Roman Trabura was born in Vsetín but has lived in Prague since he was 18 (since 1978). As a small town, Vsetín was too constricted for his underground orientation at that time. During the 1980s he first studied privately and took drawing and painting courses as well as private lessons on art history. And he began to participate in the now-famous group exhibitions of the emerging generation (e.g. Confrontation I and Confrontation II). Then in the 1990s he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.
While the generation ending in the 1990s burst on to the art scene with their objects, installations, conceptual work and socio-political themes, Trabura based his work on his own ideas. He paints his internal visions. He absorbs various types of stimuli and are stacked in his subconscious and then suddenly pour out. It’s not as if Trabura refuses to react to the world that he lives in. But his experience is transformed into a surreal setting. And so Trabura’s paintings are created on the border of reality and fiction - as the artist himself says - "surfing in his own psychological jungle".
Trabura’s paintings are often narrative – as if were watching a part of an unreal event. Sometimes the paintings abound with gaudy colours, at other times the colours are immersed in darkness. Some of the paintings are painted expressively in an abstract style in which we can only guess at the forms and events, at other times that are painted "temperately”, with detailed forms. Most of the works have a farcical element and some can even be seen as being charged with morbidly black humour. Sarcastic hyperbole is evident here as well. Several thematic groups dominate here – one represents an almost an overly romantic-tinted fictive landscape: this most frequently involves a forest scene. The dark forest vegetation or vertical tree trunks dominate in the foreground. We see in the distance the horizon, over which the sky is illuminated with a magic light. Upon closer view we see that figures or animals are concealed in the dark thicket (Schwarzwald, 2002, Purple Forest, 2002). Some of the landscapes have exotic elements – in making them the artist was inspired by his trip to Japan. These also include paintings of the sea in which there appear mysterious boats and strange swimmers (Green Sea, 2004).
Another thematic circle consists of paintings of imaginary cities in the form of darkened vedutas that evoke a feeling of apocalyptic sci-fi vision of the end of the world, even though the artist says he was attempting to capture a nostalgic mood and expression (Main Station, 2011). “Landscape” is so far the main Trabura theme. But other motifs appear as well, for instance the undersea world. Several of his paintings present a collection of various fish. Fish have a unique grotesque character. Their “faces” bring to mind those of human beings. And they act that way too: some are aggressive, some calm and passive, others are obsequious (Fish, 2009, Orange Fish, 2010). Trabura was inspired here by a story by Anton Chekhov, in which the writer presented in the form of a myth a parable on human traits and social relations within society. And finally there is outer space, a sphere attracting man’s attention since time immemorial. Trabura’s outer space is also anthropomorphised: celestial bodies are provided with eyes, a nose and mouth and "make expressions“ (Apophis Passes By the Earth, 2005).
Trabura also created paintings in a comics-like style. An area is created within the context of his work in which the artist addresses in a grotesquely sarcastic manner current political events – in which he touches on dramatic events of violence, aggression, terrorist attacks. (Al-Qaeda, 2004, Warum, 2008).
Roman Trabura’s work is very diverse. The artist easily and quickly changes styles and themes. Sometimes he is dynamic and brutal, at other times poetic and melancholic. Sometimes he’s a commentator on the unsettling questions of our times, at other times he sets out on the path of a storyteller. He himself says that he’s not interested in repeating the same old, and honing and developing that which has already been found. Trabura is in his own way a rebel and adventurer for whom the search for newer and newer worlds is a challenge.
Art in Architecture and Public Spaces:
1995 Oltářní malba, kostel v Líbeznici u Prahy
1997 Vizuální design komplexu K.H.B.Kagoshima, Japonsko
2011 Smalt art, Ostrava
2007 Jantarová stezka, Hradec nad Moravicí
1999 Felix Jenewein symposium, Kutná Hora
Šiklová, Lucie: Made in China Romana Trabury, A2 kulturní týdeník, 14/ 2006, s. 8