Beseder Gallery

Event date: 1. 9. 2022 - 19:00

We cordially invite you to the dernissage of the collective art exhibition PLANTAS DE PUCALLPA of Otto Placht with artists of the Peruvian Amazon which will take place on Thursday 1st September 2022 at 19:00.

The exhibition was created under the auspices of the Embassy of the Republic of Peru in Prague on the occasion of 100 years of diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and Peru, and a ceremonial opening with the participation of Peruvian Ambassador Néstor Popolizio took place 13. 7. 2022.

The exhibiting artists of this collective exhibition are interconnected by Pucallpa, a city in the Peruvian Amazon.
 Dimas Paredes Armas is a legendary painter, student of Pablo Amaringo and son of local shaman Maestro Laurencio, who currently lives and works in Pucallpa. His inspiration is Amazonian plants, visions and dreams of ayahuasca.
 Clara Best lives on the shores of Lake Yarinacocha near Pucallpa. She creates unique collages of women's bodies from prints of Amazonian plants and leaves.
 Kendrick Dreyfus was born in Pucallpa and studied painting there. In his artworks, he is mainly inspired by the local women of the Shipibo tribe.
 Otto Placht, the Czech "jungle painter", is also very closely connected with Pucallpa. He went here for the first time in 1993, and since then his work has been strongly influenced by ayahuasca rituals, the artistic expression of the indigenous inhabitants of the jungle and the exotic environment of the Amazon rainforest.
 The Peruvian ambassador himself, Néstor Popolizio, who auspices the exhibition together with the embassy, ​​is a native of Pucallpa.

The city of Pucallpa and the concept of the exhibition

The sign "Pucallpa.. La puerta de la Selva" (Pucallpa.. the gate of the jungle) has long disappeared from the billboard above the road that once wound its way to this logging town in the central Peruvian Amazon from the Boqueron de Padre Abad mountain pass. We penetrate the last slopes of the Andes. The rocks of the gorge spew waterfalls, and the fierce river finally spills into the rainforest sea. For the first time, in the humid heat, the beating heart of the Mother of the Jungle sounds. The Amazon Universe opens, a sacred realm of the present past that reaches back to the beginning of ancient times. The ocean below the surface of consciousness.
The New World, the astral exotics unfold in our imaginations until the moment when we are torn from reverie by the roar of engines plundering the reality of the approaching destination. A wild civilization welcomes us on the banks of the Ucayali River. The naked beast of profit disproves harmony. A disaster in blatant form. Ghosts of human "progress."...burning body and soul of nature.
Pucallpa, a city abandoned by a spirit, paradoxically became the destination of spiritual tourism. Dozens of ceremonial centres have sprung up in its vicinity, where young people from all over the world live on islands of preserved nature. Like patients in reserves, they are treated with diets for life traumas and symptoms of consumption disease.
In recent years, the mysterious Mundo del Ayawaska (the world of ayahuasca) has successfully offered itself for sale on the world market. The old shamans say that the gringo stole from them the astral realm of spiritual science. Neo-Shamaism with all the pros and cons of today's times was born. In this process of transformation, the children, growing up in the Amazon city, without practical contact with nature, were forgotten ... what about the children, do they have a place to play?... The energy of the new generation is technology, captivating the souls of the natives, losing their relationship with nature and plants, which were once the basis of a living community in the jungle.
The art exhibition Plantas de Pucallpa presents four visual artists connected to and influenced by Pucallpa in various ways. Plants are an inspiration for them, whether in the form of rituals of altered state of consciousness and stories of healers or in their legendary beauty and in a useful, physical form such as dye or food. 

DIMAS PAREDES ARMAS
Dimas Paredes Armas was born in the town of Santa Rosa, Masisea, Ucayali to the son of a local Shaman of the Shipibó tribe, Maestro Laurencio. He currently lives in Pucallpa.
At the age of 42, he studied painting with maestro Pablo Amaringo, who founded the Usko Ayar school in Pucallpa. In his naivistic paintings, he mainly depicts Amazonian plants and jungle scenes imbued with visions of the ayahuasca vine.
Paredes Armas participated in collective exhibitions in Lima and abroad, in Finland, Singapore, Costa Rica and the Czech Republic. His works are in private collections in Italy, Norway, Germany, Austria, England, Canada, the United States, the Czech Republic and Japan.
Artist about himself:
"My father Laurencio started shamanism in the jungle when he was nine years old and became a master of ayahuasca at fourteen. He spoke fourteen different indigenous dialects. From childhood I used to have visions, I could feel what was going to happen. People would ask me questions, I answered and they told me that I was wise. Painting for me was like a dream and a lot of sacrifice.
I have six children and many friends all over the world. I like to look at Lake Ucayali every day to focus better because I like nature. I like to observe people, animals, insects, plants, clouds... everything that exists. It worries me a lot when the forest is being destroyed. We need a change to save it because it is our library and our ecological pharmacy.”

