Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
- Job 42.3
We have taken the liberty of using a quote from the Book of Job, not simply because Oldrich Kulhanek enjoys reading it, but also because everything we encounter in life and art represents wonderful things we don’t yet know.
In mentioning the biblical narration about Job that Oldich Kulhanek enjoys reading and rereading, it is appropriate to highlight several old Hebraic terms relating to the body, corporeality and man that, without being explicitly quoted, are contained in biblical narration even so. It appears that they correspond to a remarkable degree with Kulhanek’s works, so strongly focused on the figure, in other words man. Job’s suffering wasn’t of his body but the suffering of the man in his entirety, the entire human being.
If the Hebrews wish to speak of the living body that God created in the mothers womb, they used the word “basar”. They distinguished this word from the word she’er, with in the narrower sense, means flesh or fleshy parts of the body. Further avoiding the division of soul-body, Hebrew calls the sensual, expressive and living reality of the man the soul. We perceive in a direct way the living soul with the entire wealth of what can be understood and what can be deciphered from given sensual reality. The essence of this body, i.e. man, is the soul of living man without differentiating through both words, “ne-fesh” – soul, and “basar” – body, that related to the same reality – man living in the world.
Oldrich Kulhanek’s work provides its inner cohesiveness, openly manifesting an awareness of the ever-richer “muse imaginaire” in which the results of that oldest purely human activity – works of the art – are metaphorically gathered together. In seemly simple corporeality, sensuality and expressiveness he searches for a passageway through the veil of habitual things we take for granted, through the elaborate present-day image of the world that conceals reality from us.