthly paradise: a human comedy (or a divine comedy) in which saints, angels, a married couple with their children appear. A family, or a Holy Family (the boundaries are not at all fixed since the holy is incarnated in the human and the human is elevated to the holy, in an uninterrupted oscillation) lives in the light of an eternal garden, or in a doll´s house, performing the small gestures of everyday existence, following rhythms and actions and performing duties which are not those of the twentieth century, but neither are they those of the past.
      In Knap´s work there is in fact a continuous process of rendering the ancient contemporary and the contemporary eternal. Observe the angel of Untitled 1986 (p. 28). On a motionless background, like a closed theatre curtain, an angel announces the end of time. With one foot it crushes a skull, emblematic of death, while the rolled-up scroll, a sign of resurrection and triumph, bears the names of the living written in invisible letters.
    The subject is solemn, grandiose. But in place of the heraldic trumpets, the angel is playing a recorder, of the hind used to teach first notes to children, while at the same time shaking a cardboard drum which he must have found in some toy room.
    On the one hand, then, Knap humanizes, making the highest and most sacred themes cheerful and affectionate. By following a procedure dear to Flemish and Nordic culture, but also to the primitivists of all time, from the Douanier Rousseau on, he interprets metaphysical iconography by translating it into the sermo humilis of fable, of childlike astonishment, of the dimension of childhood (which, it is understood, is a completely different thing to being infantile. Adults can be infantile or puerile - but not children).
    Some people might be irritated by the sweetness of this picture. On the other hand Knap himself remembers that his first works were created with the intent to provoke. At the end of the '70s the use of sacred images was much more subversive and stinging, for the widest range of sensibilities and cultures, than any experimentalism, even the most ec­centric, or any performance, including the most extreme. However the polemical intent is progressively softened to the point where it becomes non-essential to the artist´s motivations, while the theoretical need underlying its iconography has not faded: the idea, that is, of a divinity which does not inspire subjection, timorousness or trepidation, but renders itself similar to the smallest of creatures. That image which Sartre already found to be devastating: of a three-year old God who laughs. . .
    On the other hand, alongside this humanization of the holy, where the Madonna washes the child Jesus in a zinc basin, Saint Joseph cultivates trees in the orchard and Jesus himself plays with a toy train, toy lorry and box of water colours like any child in the 1950s (although when put together we ought to be talking about a rendering sacred of the human, because the housewife with the straw hat and the kitchen apron becomes a new Virgo Virginum) we witness an overlaying and mixing in of time periods.
    The 14th and 15th century reminiscences evident in the iconography of the resurrected Christ, St. George and the Dragon, St. Sebastian and St. Jerome and the Breast-feeding Madonna; the classical elements, explicit in scrolls, columns, fíliform buiidings in the center of the countrysíde, do not just indicate the desire to evoke what is ancient, but also a different way of thinking of the chronological flow.
     At this point, in order to better explain this concept it is necessary to digress (it will take about forty lines to do so, so whoever wants to can go directly to the following page).
    There is a way of thinking about time as if it were an irreversible arrow moving from the past into the future. This is always the modern way, from Catullus and the poetae novi on, and in a more extreme form it is the avant-garde way, according to which what is new has infinitely more value than what is old, precisely because it is new, original, never done before, logically where innovation is not the only fundamental aspect, but also the date of completion, when the past is definitely past. In more or less the same way, an athlete tries to establish a new record, not to emulate preceding records.
    There is however a way, which, for the sake of simplicity, we will call the classic way, of thinking of time as an unbroken circle, in which past and present are joined. Again, logically, what is fundamental here is not doing something first, but doing it well, where the past is not at all past, but still present and still alive.
    This is what Poussin intended when, haif way through the l7th century, walhing in the Pincio, he bent down to gather a handful of earth and said: "This is ancient Rome". The Rome of Ceasar and the Ceasars is not in the museums, in bibliographies, but is alive here, and now
    In this sense, coming bach to our own times, Pound in his Spirit of Romance (1913) maintained that "all ages are contemporary". Proust too affírmed something of the sort when he wrote in his Recherche, that the sleeper heeps the thread of hours around him, the order of the years and of the worlds. An artist "dreams" too, in the most aware and philosophical sense of the term. And therefore the artist too heeps the circle of space and time around him. For this reason Antonío Machado in Juan de Mairena (1936) distinguished between an unchangeable past (if I was born on a Friday it is impossible for me to have been born on any oth­er day of the weeh) and a past which he defined as being "apocryphal": what we live in our memory and is continu­ally rethought, dreamed, recreated.
    On the other hand, what does Eliot do, when in the Wasteland, seeing the crowd crossing London Bridge in the morning, he understands that this crowd, living in an un­stated day of the twentieth century, is the same as that of Dante´s Inferno: "I did not believe that death had undone so many"?
    Again Eliot, in the chapter Death by Drowning ("Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead/ Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell/And the profit and loss/ ... / Gentile or Jew/O you who turn the wheel and look to windward/Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you") takes us to the Mediterranean of the 1st century, in which the Phoenicians are still alive (Phlebas has been dead for just two weeks) and when the distinction between Gentiles and Jews is still in use. He actually addresses us as if we were Phoenician sailors or 1st century Jews. And he´s not wrong about this, because we have all known a Phlebas, between Wall Street and the City. The Phoenicians are still alive..
    Let´s stop here and put a stop to our digression. It was not our intention to bear down upon the research carried out by a young, contemporary artist with a genealogy which is either too high-sounding or which takes up too much space, consisting of noble and unreauested ancestors. We simply wanted to suggest a number of possible coordinates (beyond the most obvious ones within the '80s) for a way of conceiving time and history. Without excluding the history of art.
    When Jan Knap adopts neo-l5th century forms his intention spatiality and ís not that of auoting, of lifting of a fragment of an ancient worh of art and inserting it into the pliant body of his own work. We in fact ought to be speaking of atmosphere, evocation and linguistic assonance rather than direct quotation.
    Let´s take Untitled of 1991 (p. 43), which has as its theme the triumph of good over evil, emphasized also by St. George, who we glimpse in the distance.
    Upon the background of a rocky landscape, into which a gem-lihe Alpine lake has been set, there is a seated Madonna with Child who is closely watching the Archangel combating the Serpent. The entire way in which the image is laid out, from Mantegna-like rocks to the scrolls shahing themselves out like streamers, is reminiscent of times gone by. The very curtain which separates the foreground from the background is evocative of a late l5th century device: the way in which the masters of the early Renaissance inserted the divinity into the landscape, but at the same time separated it from the earthly scene, safeguardíng the distance between Creator and creature.  


