I am a woodcarver. Woodcarving gives me pleasure. It sustains me. It is my joy.
And I am a sculptor. I am learning sculpture. Through sculpture I become aware, I try to understand something. And for me it is a unique opportunity to treat the world as it is — with real dimensions, genuine space, actual material.
I want to place my knowledge of the world (it is mine — because I am responsible for it through my experiences, just as I am responsible for my knowledge of faith) into the real world in the hope that it can hold up. So that the object that has come into being can become a part of it and have some effect upon it.
Despite this searching for harmony, I am attracted by the exploration of borders, of seeking out boundaries and transcending them. But perhaps this is precisely the point: to achieve serenity despite errors and deviations, a harmony that is not a place of the chosen ones, but rather the result of experience. What interests me is the reason, that is, the essence, that is, things that are valid in general, that is, the “ordinary”. For me it is a matter of recognizing the original, the plausible, the intimately familiar.
Most often during my endeavours I end up at Christian subjects and motifs. I explore and inquire into Christianity. For me it is not a matter of creating ecclesiastical objects or liturgical aids…
This art was a component of the environment in which I grew up. This manifestation of human life was part of my own sphere. And just as I was interested in what lives and grows, I was also interested in why and whom were depicted in the depictions of Calvary in the village, on the crosses in the fields, on the tombstones in cemeteries and church altars. And along with the other aspects of reality, I accepted these too as my own.
For me art is a means — a means, not an end. A means to elation, to repeated amazement at the world. I value the ability to be enchanted by form, by combinations of colours. I am grateful for the preoccupation, the longing to have some impact.
After all, this must be … healthy?
Jiří Kobr, Hostim 18 May 2017
Jiří Kobr was born in Dvůr Králové nad Labem in 1974. He studied woodcarving at the High school and College of Applied Arts in Prague (1988–1997). From 1997 to 2003 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Petr Siegl, Jindřich Zeithamml; for his thesis “Cross” he received the Chancellor’s Prize). In 2001 an independent exhibition of his work took place at the Municipal Gallery of Trutnov. His work has been displayed at exhibitions in Reinraum, Düsseldorf, 2002, MECCA, Terezín, 2003; Nothing For Show…?, the Kateřinská Garden in Prague, 2004; Statue 2, Felix Jenewein Gallery in Kutná Hora, 2006; and Statue 3, Wortner House at the Aleš South Bohemian Gallery in Česká Budějovice, 2007. He taught wood carving and sculpture from 2002 to 2005 at the High school of Applied Arts in Prague. He currently lives and works in Hostim u Berouna.