The year 2022 will mark 200 years from the birth of Gregor Johann Mendel. This major anniversary will be commemorated by the Mendel Museum and the Augustinian Abbey by a new exhibition of paintings by the Brno artist, graphic artist, and art theorist Karel Rechlík in the Mendel Refectory.
The inspirational sources for the paintings include Mendel’s description of a tornado, his observations of sunspots, or a present-day view of the inside of an organic cell. Karel Rechlík explains the impetus that led him to create this extraordinary and intriguing artwork:
The personality of Gregor Johann Mendel and his scientific work continues to amaze both geneticists and the broader public. Mendel’s study of nature, its order, its endless diversity, and its unceasing internal motion was also an expression of his appreciation for the whole of Creation and the mystery of its origin.
The beauty of the world, of organic and inorganic nature and its profound interconnectivity is an experience that will lead any sensitive person both to rational and scientific exploration and to personal meditation or perhaps prayer as a sign of respect. This was no doubt the case for the theologically educated monk of the Augustinian Order, whose mission includes the contemplative consideration of God.
One of the oldest ways of expressing man’s attitude to the world, which surpasses human capacity, is with imagery. Symbolic – and visual – thinking has always testified to humanity’s fascination with the wondrous character of nature, which constantly exceeds our expectations.
It does not matter what form or specific purpose was given to these images, represented throughout the whole history of culture. They may be an inadvertent expression of the sense of immeasurability of the world of which we are part, or a deliberate attempt to interpret ideas with which we strive to understand the universe.
The exhibition being prepared for the Mendelian anniversary in 2022 will offer distinctive creative approaches with regard to contemporary art. Fantastic plants and creatures will represent both external nature and the internal world, reflecting the soul of their creators. These works are a supremely personal profession and testimony of the search for one’s own place in the world. Other artworks are inspired by the exceptional breadth of Mendel’s scientific interests and ideas – from research on the principles of heredity to observations of meteorology. These are approached via paintings that are more abstract and symbolic.
Both of these artistic approaches come to a confluence in seeing the wonder of Creation and sensing the common foundations of nature and our inner lives.