However, if we were to look for a precise model, a spe­cífic picture, a master to whom we could exactly trace bach this work, we wouldn't find one. Knap sets in motion a refined reinvention, a complex contamination through­out the elements of the composition. Instead of auoting, he revives ancient images. "When I like something - he once said - I feel the need to make it again, rather than auote it. I must say I'd be ashamed to use photos or copy the de­tails of a picture. As it is, a picture is an organism. There š no life in a fragment reutilized outside its context".

As always, in this worh too that mechanism of daily acclimatization which we have al ready identified is at worh. The Madonna is wearing a sweater and a shirt or modern mahe, although their origins are indefinable. The entire scene has the feel of a stroll in the mountains. And the Archangel-baby fights against the little serpent not unlike the way in which a tripper would eliminate a viper before laying down a cloth for a picnic.

The effort made by Jan Knap, whatš more, as we can now very clearly see, ís that of brínging the patrimony of the history of art, the continuity of the linguistic traditíon, bach into circulation. To this extent, by taking on the dutíes of memory and glancing once agaín into the "immense building of the memory", the artist participates in the cul­tural climate of the '80s, and in general of the post-modern climate, which opens up once again a dialog with the mu­seum while auestioning the dogmas of modernity. His re­search and his decision to paint instead of using extra-pic­torial materials, is in tune with the presuppositions of that climate.

One understands that this is a very partial syntony, in­terwoven with a concordia discors which leads Knap on­


® Maestro di Vyšší Brod, Discesa dello Spirito Santo (particolare), Galleria Nazionale, Praga.

Master of Vyšší Brod, Descent on the Holy Spirit (detail), National Gallery, Prague.

to an autonomous, solitary path. The Bohemian artist does not share the choices of neo-expressionism, of the trans­avant-garde, of the "nasty" or wild painting of Italian, American or German orígin. He instead is deeply attract­ed by the work of Salvo, and in particular by the cycle of St. George and the Dragon, which also becomes one of his recurrent subjects. In any case the subtle reinterpretation of classic themes in low language, almost in the form of an illustration, ex-voto or cartoon, whích is re­vealed in some of Salvo š productions (we are thinhing of the St. George turned out in heretical ranges of colors, be­yond any play of the memory) does not belong to Knap. Its "variations on a theme" are centered on iconographic in­ventions, not on forms or colors, which do not contain sub­jectively forced interpretations or primitivisms.

