The Gallery of Everything presents the first in a new series, Artist Focus

These texts aim to consider (re)discovered visual authors with significant bodies of work, and to position them within a context of makers, within and beyond mainstream culture.
untitled (1925) 

(1878-1960, Austro-Hungarian Empire)

Born in what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1878, František Jaroslav Pecka was a published author of evolutionary history, whose series of books (illustrated by his son Milos) were aimed primarily at children and young adults. Pecka was also a geologist, archaeologist and paleontologist, who sourced ancient artefacts for the National Museum in Prague. 

A committed spiritualist, it was Pecka’s immersion in scientific study which inspired an extraordinary body of work, ranging from dense portraits of spirits, painted over a ten-year practice from 1920, to abstract pastels, created continuously after this period. 

Pecka’s proto-psychedelic figures are manifestations of others. Produced by the artist in a state of trance, these ethereal materialisations transmit through him. They, the subjects, assume control; thus the roles of traditional portraiture are curiously inverted.

Each image is marked precisely with the times of transmission, a date (both factual and elaborate), and a strong suggestion of specific and repeated identities. A young woman with characteristics of the Madonna. An elderly spinster trapped within her energies. An effete nobleman with an aristocratic moustache (or perhaps an explosion of ectoplasm).

The dozen or so cast-members of this heavenly congregation revolve with flowing lines and auras. They envelop and encircle, rising through their floral stems into eruptions of colour and form. This intensity lends the work a contemporary formalism and presence, the artist’s confident gestures contained only by the edges of the paper.

untitled (c 1936)
Other formats continue this cycle of productivity, most notably a series of esoteric pastel watercolours. Created later in his life, and presumably with only his fingers, these abstractions (of which very few remain) are no less sophisticated, with a subtle and graduated aesthetic, reminiscent of the finest output of his formally-trained peers.

Yet Pecka was not a self-defining artist. He exhibited in Brno in 1927, and at the National Congress of Spiritualists in Paris, but repeatedly denied any agency for his work. When asked by his ward to sketch something in her teenage diary, the author replied that he had no technical ability and did not know how to draw. In spite of this, František Jaroslav Pecka is now considered to be one of the icons of 20th-century spiritualist art-making.

It is estimated that this non-professional draughtsman executed between five hundred and a thousand guided drawings during his lifetime. That we even know them today is due to the care and foresight of his descendants, who found and protected this delicate material, and to whom The Gallery of Everything is indebted for their support.

The widest selection of artworks by František Jaroslav Pecka available for sale can now be found through The Gallery of Everything. Please contact the gallery by email HERE or for a selection of works click HERE.
The Medium's Medium at Frieze Masters 2019
Photography: Benjamin Youd
                      The Gallery of Everything presents a pair of new exhibitions
                      which looks at how Spiritualism influenced modern art, and
                      how its followers believed they could contact the dead.
                                                                          Kelly Grovier, BBC Culture

Following the success of its installation at Frieze Masters, The Medium's Medium continues at The Gallery of Everything until Sunday 24th November. 

This wide-ranging exploration into spiritualist and mediumistic art practices, from the 19th century to the present day, features drawings and paintings by a diverse range of authors, now acknowledged as a significant influence on the development of 20th-century art. 

Artists include Marguerite Burnat-ProvinsMarian Spore BushFleury-Joseph Crepin, Olga Fröbe-KapteynMadge GillGertrude Honzatko-MedizNina KarasekAugustin LesageRaphaël LonnéHeinrich NussleinVictor SimonAustin Osman SpareJan Svankmajer, Eva SvankmajerovaShannon Taggart and more.

For available works, please click here.
For the Press Release, please click here
For the full BBC article please click here.
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