‘Franta is agonizingly concerned about the human condition’ wrote Thomas M. Messer, Director of the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York, in September 1986. Questions of human behaviour and, more precisely, the instinctual behaviour of humans have always puzzled Franta’s mind.
Excavating the human mind and looking for answers by painting and sculpting day by day in his expressionistic style, Franta depicts horror and tenderness, pain and joy, thoughts and feelings. The forces of the souls of his deformed human figures strongly dominate the artist’s work and create the typically intimate atmosphere we recognize in all of Franta’s creations.
In his most recent artworks on paper, Franta’s figures melt together with the soft black, grey, blue or pink painted paper and are characterised by a very restrained interplay of lines. The borderline between death and immortality or between life and eternity apparently disappears, his figures become unreachable and, just like the answers to his quest, become elusive…
Franta’s works hang in museums around the world: the Guggenheim, Brooklyn Museum, Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, Kunstmuseum in Düsseldorf, Musée Picasso in Antibes, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery in Prague, and Nagoya Museum. And now in Museum De Reede in Antwerp.
‘Franta’s work brings to mind the paintings of Goya,’ wrote Thomas Messer. Franta himself is an admirer of Goya whose work, alongside Munch and Rops, makes up a large part of the permanent collection of Museum De Reede. He makes no secret of his delight and gratitude at having his work exhibited in the ‘sacred’ shadow of the old masters.
Mia Goossens 2018