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H. Cejnarová´s artwork is characterised by two primary inclinations which can be traced in her work troughout the last ten years. A specific lyrical symbolism has become the most striking feature, characteristic of her paintings in oils, tempera and pastels. The whole concept is based on a certain colour or form element, or sometimes it is based on a structure consisting of a system of symbols which bear communicative, enigmatic, and almost always symbolic significance. The degree of alteration to the meaning of the symbols varies in relation to the extent of the emotions and subjective factors involved. Nearly all of her pictures are autobiographical, based on her personal experience. The creations show a considerable reduction in detail, eliminating all but the essential structure of a depicted symbol. It is demonstrated both in form and colour. Colouring thus can become monochromatic.

You are guite right if you notice the influence of Zrzavý or Komárek. H. Cejnarová admits they are among her favourites. Artists do not always like revealing the influence of other artists on their own work, their growth and their artistic development. H. Cejnarová openly acknowledges her two favourites - Paul Klee, because of his symbolic and poetic vision of reality, and Salvator Dalí, for his surrealistic vision of the world. Regarding personal as well as artistic gualities, she considers Zrzavý, Bílek and Komárek to be closest to her heart.

As the author puts it, she has been trying to live in harmony with nature through meditation and her interest in the subconscious. She has also been able to find faith and hope in the depth or despair. Further, she admits that her genuine romanticism, the source of her energy and confidence, is needed for further creative work, regardless of personal agonies and problems. Her work has covered the questions of everyday existence and Being as such, and it covers the position of a concrete human being within the time-space of this world. (I have interpreted the author´s written ideas and the credo of her artistic aspirations. Now it is up to you to assess whether the author has succeeded in fulfilling her aims.) It cannot be denied that the persistent elimination of detail, retreating to basic colour and form schemes, the utmost simplification of composition, and the typical accentuation of light and shade which, mingled together, form either mysterious chiaroscuro or irritating contrasts, has strengthened the impact of her work on the viewer.

A lot of personal suffering and pain have been dealt with in the pictures. That can also contribute towards better understanding of what we see. The author has drawn upon her personal experience, her victories and defeats. There is no literary background to her art. Some inspirational sources can be traced to music and, of course, to the works of the artists mentioned earlier.

Characteristically she tends to work in cycles (diptychs, triptychs). Less known is her capacity for documentary drawing which shows great precision and accuracy. That qualifies her as an outstanding illustrator whose work is especially suited for textbooks or specialised and scientific texts. Unfortunately, this side of her talent has not been fully recognised by our publishers.

Doc. PhDr. Bohumil Nuska, CSc.



To live more than a humdrum life one needs work, love and also beauty. Out of this simple need art was born. I have been creative all my life. I value art greatly, especially the sort which can touch the soul.

Such are the pictures by Helena Cejnarová. She is a very intelligent woman. I know she cannot be satisfied with pictures painted with coloured mud, the means used by a conventional painter. Ms Cejnarová has gotten beyond that. She presents works of art that cannot be easily forgotten. I am not sure whether to call them pictures. They are visualised feelings, difficult to express on canvas. That is my opinion. Critics may differ. She has put in a huge amount of work and a great deal of thought.

It seems so much easier to express it through music. It has got tones to rejoice and sing. Pictures have got only colours. The rest must be the author´s own contribution. And these pictures constitute not only colours, for the colour range is limited, but also a soul. There is a soul of a very sensitive being in them. They are full of thoughts. It is neither the colour, nor the canvas, but the soul that has been caressed. That makes it unique, exceptional.

She has worked on such concepts as "Birth", "Hope", "The Quest" etc., using simple form as opposed to the riches of thought. Everything is in place. A stream of hope pointing to the unknown. Everybody cherishes his own hope for better. Hope that you can prevail over your own self. Everywhere there is a beginning, or end, of life and chances.

Once Ms Helena wrote these words somewhere, "Only a humble life devoted to a noble purpose becomes a noble one. It is for us weak very difficult to achieve. The way to succeed is to persevere. That is the most difficult thing nowadays." She was right! Anybody can try this for himself.

Most of her exhibitions carry unusual titles, eg. The Word Inside Us, A Dialogue between a Soul and the World, Monodialogues. Does it indicate what the world is like at present? Who are we, the inhabitants? Are we willing to give? To whom? What do we want to tell? Illustrating thoughts by means of the most ordinary medium is to be calledan art. The author can do it, revealing her sensitive soul and open heart. She gives herself over to people, humbly, expecting understanding from others. It is very complicated. She has often been confronted with misunderstanding. But even a negative reaction can be inspirational, resulting in a picture like "Why me", for example. Why must it be me who has to live with nobody to help? Why do I have to think about these things? Why must I suffer pain and disappointment? There are many such WHYs in the world. How much pain and tenderness can be found within that dark simplicity. Both joy and pain are present here. Fantasy, dreams, reality. Her work embodies life.

Art as such raises a question: What is art? An ability? Yes. Though that is not enough. It is a different world, demanding a different approach. There is more to it than routine work or craftsmanship. There are so many aspect of art that I am at a loss. What to appreciate first-the aesthetic qualities or the concept? Or rather modesty, emotions, reconciliation or defiancy?

There is enough of everything. Ms Cejnarová strives for depth. Some of the contemporary art available at exhibitions at present is naive, even vulgar, with nothing to communicate. Yet her pictures are treasures to me, containing her world, and mine, and that of other people. Such work deserves your attention.

Franta Patočka, painter