Merta, Vladimír / Self-portrait
mixed technique, acrylic, hardboard, wood, 103.5 × 103.5 cm
This assemblage dates from Merta’s early period, and it still bears traces of inspiration from informel. The work was produced during a period of political repression, a year after Merta had graduated from the Prague Academy of Fine Arts; there he had studied under the painter Oldřich Oplt, who represented the officially approved stream in Czech art. Viewed in this context, the self-portrait is a progressive work. It hints at the open thinking style that would later characterize Merta’s art, encompassing a broad spectrum of possibilities and thinking beyond the boundaries of individual media as the artist turned away from the strictures of his academic training. Merta later became an important action artist, a creator of objects and an ambassador for new media and environment art in his role as a teacher at the Art Faculty of Brno Technical University.