Life in Třinec meant double isolation for Wojnar (born 1944 in Vendryně) from the possibility of contact with the Czech or global scene. His linkup with the Prague and Brno creative life took place thanks mainly to visitors of Jiří Valoch. Valoch called Jan Wojnar the “most radical conceptualist in the Czech Republic”, and placed his works within the wider contact of Czech art. On the other hand Wojnar’s life of seclusion allowed him to dwell without interruption on original solutions to key problems in fine art in the second half of the 20th century (e.g. experimental poetry, minimal and conceptual art), thus enabling his unusually remarkable work to come into being.
Wojnar’s oeuvre is incredibly extensive. However, certain constants reappear, including sculptures – boxes filled withs and moving in a certain structure – Hourglass Poems, working with the active (physical) inspection by the viewer, and above all Grid Poems. This last represents an effort to connect structures or systems corresponding on the basis of a certain code. The title itself indicates that the author has arrived at an investigation of the relationship between text and image, between the relationship of two independent sequences which are created through the participation of the viewer. The viewer as an active metric is given consideration in all of Wojnar’s works. In other areas of his work he systematically examined the properties of photography (in collages, automatic photography, “autophotograms”, etc.), as well as the properties of photosensitive paper, and above all the creation of an image as such.
JAN WOJNAR, Four views where to and where from while climbing, 1987; Autofotogram. Photo: archive of the artist.