The world of Voves´s paintings is fundamentally human in the sense that each reality is viewed and examined at the same time as a communication, a symbol and a signal. Thus the endless human yearning for understanding and interpretation is intrinsically present in its structure, along with the impossibility of its perfect fulfillment, and the fateful collapse, and the equally strong urge to resume and persevere. In this sense, the basic theme, present in all the thematic lines of Voves´s paintings, is that of relation, identification and attitude of a man and the world, of what is outside and what is within. The mystery and utter ineffability and insistence of the message hidden in every reality raises the issue, time after time, with the same urgency.
The thematic group „Memories“ has given rise to the cycles „Messages“, „Landscapes“ and „Scores“, evoking ancient eerie records, often hardly intelligible, preserved in a fragment of a text or a graphic torso. Fascinated by movements of bird flocks and their collective behaviour in the wintering grounds, ages old and repeated every year, Voves created „The Ravens“, a cycle of paintings profusely variable in their composition, in which whirls in the sky not only interpret the fleeting dance of the vital force and necessity, but also set patterns along which life takes place and which stand for the Nature´s memory.
The Voves´s paintings deliberately go beyond the actual sphere of pure artistry. For him, the composition is always a consideration, elaborating on one of the aspects of the intricate theme of relationship between a man and the world. With relentless passion he follows the tenuous and tricky line between artistic communication and references to non-visual contexts of symbols which reveal the reality while retaing its secret in its ambiguity, elusiveness and urgency.
… In many respects, it is the memory which governs the creative (and sometimes destructive) activity of a man. On the level of cognition he realizes the contexts of the outer and the inner worlds, which, in their visible form, are mediated by literature and poetry, music and theatre, painting, sculpture and architecture. The revelation of the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious expanded the scope of exploring the individual aspects of the creative process. Memory traces revive in the form of specific recollections. Defined closely by the life span of an individual, they indirectly become a part of the cherished testimony, but also turn into legends and myths about the time and people. However, memories are often accommodated to personal wishes and ideas, because in relation to the objective reality and to the course of time their content and their flavour can be modified in many different ways. In the broader ethnical context they are a part of the historical memory, however, they mostly convey a summary of the individual life experience. With the decline of mental capacities though, they often melt away and overlap.The anthropology suggests that, maybe, records of deeper or closer past, whose origin and meaning is hard to see, are stored in the memory,. Could they be the imprint of bygone adventures and experiences of the human race? Or can their origin be primarily attributed to the analyzed genetic code?
... Over the past years, the artist continues to delve in the fragments of memory printed in products of nature and in human manifestations. His imagery, using graphic and pictorial means, lets him inspect them from different angles. To him, both remembrance and oblivion are the holy source of inspiration. They are a pretext to the poetics of a sign language, in which the contemplation about the human lineage within the vanishing point of memory layers turns into graphic verses and chords of paintings. He dims the of colour scale in local tones while adding spirals which, in the mythical times, a man engraved into walls and stones, all the more that he is, time and again, reminded of them by flocks of birds whirling in the sky, on an unknown instinct.
The sober balance of pictorial and graphic elements calls for a fictitious reconstruction of lost diaries. Line after line the painter puts vibrant records of the fancied letters, notes and other symbols. (Keep in mind that reading books and listening to music are integral to the artist's spiritual world.) Their visual correlation suggests that they contain messages, personal confessions and records of tones from the depths of the past and, maybe, even from the hidden presence. Visual communications refer to the unknown space in which memory is born and perishes, from which it unfolds to ask questions about who we are and what are our stories in the flow of events that surround us. At the same time they bring the joy of culture in creative rendering which, browsing the memory, manages to summon the echo of intimate ideas and visions.
The quest for the roots of human existence leads Jiří Voves to a hunt of the memory. And indeed, the search for the memory of people, things and nature has been the connecting link within his artistic work since more than thirty years. So from recollections of the world of circuses and arenas he turns to ordinary things surrounding a man from times immemorial: tables, chairs and other objects, marked by the age-old use, with lots of scars and fingerprints of man, down to the more abstract themes of windows, which look into the world of memories and, last but not least, to the utterly abstract "musical scores". And thus, eventually, he even forgets the very motive, a mere placeholder, and focuses on the visual rhythm in his pictures. While the primary starting points of his paintings, drawings and prints are philosophical or social, the artistic communication is for Voves an adequate reason for creation. The space within the painting lives its own life, where every brushstroke and every scratch, colour or line has a place the author has painstakingly looked for and found. And perhaps this is why Jiří Voves, usually in an effort to search perfection in his own creative record, returns in cycles to just one theme.
