Otto Placht is a member of the significant generation, which brought attention to itself while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague during the 1980s. He participated in the first four exhibitions from the series of unofficial shows called Confrontation. At that time he belonged to the supporters of neo-expressive tendencies. For young artists, elemental expression represented one of the possibilities of independent creative expression as a protest against established art. Otto Placht preferred figural expression from which he soon deflected and started to look for a new way of expression.
After the year 1989 he stopped painting for a while because he considered the possibilities of painting exhausted at that time. He was still interested in the motive of a figure, however, which he treated in a different way and with different resources. He liked the idea of creating an artificial person – Golem. He made a kinetic object from the remains of used things, in which he tried to bring together the physical movement of the human body with cosmological principles. He used the knowledge of old anatomic atlases, as well as the newest scientific findings, he was inspired by the theory of chaos, which he perceived as an interconnection of rational science and artistic imagination, mathematics and fine art. It projected into his interpretation of a figure, which transformed, through gradual abstraction, to a geometric diagram resembling an artificially created construction of the human body. On the topic of chaos, he created an extensive cycle of art work, which he successfully introduced in 1992 at an exhibition with the same title in the Gallery U Řečických.
There was a turning point following the exhibition in Miami in 1993, where he was introduced to the work and figure of the Peruvian shaman and painter Pablo Amaringo. He was impressed by Amaringo’s visions, made up of a number of surreal scenes, in which he saw an interconnection of mythology, astral sphere, as well as detailed knowledge of the ecosystem of a rainforest. Following this meeting, Otto Placht decided to go to Peru. Living in this environment fundamentally changed his view of the world and gave him a new direction for his work. Great inspiration for him was the Peruvian original culture, specifically the art of the Shipibo tribe, South American jungle and Ayahusca. The jungle alone had a magical influence on him, which was even enhanced by his use of the psychedelic drugs traditionally used by local shamans. His personal experience with Ayahuasca mediated stimulations incomparable with his existing experiences. It provided intensive visual and spiritual experiences and evoked a change in his way of perceiving and depicting. His painting gained a powerful emotional charge, his imagination was released, spectrum of colours was expanded and colour became an important carrier of emotions. The narrative part of his work gained prominence, the story developed associatively and spontaneously. His composition consists of many fragments, which are layered and intermeshed. Several levels of perception are interconnected in one painting making it possible to completely grasp the theme. This peculiar way of depiction reflects the exterior form of reality, it provides entry under the surface of the visible part and makes it possible to reach all the way to its spiritual essence. The key theme is represented by the jungle, which the painter perceives as a symbol – “permanent transformation – impermanence, life cycle, birth as well as extinction, mutation as an adaption to survival.” He perceives his own paintings in a similar way which are “constantly overlapping, transforming in time, and reflecting the experience of living and being”.
After the year 1993 he realized a number of original projects, including painting cycles, wall as well as spatial installations, drawings, sketches and studies testifying great invention and wide expressional span. Multicoloured magical visions keep alternating (e.g. Ayahuasca Vision, Azure Vision, Purgatory, Ritual Elise, Mirroring, Gates to Perception, Psychotropy, Tunnel, Alternatura), paintings modest in colour ( bark paintings – Rainforest, Spheres, Barks, installations – Cosmodivision, Zásvětí), concentrated ornamental artwork (e.g. Tinajas, Universo Shipibo), spontaneous dynamic calligraphies (e.g. Calligraphy of the Jungle), apparitional views of city life (e.g. Cruzados, Motokaristas, Pucallpa), mystic paintings of landscape (e.g. Mystic Landscape), but also realistic recordings of landscape and daily motives (sketches, studies, travel journals, sketch pads). Production from this period makes up a fundamental part of Placht’s work, it is an authentic and original reflection of his experiences from Peruvian reality, which he continues to go back to even during his life in Prague.
Otto Placht. Text Otto Placht, Ostrava 2015.
Otto Placht: El Libro Mágico. Texty Otto Placht, Václav Dejčmar, Gato, Mnislav Zelený – Atapa, Vanda Skálová, Apríl Dolkar, Otto Flores Sáenz, Jan Pravda, Praha 2014.
Metaformy pralesa. Text Otto Placht, Praha 2014.
Otto Placht: Tkvění. Text Otto Placht, Praha 2007.
Otto Placht. Texty Jan Placht, Otto Placht, Simona Vladíková, Klatovy 2001.
Otto Placht: Praga – Pucallpa. Text Russell Georgie, Pucallpa 1999.
Otto Placht: Ino Joni. Text Otto Placht, Praha 1997.
Otto Placht. Texty Lenka Lindaurová, Otto Placht, Praha 1997.
Otto Placht: Obrazy. Text Ivo Janoušek, Praha 1986.