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An exhibition was opened for the fifth time in the gallery "U Dobrého pastýře" (Good Shepherd) in Brno, on the 20th of May 2003. It bore a somewhat mysterious title "Phenomenon: the book".
When this exhibition was held for the first time it arouse great curiosity (as is usual with everything that is new) what so extraordinary and special - phenomenal - does it display, or what surprise it may bring. Nobody was disappointed. Neither the regular visitors to art galleries, nor all the other visitors who came there for a number of reasons.
It was pleasant to see that the exhibition took place again for the second time the following year thanks to the main organizer and the participants, who became more and more interested in presenting their work. And when the exhibition appeared for the third and the fourth time, it was already clear that a new tradition of exhibitions of "young art" had been established. Therefore in May 2003 this event celebrated a little anniversary - it was the fifth presentation of talented young artists, who were dealing with the common theme "Phenomenon: the book".
The enthusiastic organizer of the exhibition, doc. Blanka Růžičková from the Department of Art at the Pedagogical Faculty of Masaryk University in Brno, had again invited students from schools of Art and pedagogical faculties in the Czech republic as well as from abroad. The high credit of the exhibition was manifested by the very fact that both regular and new participants took part in it.
Every year works that treat the given theme in still new, innovative and striking ways appear, and every year a difficult decision whether to display all the works or leave some out must be made. Every work bears the creative, unique imprint of its author, his or her search for expression and form. Parallel to each other there emerge two forms, harmonic - generally communicable, and provoking. Always the same theme, "Phenomenon: the book", is actually provoking in itself, as both the organizer and the participants are well aware of the fact that a book as such is the last thing the whole artistic problem is about. Despite that a book, as a notion, provides a starting point, and thus becomes in a way a restrictive factor that helps develop authors' creative imagination.
A work of art should be free in its expression and unlimited in its effect. And this comes about only if it from the very beginning develops from a restricted choice of either theme or material. In this case, the "restriction" is embodied by the common theme - a book. However, it might be a number of other topics, such as a box, a feather, a spot etc., which in its strict choice of a theme provide the artists with innumerable solutions of unique form, supported also by the choice of material. Material determines the creative process and has in itself a unique expression. So apart from the theme, also the conditions are elevated into inner and creative factors.
Looking back at the short history of this exhibition, we realize, that it originates from a theme of projects in the seminars led by doc. Blanka Růžičková at the Department of Art at the Pedagogical Faculty in Brno within the study programme of students trained to be teachers of Art. Art as a subject taught at primary and grammar schools explains the function of art in human life and teaches activities that are needed to perform it. It combines knowledge and activating - that is it focuses on acquisition of principles, methods and forms of artistic and aesthetic evaluation. In art lessons at school a process of creation of values should take place, as a man multiplies his humanity even by identification with these values. The optimal case being the activating of special creative powers we call "artistic".
An art exhibition and art as a subject taught at schools do not lie so far apart as it might seem at first, as the defined (or "restrictive") theme is actually one of the pedagogical methods of activating creativity and critical evaluation. The activity might in some cases result in a work of art, which has a value not only for the pupil or student himself, but also for his environment and the whole society. The aim of teaching art at schools is not to bring up artists. It pursues a fundamental expressed by simple words, that is, that all of us participate in culture and art and in its creation. Cultivation of creativity in art activities is therefore a way towards art and towards a human being at the same time.
By those few words on education through art and maybe towards art I did not mean to say that all the young artists presented in this exibition will become teachers of art, nor that all of them will become artists. However, we witness live imagination, truthfulness and naturalness in such an extent, that it affects our nature, for - according to the theorist Dušan Šindelář - one of the supreme tasks of art is to awake in a man the most human nature. And the nature of a man lies in humanity - and the most natural man is the one who is so full of it, that he does not know about it, but does everything for it.

Ph.Dr. Hana Dvorakova

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