Since Jaroslav Róna was not accepted to an art school, he went to a vocational training school and learned to be a tanner. It was not until he was 18 years old that he got accepted to the Secondary School of Arts in Prague. Following graduation he studied at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague in the Studio of Glass headed by Stanislav Libensky, who, back then, represented a very liberal personality for young artists. While still studying, Róna started to participate in legendary exhibitions of the young generation organized under the title “Confrontation in Various Alternative Spaces”. At the same time, Róna was becoming friends with several artists who founded the famous group Tvrdohlaví (Stubborn), and Róna was the founding member. This group became the political climax of activities of the new generation and of the expression of a demonstration of free-thinking within the existing regime.
From the very beginning, Róna is a painter and sculptor in one person. With respect to subjects, both aspects relate to one and the same world. “It is one mental mould. Sometimes the result is a painting, because the colour of the scenery and atmosphere are so strong, other times the motif is so symbolic that it requires a sculpting concept,” says the artist. The foundation for his work during his secondary school years were paintings of old masters from the Baroque period all the way to Edvard Munch. Later there was also the art of natural and archaic nations, and, last but not least, the world of Franz Kafka, which the artist constantly admired. This is the source of that existential undertone, the feeling of the nonsensical behaviour and ironic tune of this works.
The scenes that take place in Róna’s paintings are hardly identifiable with a visual reality. They are the artist’s “inner landscapes” (according to the artist himself), which are filled with apparitional, darkened and dismal atmosphere. In some of his works it is the seeing of mythological-prehistoric worlds, which are as if returning to the time when the Earth was originating; other times the artist presents some sort of morbid visions of society’s landscape after a global catastrophe; other works evoke the atmosphere of the world of sci-fi – landscapes that exist somewhere outside of our civilization.
The figure dominates in his sculpting work – whether it is of human or animal character (it is often in the form of beasts or mythical creatures), it is often presented in variously deformed way: sometimes in a more abstract primitizing way (such as masks, totems and idols of primitive nations), other times organically laconic, and sometimes dynamically angularly shaped (at the end of the 1980s Róna was struck by an interest in Cubism and Boccioni’s Futurism). Another group is made up of abstract reliefs and sculptures of bizarre sci-fi buildings-forts or towers, and it is unknown to us whether they come from the archaic past or perhaps from the unknown future. These start to appear after 1991.
The artist’s entire sculpting work is interconnected by a strange story, referring to archetypes and the mythical root of our consciousness. Róna escorts us through mystic worlds inhabited by various creatures and mysterious beings. He perceives his subjects as symbols or fables, therefore as something that is concealed or disguised in his work, and which is more important than what is visible. The artist’s expressive symbolism is filled with distinctive humour and sometimes with slightly cynical exaggeration, which alleviate the burdensomeness of the feelings of Kafka’s absurdity, lostness and vagrancy. Róna’s ironic depiction of his not more closely specified scenes, on one side touches the “Czech Grotesque”, which became typical for many Czech artists from the 1960s; on the other side his work is closely connected with the legacy of Franz Kafka whose work significantly affected the development of the world’s culture and whose heritage is still alive.
Slavnost u příležitosti odhalení bronzové sochy Sépie od Jaroslava Róny, Galerie Klatovy / Klenová, Janovice nad Úhlavou
Sculptures for Public Spaces and other realizations:
realizuje plastiku Mýtická loď na bratislavské nábřeží
realizuje plastiku - lampu do Liberce
realizuje plastiku David a Goliáš na "Špalíček" v Chebu
Ilustruje novelu F. Kafky - Popis jednoho zápasu a získává ocenění bibliofilie roku od grafického spolku Hollar
realizuje sochu Malý marťan, park Hadovka v Praze 6
odhalení pomníku Franze Kafky
Grand prix obce architektů
Vydává knihu kreseb a textů - Umanuté kresby (nakladatelství Torst)
Vyhrává v soutěži na pomník spisovatele Franze Kafky
Scéna ke hře F. Schillera - Úklady a láska do divadla Na zábradlí (režie J. A. Pitínský)
výstava v Domě u Kamenného zvonu v Praze
realizace sochy Sépie - zámek Klenová u Klatov
realizace sochy - Rytíř s drakem - zámek Klenová u Klatov
realizace plastiky Labyrint, Hotel Minos beach - Kréta
Výtvarné řešení filmu Amerika podle F. Kafky, nominován na Českého lva
realizace do architektury - plastika Oskar - Praha Jižní město
realizuje monumentální mozaiky Noc a den, Nové Butovice - Praha
realizuje čtyři malované vitraje Průřez zemskou kůrou, dům Oční optiky Praha