Vladislav Mirvald is an important representative of the so-called constructive tendencies.
He was born in Záluží u Mostu. In 1932 he started studying at the secondary school in Most. Already back then he demonstrated his great interest in drawing and painting, but primarily in descriptive geometry.
Following the German occupation of Sudetenland he moved to Louny at the age of 17, which is where he completed his studies and spent practically the rest of his life there. Here he met the educated collector of Czech Cubism and Surrealism, Doctor Vlastimil Juren, whose collection, in which stood out primarily the works of Emil Filla, extremely influenced Mirvald in his decision to study fine arts. In the circle of librarian Jaroslav Janík, who intermediated Avant-garde art and thought, he also met his future life-long friends, primarily Zdeněk Sýkora and Kamil Linhart.
His early work was strongly influenced by Cubism, which he devoted himself to practically during all of the 1940s. Especially important to him were its formal principles – analysis and copy of a model on a surface and the autonomy of painting composition.
At the end of World War II he and his friends applied to study the professorship of fine art, descriptive geometry and modelling at the Faculty of Education at Charles University (where these subjects were transferred to from the Technical University). Following the recommendation of his teachers, he focused his work on the study of nature and during the 1950s he and Sýkora used to ride their bikes around the Louny region and paint in open air. Mirvald used to work in small formats and he usually produced several versions of the one model. He gradually transformed landscapes as a whole and details of plants into peculiar coloured stains and got all the way to the threshold of lyrical abstraction.
After graduating from university he started teaching at the elementary school in Panenský Týnec and later in Peruc. In 1954 he started to teach descriptive geometry in Louny and he cut down on producing his own art work. Between the years 1961-1963 he started to work as an assistant at the Faculty of Education in Ústí nad Labem and he started to experiment with painting. A fundamental milestone in his work were at that time the so-called blotch drawings, which he was inspired towards by studying Brown’s movement. They were simple ink drawings on moist paper which created regular structures from the bleeding stains. The blotch paintings then turned into “frozen paintings” when Mirvald would freeze his drawings while they were still wet. This represents the beginning of the artist’s work as an experiment when he includes in the process of the origin of an artwork the chance of natural process – rational order starts to penetrate his work. As Jiří Valoch noted “the relationship between order and chance became – probably the first time in Czech art – the theme of the artwork.” (VALOCH 2009)
He later supplemented his ink drawings with letters and numbers using stencils. In addition to letters and numbers he also used Chinese symbols, titles, as well as messages. Some blotch drawings served as the base for citations or poems.
He gradually started to lean towards geometric abstraction – which was also due to the influence of Zdeněk Sýkora. In 1963 he became a member of the group Křižovatka (Crossing). It was an association of artists working “on the opposite pole of the surplus of subjectivity”, based on consistent constructional principles, proportions and numbers. In addition to Mirvald and Sýkora some of the members also included Karel Malich, Hugo Demartini, Radoslav Kratina and others.
From the following year the principle of geometry definitely starts to dominate in Mirvald’s work. Relatively soon after he started to examine the character of space and experiment with some of its paradoxes of expression on the surface of a painting. He replaced his original line of hard-edge abstraction where he divided the area of a painting primarily by diagonals, with circles and the segments thereof. He called them Cicero Circles (circles filled with concentric circles on a square base, divided on the area of a painting by diagonals) and Garmond Circles creating spatial illusions by the circle segments. The circle compositions formed a foundation for aperspective paintings, primarily cylindrical aperspectives (originating by the intersection of a system of circles with the same radius with the centres lying on one axis). It is precisely cylinders that start to appear on Mirvald’s paintings around 1965. Since 1979 this motive led to an extensive cycle of Undulate Cylinders. Undulate or waved cylinders were constructed from an initial cylinder in a way that the axis did not form a straight line but a sine curve – other cylinders then create a sort of organic structure on the painting. The area of the painting is also modelled by colour.
Another long-term cycle was Romberg’s Curves (since 1986) formed, once again, by a line of waved cylinders, the movement of which is based on the curves of the so-called Romberg’s test, which tests the ability of an organism to maintain balance. Since the 1990s he has been working with the Moiré effect (an optical illusion that is created by overlaying two slightly different regular patterns).
Although Mirvald’s compositions appear to be strictly mathematically exact, they contain irony and playfulness. The author uses in his titles Latin expressions, puts errors in his compositions and integrates various chance elements derived from nature.
Near the end of his life, Mirvald worked with geometric still lifes, in which he combined cubes, parallel and circular shapes in bright colours.
Vladislav Mirvald is often referred to as a representative of Czech Op art, he, however refused affiliation with this direction. The instrument of his artistic message is, according to Jiří Valoch, his work with the actual construction, the aesthetical effect is secondary.
