"The most common themes in my work include vulnerability, infantility, destruction and the limitations of communication. I try to work as authentically as possible with what I want to communicate, with certain emotions and states of mind. I strive for personal communication. I employ means that pose the least resistance to me – mainly drawings or paintings (my work is often derived from comics or illustrations in children's books). Auto-destruction and death, as a theme usually put off and unresolved, .... I feel it's important to somehow work with these things."
Josef Bolf: Scratch Paintings
Bolf's most recent work was created using a technique that many of us know from art class: a wax crayon colored background painted over in ink onto which the picture is then scratched. With this technique, Bolf has very elegantly succeeded in circumventing the problematic relationship between painting and drawing. He has developed a mixed media that is as close to painting as it is to drawing.
Bolf's literally lacerated paintings radiate with poignant beauty. The heroes, difficult to define, are in these paintings as familiar stuffed animal characters with festering eyes who, in their horror of the world, are unable to quit the confines of their rooms or who mindlessly wander through the housing estates and hypermarkets as if they missed their last chance to commit suicide and are left with no other option than to carry on under the burden of unbearable suffering, the cause of which we can only imagine. It would be a mistake however to project the artist alone into the figure of these cowering wounded animals. The paintings of Josef Bolf are not an exhibitionist type of art therapy, whose sincerity and despair are meant to evoke compassion. His paintings much more reflect the anguish of our contemporary culture, which is why it is so easy to identify with the scenes of depression. Chaos does not represent the condition of the artist here, but of society as a whole.
In this new series of work, Bolf accurately observes details from the world around him: an absurd sidewalk graveyard, the front end of an approaching metro, the atmosphere of an empty supermarket or a desolate evening surfing the internet, not only act as universal symbols of big city disaffection, but very closely document contemporary life.
Tomas Pospiszyl, an excerpt from the article "A little one in danger: the provocative beauty of vulnerability", A2 kulturni tydenik, 27/200