The irony, then, which was the muse of the '80s, is most certaínly not Knapš muse. In his worhs we can fínd play, commotion, melancholy, levity, enchantment, but certainly not the presumed detachment of an ironic attitude. The irony, if there is any, is directed at the spectatorš dogmas, towards the certaínties and prejudices of the cultivated per­son of the twentieth century.

If we wanted to find a parallel with the worh of the Bohemian artist, even if horizontal projections are in dan­ger of becoming academic exercises, we could perhaps

Maestro Vyšší Brod, Cristo sul Monte degli ulivi (particolare), Gal­leria Nazionale, Praga.

Master of Vyšší Brod, Christ in the garden (detailJ, National Gallery, Prague.


venture into the field of architecture while thinking of ex­pressive choices such as those made by Leon Krier.

However, in order to really understand the painting of Knap, we must not just looh at the present but delve into the past, especially into the Italian and Bohemian l5th cen­tury. As he himself has pointed out "Certain assonances with contemporary artísts whích some people notice in my work depend on the fact that we have seen the same mas­ters. The artists that have really left theír mark on me were the great masters of the past that I saw in museums: first in Prague, then in Germany, in Rome, everywhere".

The l5th century then. Let Knap speah again: "The l5th century was a happy period, a period that maintained a depth of ancient faith. At the same tíme the language of the l5th century is already fully comprehensible to us; it is al­ready ours. The artists I love the most were born in the l5th century: Lorenzo Lotto and Antonello da Messina. It is not by accident that both masters had a relationship with northern art, which brings them closer to me. I find that both of them, Lotto and Antonello, are well able to unite the sweet Italían style wíth the real melancholy of northern art. ... Angelico interests me less than one míght thinh. He is not so important in my scale of loves. Certainly, I always looh upon his worhs with admiration, but then I also forget them easily, whíle the worhs of painters like Antonello and Lotto are always vibrating inside me".

Besídes these remíniscences one rediscovers in Jan Knap (and it could not be any different) the memory of Bohemian gothic

art, studíed at length above all in the Narodni Galerie of Prague. The Stories of Christ by the Master of Višší Brod (Hohen furth, 1350), Christ in the Garden, the Deposi­tion and the Resurrection by the Master of Trebon (Wít­tingau, 1380) or the Polyptych of the Passion by Ra­jhrad, as well as works by the Master of Litomerice, are distinguished also by their extraordinarily intelligent de­tail. The narrative capacity of Bohemian masters, the ability with which they recount a blade of grass, a robin with its nest on the crest of a tree, the gathering of a veil, the elegance of an ankle boot spreadíng infinite linear and chromatic elements throughout the painting; their atten­tion, that is, to the vitality of details does perhaps sof ten the synthetic value of the composition, but testifies to a heart-stricken love for the concreteness of existence and at the same time a píetas full of the immediacy of humanity.

Jan Knap has certainly loved the polycentric style of these masters: the multiplication, that is, of the composi­


tíonal elements, of the narrative nuclei of the painting, which are never anecdotes, but revealing episodes. Each of his paintings is made up, in reality, of many palntings. Each detail, enlarged, could translate into an autonomous worh. It is as íf we were witnesses to a worh of inlay in whích many ídeas líne up side by side in space, almost as if to create an ideal polyptych. And each worh also arises from a narrative proliferation, from the pleasure of multí­plying figural elements, of followíng the thousand rivulets of a visual story.

Another constant, typically Bohemian, which can be found in the worh of Jan Knap, is the interest for a religious iconography, suspended between evocation and fantastic invention.

We say "typically Bohemian", thinhing for example about an artist such as Bohumil Kubista who, as his pseu­donym suggests, was one of the most prompt followers of Picasso and Braaue. Bohumil painted a Saint Sebastian half way through the second decade of the last century based on the spatial decomposítions of cubism. It was an unusual - even uniaue - subject, inspired by a very dif ferent sensibílity than that of the French. While Picasso and his companíons reduced their themes to just a few re­current motífs (musical instruments, playing cards, coffee tables, bottles and glasses) Bohumil traced the lesson of the avant-garde bach to hís own centuries-old icono­

Jan Zrzavy, Annunciazione, 1943-1957, cm. 28x36.

Jan Zrzavy, Annunciation, 1943-1957, cm. 28x36.


graphic tradition. He felt the need to derive inspiration from a holy subject while still worhing on the decomposi­tion of space and form.

