Deep Cuts with Martin Došek | Evoking Einfühlung with Lush Surrealism

Halloween, 2021

Introducing Martin Došek, Czech Republic Collagist

/DRI:M/ARTZ: So, you are from Czechia. Scanning your Instagram it’s clear that you dig beer, or pivo. The Czechs are world-renowned for their enthusiastic love of beer but what piqued my interest about the country is an Easter tradition of fertility rites— women get spanked on the backside with a willow whip and, in return, they get to throw cold water on the men. This reciprocal act seems counterproductive because in the US we use the phrase “go take a cold shower” when we want to put a damper on someone's sexual urges. Enlighten us, please.

Martin Došek: After your question, I looked at my Instagram and I was also surprised how many times beer has appeared. I like to have a beer with my friends in the pub. It's really good for enthusiastic discussion. But when I’m at home, I prefer to open a bottle of wine. Easter is one of the still preserved and popular holidays in my country. According to tradition, it is possible to "whip up" every girl or woman on Easter Monday with a pomlázka (braided willow branches). I don't think that men somehow abuse it. It's a symbolic gesture more than something unpleasant for women. According to tradition, young willow branches cut in spring rejuvenate women and helps to preserve their beauty. Men often drink some alcohol on this day, so pouring cold water on them can really mean something like a "calm down". But it's probably just a form of repaying men for slapping on the backside. It is a pagan tradition from before Christianity. I am glad that Christianity has not been able to eliminate many pagan traditions, even though the Church has worked hard to do so.

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Top Panel - Losing, 2020 / Just Say, 2016 / Under snow, 2015

Bottom Panel - Amor, 2006 / Protector of Dreams, 2016 / Beauty, 2005

DA: The Velvet Revolution in 1989 was an inspired time in the Czech Republic—according to your biography that would make you 22 at the time. Communism was abolished and democracy promoted. It was the end of a strict system of censorship that regulated news, literature, music, art, film, and pornography. How did living under Communism influence your artistic journey? Describe the cultural art scene after the revolution? I imagine it was liberating to be able to create unfettered.

MD: I have been devoting myself to art since I was 20 years old. So, communist censorship did not have an impact on my work. At that time, I hadn't even tried to exhibit my work somewhere. The beginning of democracy in my country was a wonderful time, maybe it could be comparable to the release from prison. Suddenly you begin to find out how beautiful freedom is (saying what you want, doing what you want, and traveling where you want). This change also brought a lot of opportunities to exhibit my work at home and also abroad. It would probably not be so easy otherwise.

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Hunting Season, 2021 / Deep Forest, 2019 / On the Border of a Dream, 2019