Jan Jüngling, painter

Transient moments of life have inspired the drawings and pictures of Jan Jüngling, the academically trained painter born 5th November 1946. By transient I mean neither insubstantial or atypical. Quite the contrary. Even in the cycle of works developed during his studies at Prague's Academy of Fine Art (under Professor František Jiroudek from 1970-76) the artist was already trying to represent decisive moments in man's life or death.

His work inspired by the clinical milieu attest to his fascination with medicine, his admiration for people who bring to others the most precious gift of all : life itself. In his monochrome pictures, where green is the color of operating theatres and white the color of hope, crucial tensions abound. Tensions of the moment, fleeting but decisive.

Even at this stage his artistic work was distinguished by a conscientious approach to creating given themes. A student job enabled him to acquaint himself thoroughly with hospital surroundings, the work of doctors and medical staff. Soon however a further theme arrived, by no means remote from the previous ones. The common denominator is his interest in people, his aim to try and capture moments of both calm and tension in their lives.

In his drawings full of inner verve we step into different households, wander the streets of Prague, admire the monuments of the capital city, take in the noise of public transport, gaze in shop windows… We save our moments of holiday afternoons, experience the stress of the working day, breathe in the metropolitan atmosphere. In these works Jan Jüngling reveals himself to be a perceptive observer of what goes on around him. Developing away from static compositions he consistently aims at more dynamic interpretation. Movement is what most tempts him to creative expression. Streets are crowded with streams of people - the Prague of today seen through contemporary eyes. Jüngling depicts it like one enormous theatrical scene, in which countless acts takes place. Periods of waiting, of hurrying, of joy and disappointment, just like everyday life all around us. Moments which never return and yet which remain.... Fixed deep in his creative memory, they live again in his drawings and oil paintings in wide-ranging episodes with a strong emotional charge.

Jan Jüngling has not abandoned his themes, he is developing them. Nevertheless at the same time he is considering new creative directions. An attractive topic was presented to him by the National Theatre's new ballet entitled `The Time of Man'. Created from the Sumerian literary work 'Lament for the fall of the city of Ur', it bears a profound philosophical subtext : the defence of peace. This topical reference was emphasised by all elements of the production to emotive effect. And in keeping with the overall intention of the production there came first a series of drawings, then lithographs, then figurative oil paintings. Once again Jüngling was fascinated by movement , which he tries to capture and depict as convincingly as possible. At the same time he selects with admirable sensitivity from the expressiveness of gestures, dance movements and poses above all those which are crucial for balletic performances, both as far as content and the dynamic of its modern concept are concerned.

Depicting movement in its countless variations presupposes great draughtsmanship. The artist maintains that this is fundamental to him in even the most diverse figurative creations in oil painting. His feeling for expressive economy developed in drawing, emphasised by dramatic tensions. The expressive nature of his output is the true measure of his artistic experience. Although discernable reality sometimes appears in abstract form, it is always verified against life from which it stems. Life - this is perpetual motion. And life in motion is above all the main target of the painter Jan Jüngling's creative endeavours.

© Jakub Kavan