We have mentioned Bohumil as an emblem of an icono­graphic sensíbility not because he had any prominence in Knapš affective geography. Who did however count for him, among the masters of modern Bohemían art, was Jan Zrzavy (1890-1977), almost unhnown here by us.

Already in the second decade of the last century Zrzavy was painting figures animated by a mystic and metaphysi­cal primitivism. In worhs such as The Meeting of Em­maus or The Sermon on the Mount he expressed a dreamlihe visionary quality pervaded by a notably human relígiousness. Christ appeared there as if in an infantile il­lustration or in an ex-voto. In the post-war worhs on the other hand there prevailed a figuration with rounder lines and his smooth little figures, sweetly ingenuous, left their marh on Knap š juvenile worh. But at this point we ought to supply some more precise biographícal information for our artist.

Jan Knap was born in Chrudim, in what was Czecho­slovahia, in 1949. Already as an adolescent he demon­strated a precocious attention to art and received the first rudiments of the vocation from a sculptor who ís today for­gotten. Knap has, as it happens, always been deeply inter­ested in the "science" of painting. But this was a science which he would have to enquire into on his own, employing years of trial and experiment to understand the qualities and properties of colors, the technical finesse, trichs and se­crets of a craftš grammar that before was passed down from worhshop to worhshop and which today every painter has to discover alone, slowly and wearily.

When he was still young Knap studied the masters of the Bohemian school at the Narodni Galerie in Prague, but al­so approached modern art, falling in love wíth Cézanne and Modigliani. In the meanwhile he became dramatically aware of the contradictions of the regime, the falseness of ideology.

His father underwent sentence for political reasons. Things became dífficult.

After the Prague spring Knap decided to leave his coun­try and move to Germany where he entered the Academy at Dússeldorf, under Gerhard Richter.

These were the years when Beuys was teaching, but nei­ther he or Richter had any meaning for Knap. (Or maybe they did. How often does our character, do our intellectual choices mature by contrast, not in agreement but through


Jan Knap, Mondrian, 1979. ·

reaction to what is presented to us by a teacher, by the vironment, by the moment in time. So maybe for Knap the closeness of a father of conceptual art, as Beuys v must not have been without in_ fluence, thereby allowing ~ to assess in its highest forms the path that he did not ~ to tahe. Moreover, as has already been noted, the lingui passage brought about by Richter may have also exe~ some influence upon Knap: we are only thinhing c Richter-li~Ze product such as the reínterpretation of Titian-like Annunciation. Still they are non-essen proposals). Knap š training as it happens was not lim to art. Later, in Rome, from 1982 to 1984, he studied l losophy and theology, both subjects madé more intensE his approach to Catholicism. We have already mentio (but never as in this case repetita iuvant) that the ar1 entire iconography, the family of little angels and sr saints that inhabits his landscapes, do not come fro~ sensitive affectedness, from a banal optímism, a taste the idyllic and sweetness. They are ínstead the transla of a well-rooted theoretical perspective into ages of extraordinary light, of a deep metaphysícal c viction reached not through the tranauil paths of habit through a painful rediscovery.


The very return to a theme consisting of babies or angel­infants is not in obeisance to a sichliness reminíscent of the nursery, but to an evangelical logic. The Christian ideal does not consist of adults, intellectuals or teachers - but of children. To them is revealed that which is hidden to the wise and to the intelligent.

Only in our century, what š more, has beauty and grace been viewed with suspicion as synonymous with fatuous or­nament, if not with educated obtuseness. Starting from the obvíous awareness that existence ís a drama, we have de­duced that art must express above all drama and that the artist must create a theater of his own anguish. (Yet Renoir painted his most glorious venuses when he was old, de­formed by arthritis, unable by then to paint if not at the price of atrocious suffering, hís brushes tiedto his fingers. And when Matisse went to see him and ashed him why he continued to paint, Renoir replied: "Remember that pain passes, but beauty remaíns". And Matisse tooh the lesson seriously.)

But let us return to the expressive path tahen by Knap. After the Ditsseldorf years the artist moved to New Yorh where he stayed from 1972 to 1982. His worh, which went through an expressionist phase and brief abstract period, marhed by an interest in Mondrian, at the end of the '70s had arrived at an immediate, primitivist fíguratíon notable for its steep, upturned perspective.

