Even though painter Zdeněk Janošec Benda, based in the north-Moravian city of Ostrava, is an autodidact, he certainly cannot be ranked amongst naïve artists. His entire oeuvre departs from mysticism and intuition, and he thus successfully avoids the traps of conceptual speculations. His spontaneous painting focusing on the elementary aspects of human existence contains no clichés that are usually linked with Czech mystical and decadent tradition. Benda’s mysticism is rather rooted in the philosophy of Josef Šafařík who approaches world as a creative process where the reality of things is based on active participation. The artist’s own participation is apparent not only in his illustrations (the most famous ones being those to Milton’s Paradise Lost), but mainly in his paintings whose forests and landscapes are inhabited by peculiar creatures and animals. Benda’s paintings make the viewers face their inner, intrinsic feelings, safely and tenderly unleashing the wave of sentimentality. Janošek Benda indulges in free painting only sporadically due to his engagement in the Puppet Theater in Ostrava, and his unique works are thus quite rare on the art market.
Zdeněk Janošec Benda
* 1960, Frýdek Místek, Czech republic