KENDRICK DREYFUS
Painter, poet, sculptor and performer Kendrick Nils Dreyfus Oversluijs (1983) is originally from Pucallpa, Amazon, where he also graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts with Professor Eduard Meza Sarabio. He currently lives in Cusco and, together with his wife Coshett, founded a cultural club and gallery, the Laggart café. In addition to exhibitions, it also hosts many concerts, lectures, screenings and performances. It is a very important cultural epicentre in the Cusco region.
In his paintings, Dreyfus combines abstraction with realistic portraits. His frequent subjects are the human body and Peruvian indigenous women. His art is a bit psychedelic, inspired by the jungle, but also by circus and theatre or simply by all the forms that the traveller’s life brings him along the way. He also devotes himself to poetry, which for him, together with fine art, is a stream expressing his own emotional freedom. He often incorporates his poems directly into paintings. He paints mostly with acrylic, oil or watercolours on cardboard or canvas.
At this art exhibition, Dreyfus presents three nudes of Peruvian women. Climaxxx and Noum are women of the Amazonian Shipibo tribe, which lives in the area around the city of Pucallpa. "Noum" is also "skin" in the Shipibo language. The artwork Valium depicts the artists’ wife, Coshett.
Since 2002, he has had over 20 solo and group exhibitions and won several art awards, such as the award of first place in the Pucallpa Regional Competition "Values ​​of Our Cultural Identity" in 2006. With a group of artists from Pucallpa, he is also part of the "Sex Nation" collective, which depicts exclusively sexual themes and with which he has held many exhibitions throughout Peru. Dreyfus has exhibited in Peru in important galleries and museums, such as the Casa de la Cultura, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cusco, etc.
In addition to Peru, he has also exhibited in European countries such as Switzerland, Spain or the Czech Republic, with which he has a very personal relationship. Among his great inspirations is the Art Nouveau painter Alfons Mucha and his collector and fan is, for example, the Czech musician Moimir Papalescu, who is also adored by Kendrick himself.

CLARA BEST
Clara Best was born in the Peruvian capital of Lima. She studied Social Communication at the National University of San Marcos (2006-2011) and Fine Arts at the National Autonomous School of Fine Arts of Peru (2010-2015). In 2015, she studied contemporary art curation and then, in 2016, museography at the Lima Art Museum.
As of 2015, she has had 4 solo and 16 collective art exhibitions in galleries and cultural centers throughout Peru. She has received numerous awards, such as the prize for the best Peruvian animation at the Ajayu International Festival in 2021.
At this art exhibition is Best presenting 4 artworks called “Nature in Feminine”, a series of collages generated with ecoprint elements of leaves and flowers from different parts of the Peruvian Amazon. In the pieces you can see silhouettes of female bodies that are rebuilt with natural elements in space. The images address the idea of voluptuousness, delicacy, beauty, fertility, among other characteristics that generate an analogy between the feminine and nature. Likewise, the works are based on the idea that people are part of nature.
The artist about herself:
“My artistic proposal is based on the search for notions about the diversity of identities in society, where issues such as culture, politics, religion, etc. are related. Through research that runs between the visual and plastic arts and other disciplines such as the performing arts, history, anthropology, psychology, among others.
Likewise, in my processes I use as a trigger the interrelationships, the experiences with others, the possibilities or impossibilities of exchange on different levels between members of different groups in society. For example, learning different types of embroidery with artists from indigenous populations or the knowledge of natural dyes from different native communities.
My proposals try to generate links in different aspects of human development, to look for links in the collective conscience, and the tangible and intangible frontiers between people. That is why I am interested in intercultural processes and art linked to new forms of education.”

OTTO PLACHT
Czech painter who lives and creates for most of the year in the Peruvian Amazon on the shores of Lake Yarinacocha near the town of Pucallpa.
Placht studied the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 1982–1988. During the 1980s, he devoted himself to expressionist painting and his work sought to map the chaos and the theory of fractals. In the years 1990–1993, he worked as an assistant in the Studio of Monumental Creation under the direction of Jiří Načeradský.
In 1993, he went to the Peruvian city of Pucallpa, and since then his work has been strongly influenced by ayahuasca rituals, the artistic expression of the indigenous people of the jungle and the exotic environment of the Amazon rainforest. He also married a woman from the Peruvian Shipibo Indian tribe, with whom he has three children.
Since the 1990s, he has been described as a painter of the jungle, the Amazon rainforest and ayahuasca. If these labels were not true, they could sometimes be thought of as clichés by reviewers and art critics.  But there is much more to Otto Placht. It is very hard to describe him in one word or to put him into one comfortable -ism box.
He is an ardent individualist who has been following his path since the days of his studies. His life story can be viewed from many angles.  The most common interpretation is the one that points out the novel-like features of his story and brings back to life the ever present romantic and cultural myth of the artist fleeing the civilized world for the arms of virgin Nature. Myth of the flight to insecurity merge with surprise, adventure and experience, be in on the level of personal reflection or in broader terms of the encounter with a different environment and culture.
Two years ago, Placht founded the "Casa SananGo" cultural centre at Lake Yarinacocha, where artist residencies and workshops, exhibitions and community activities with a positive impact on the surroundings are organized. He is thus an important representative and symbolic embodiment of cultural cooperation between the Czech Republic and Peru.