A worh lihe Mondrian in 1979 is almost a díary of re­search conducted during those years. In a cramped room, almost lihe the cell of a medieval monh, a number of sym­bols that allude to death appear ("I am always thinhing about death" the artist has declared). A consumed candle and an hourglass are symbols of the rapid passing of time; brohen glasses and a broom refer one to an ídea of wasting away; the bird thatflies off from the window is an ancient symbol of the soul that leaves the body.

On the walls of this tottering room a pícture by Mondri­an expresses hope for order, logic and rationality: it is al­most the lay correspondence of the cross on the table.

However, the ínterest in Mondrian of these years was replaced by that of an immediately legible figuration. (However, the love of abstract painting, for a rigorously constructed painting, remained firm in the artistš worh. Worhs lihe the Untitled of 1986, were constructed lihe a geometrical theorem, even if the Cartesian coordinates were substituted by the perpendiculars of a tree trunh and rahe, by the horizontal bands of the house and shadow, by the diagonal provided by the angel ín the bachground and


by the planh leaning against the bench. Worhs lihe Unti­tled of 1987 (p. 39), are dominated by an abstract sur­face. But all of Knap š painting in reality is tense with a secret, camouf laged geometry which is able to bring to mind the ordered asymmetries of neo-plasticism, lihe the pointilliste orthogonals of Seurat. The need for a geo­metrical essentiality is accompanied, in equal and con­trary manner, by the taste for a complex compositíon loaded with analytical elements. On the other hand, the very lach of titles for the pictures - "quasi" all Knap š can­vases bear the title Untitled - can be linhed with the artistš youthful interest just for the visual and formal di­mension of the worh).

It was in 1979 that Knap founded, with Peter Anger­mann and Milan Kunc, the "Normal" group, with which he exhibited at Aachen in 1981 and in Ditsseldorf in 1984.

Notwithstanding the geographical distance that separated the three artists (at this time Knap was living in New Yorh, Kunc in Cologne and Angermann near Nuremberg), and notwithstanding the differences in theír pictures, the group found they had a common denominator in the desire to over­come all excesses of conceptual hermeticism. "Normal", however, was short-lived, even if its elements of simplicity, ímmediacy and anti-intellectualism lived on in Knap š paínt­ing, as rhey did in that of Angermann and Kunc.

The two worhs from 1984 published here (p. 22) come from these years, where the script is stíll marhed by slight emotional excesses of an expressíonist influence, as can be noted in the areas of layered color and partially cursive de­sign. The spatíal construction is still archaic, as in Thomas á Kempis writing the "Imitation of Christ" where a me­dieval - but also Cézanne-lihe - perspective is wedded to a figuration led by rounded masses. It is in fact only be­tween 1985-86 (even if willfully created irregularities in perspective also persist over these years) that Knap š syn­tax achieves a definitive sharpness.

From the early '80s however his painting can be sepa­rated into essentially three large subject areas: saints; the family and holy iconography. A visionary variation, snowy and wintery, on the theme of the Flight into Egypt (p. 29), The Annunciation of 1986 (p. 33), with the mov­ing invention of the Child who presents himself along with

All declarations made by Jan Knap here are taken from an interview with the writer contained in: Elena Pontiggia, Jan Knap, EdiZioni Galleria Toselli, Mi­lan 1993.


the angel to the Mother, the Resurrection of 1987, for ex­ample, belong to the last category. The most dramatic episodes of holy history, such as the Crucifixion ("I don't thinh I could do it. I'd lihe to, but right now I feel that it ís not within my expressive possibilities. This does not how­ever mean that I do not havé a dramatíc idea of life. ") are however laching. Among those most dear to the artist. Knap š nomadic biography in the meantime has created new chapters. After the stay in Rome, when he studied in a seminary from 1982 to 1984, he moved to Cologne, where he stayed until 1989. Immediately afterwards he came to Italy to live, to Modena. Then, finally, in 1992, he returned to what was once Czechoslovahia where he chose to live in a small town not far from Austerlitz, between Brno and Prague: not much more than a village, surrounded by the meadows and hills that appear in many of his paíntings.

However, to so many restless movements the artist corres­ponds a deep faith in the reasons for his painting, which over these years proceeded coherently with its premises.

How could we then define his worh in concluding this short piece?

Jan Knap š painting provides us with its candour and wis­dom, its classical and contemporary aualities, its eloauence and its mystery. Paradisiacal in its meanings and in its ideals, it is anything but "good". It is ínstead tinged with a mute intransigence towards the certainties of art today. But it is, above all, luminous painting. Lihe a smile, lihe a mirage.

Elena Pontiggia Elena Pontiggia


2004 © Galerie CAESAR