Mirvald’s work, belonging to the most distinct expressions of constructivist art in the Czech Republic, is original and unique in its approach to dealing with artistic problems.
KUKLA, Miroslav. Vladislav Mirvald. vlastní náklad, nedat.
POSPISZYL, Tomáš. Vladislav Mirvald. Řevnice: Arbor vitae; Plzeň: Západočeská galerie, 2010.
ŠTEFANČÍKOVÁ, Alica. Vladislav Mirvald: 03.08.1921-19.04.2003 (kat. výst.). Louny: Galerie Benedikta Rejta, 2008.
HLAVÁČEK, Josef. Vladislav Mirvald komplementární (kat. výst.). Louny: Galerie Benedikta Rejta; Litoměřice: Galerie výtvarného umění, 2000.
NAVRÁTIL, Jiří; SEDLÁČEK, Zbyněk. Vladislav Mirvald: Psáno pro vodu a mráz (kat. výst.). Louny: Mappa, 1996.
VALOCH, Jiří. Vladislav Mirvald (kat. výst.). Karlovy Vary: Galerie umění, 1996.
VALOCH, Jiří. Vladislav Mirvald (kat. výst.). Brno: Dům umění města Brna; Praha: České muzeum výtvarných umění, 1993.
SEDLÁČEK, Zbyněk. Vladislav Mirvald: Obrazy (kat. výst.). Louny: Okresní muzeum a galerie Benedikta Rejta, 1993.
BRŮHOVÁ, Bedřiška. Ukázka geometrické abstrakce : Západočeská galerie vystavuje v Masných krámech dílo Vladislava Mirvalda. Plzeňský deník, 2011, 20, 3, s.10. ISSN 1210-5139.
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MOUCHA, Josef. Exkurze mimo mapu. Literární noviny, 2010, 21, 48, s. 12. ISSN 1210-0021.
VITVAR, Jan H. Meditace nad deskriptivou. Respekt, 2010, 21, 49, s. 60. ISSN 0862-6545.
NĚMČICKÝ, Jiří. Dílo Vladislava Mirvalda známé i neznámé. Ateliér, 2008, 21, 8, s. 4. ISSN 1210-5236.
SCHMELZOVÁ, Radoslava. Deskriptiva sopečného kopce. Art+ Antiques, 2008, 4, s. 68. ISSN 1213-8398.
CHUCHMA, Josef. Vladislav Mirvald zasluhuje lepší péči. Mladá fronta Dnes - Praha, 2008,19, 99, s. D/10. ISSN 1210-1168.
KOUKAL, Pavel. Odkaz Vladislava Mirvalda. Ústecký deník, 2003, 11, 108, s. 2. ISSN 1214-858X.
VITVAR, Jan H. Na Vladislava Mirvalda by se nemělo zapomínat : Nekrolog. Mladá fronta Dnes, 2003,14, 98, s. B/3. ISSN 1210-1168.
VALOCH, Jiří. Komplementarity díla Vladislava Mirvalda. Ateliér, 2000, 13, 24, s. 16. ISSN 1210-5236.
ERETOVÁ, Jitka. Hru barev a tvarů doplňují také krajiny a kaňkáže. Deník Litoměřicka, 2000, 8, 234, s. 9. ISSN 1214-8520.
VITVAR, Jan H. Mirvald: Umění pozoruji už jen z dálky. Mladá fronta Dnes, 2000, 11, 285, s. 20. ISSN 1210-1168.
HŮLA, Jiří. Vladislav Mirvald. Denní Telegraf, 1996, 5, 136, s. 13. ISSN 1210-8391.
KOUKAL, Pavel. Kouzelná deskriptiva Vladislava Mirvalda. Ústecký deník, 1996, 4, 180, s. 1 a 3. ISSN 1214-858X.
SEDLÁČEK, Zbyněk. Vladislav Mirvald. Ateliér, 1996, 9, 13, s. 6. ISSN 1210-5236.
KOLEČEK, Michal. Ohlédnutí za výstavou Vladislava Mirvalda. Severočeský regionální deník, 1994,4, 100, s. 8.
SEDLÁČEK, Zbyněk. Vladislav Mirvald. Ateliér, 1994, 7, 5, s. 6. ISSN 1210-5236.
KANTEK, Miroslav. Deskriptivní grafik. Dobrý večerník, 1994, 2, 27, s. 9. ISSN 1211-7935.
ONDRAČKA, Pavel. Úběžník Vladislava Mirvalda. Ateliér, 1993, 6, 15-16, s. 4. ISSN 1210-5236.
WITTLICH, Petr. Jiná geometrie. Ateliér, 1990, 4, 12, s.1. ISSN 1210-5236.