The image reveals presentation of the world in which we are forever integrated. This is what touches us deeply. The picture is not a source of cognition, a medium of information, or a subject of experience in the ordinary psychological sense, it is rather a visualization of a substantial deal in life, that is the world and our being within the world in all its endless meanings. I understand the word deal in its age-old meaning, it is the part that we have been assigned and it is also the share of the total.The deal is a challenge. By grasping it, fulfiling it and struggling against it we live our life, which is at its highest as we answer this transcendent challenge. Life is most significantly transcendent in the answering, in the responsibility towards what we ourselves are not, but what we are involved in. In this sense of answering we find the accountability towards ourselves. In such a relation towards substantial transcendence we discover our own finiteness, whose innermost potential is to question the sense. In the space spread wide for questioning of the sense elementary questions acquire a deeper sense.
What is it? What am I? What are we?
Above all, the contexts of time and space, in which time is the engine (prime mover) and structures the space. The space is conveyed and layered by time. Time to search, to look back, to explore. Time of encounters, which weave the tissues of the world. Time weaves and unfolds the world towards the endless multiplicity of forms, strikingly obvious, which are our deal.
... Yet, across the border of our deal of non-fulfillment, we never give up asking what is it that carries and sustains our living. We live, we surrender to this question while in itself, it may be the answer to our questions. In this questioning and answering the silent voice of a picture is particularly powerful and irreplaceable.
Archaeology informs us about events of which we have no verbal testimony. It examines touches, imprints, traces of past lives. What may have turned into ruins, or even waste, but still carries a certain accent.. It tells us something, we do not know what. We suspect it is a message, you can guess by the articulation, but we ignore the code. Sometimes, we know the code, but the message is only fragmentary. Then there are cases where we have both the code and the text, but not its subject – an ignorant of music reads nothing in a score-sheet. Testimonies may overlap, the meanings appear in flashbacks., everything can be re-transposed. Somewhere out there lie the answers to future questions. "We know that the discovery of Shakespeare´s laundry bills would not be of much use to us, but why should we denounce fruitless research which discovers them as one day a genius may appear who will know how to use them," said the poet TS Eliot. The words usually relate to something - and it is this something we find behind traces. Perhaps it is also a kind of our common foundation, a kind of materia prima.
With this buried foundation, we are connected - but again, merely by touches, imprints, traces in our memory. We react to it - albeit implicitly, unconsciously, subconsciously - and this is what determines us fundamentally. Moreover, it is buried within us in the same way as the ancient traces of the past lay outside of us. It stratifies , and those strata are still moving, very slowly, they overlap, break and infract. We are still guided by the routes of the by-gone journeys, layouts of ancienit settlements, a cultural landscape. Likewise, we are guided by archetypes of behaviour.
... Art is a staggering probe into our memory. Every creation dwells on the shoulders of not just the past giants, but of the entire configuration of small and even smaller productions. Questions (not answers) of every creation are formulated by means of the previous answers, though they themselves would have been rejected. While past art certainly exists, it is the very existence of its history that is increasingly questioned. Sure, the artist's memory is the memory of the past, not a history, and is therefore just like any memory - as fragmented and kaleidoscopic, as it is dynamic and malleable - always individual as well as archetypal. By his nature an artist is an archaeologist – using a touch and a fragment to constitute bits of new realities leaving it to the others to put them together and decipher them. Jiří Voves has found some of those " laundry bills ". And made good use of them.
... in his hospitable retreat Voves draws, paints, graves symbols and codes into the material, both malleable and resistent. His introverted, contemplative perspective of the world speaks to us in the artistic language of subtle touches and interventions. In his work he unfolds the deepest layers and contexts, while recognizing their inalienable mystery. For Voves, the most prominent creative feature is some kind of a "peaceful agitation", representing not only the portrait of the very substance of being, but above all, the way to just break into it.