ONE'S immediate impression of this exhibition of toys and sculptures
by Czech artist Trejtnar is of a jumble of bizarre objects. Trejtnar's
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carved and painted wooden figures fight for space among the
gallery-cum-shop's selection of handcrafted candlesticks, designer
clocks, and jewellery.
In terms of showing off Trejtnar's faintly disturbing creations to
their best advantage, it's not entirely successful, but as gallery
manager Susan Barnard points out, Studio One is primarily a shop, with
the exhibition space growing from the commercial operation.
Trejtnar's work is very much of the Eastern European tradition of
slightly sinister animation and puppet theatre. This finds its
best-known examples in the disturbing imagery of film-maker Jan
Svankmajer, or more popularly in such imported children's TV series,
screened in the late sixties, as Tales from Europe.
Trejtnar is patently steeped in his country's traditions of visual
theatre, having trained, served his apprenticeship, and worked
extensively in Prague's arts and drama schools, theatres, and animation
His work undoubtedly shares something of the grotesque surrealism of
Svankmajer et al. One ''toy'', a beautifully carved express train, is in
fact part train, part-pity-me-looking-human, painted in glowing
psychedelic hues: Thomas the Tank Engine on mind-altering substances.
Not, I would suggest, the ideal Christmas stocking-filler for a small
My particular favourites: The Fishing Man, with evil's shark's-head
feet, and the succinctly-titled Long Shoe Lace, a two-foot high wooden
figure with pinhead, enormous shoes, and long laces by which he
struggles to drag himself forward, seemed most successful in striking a
balance between the poles of humorous whimsy and sinister grotesquery.
Until September 30.