FRANTISEK SKALA'S 'FEELING FOR NATURE'
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This article discussed a number of aspects and characteristics of Skala's work which demonstrate the artist's fundamental concerns with nature and historicity. The author explored how these concerns are manifest in Skala's creation of highly auratic objects, of objects charged with significance within the artist's own personal history, and more generally with historical connotations that pertain to the history of art and the natural sciences. Although Skala works with artificial materials, a central feature of his oeuvre is the erasure of difference between the natural and the cultural. It is this erasure that the author discussed here in the context of Skala's romantic engagement in the natural world, as well as arguing for the importance of broader influences on his work, such as natural history and the representation and perception of nature in various historical epochs. With characteristic paradox, Skala's work can be seen as both profoundly and superficially engaged in the exploration and evocation of historicity. This is typified by his explicitly stylised allusions to romanticism, but it is more generally apparent in his consistent return to nature as the ultimate signifier of history; whether personal, folkloric, or artistic. As well as Skala's well-documented romantic tendencies, he showed the ways in which his work might relate to surrealism: a far more awkward art historical label that does not sit comfortably with Skala himself. Rather than simply discuss his works in relation to the ubiquitous found object of surrealism, the author explored how Skala's 'feeling for nature', for the resemblances of nature, and for the play between the classifications of the natural and the cultural, open up other routes into his work and into the complex network of associations that it constructs.
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