Exhibition title My Brilliant Friend (Geniální přítelkyně) quotes the novel tetralogy by Elena Ferrante, that is a spectacular portrayal of the narrator´s friend. The exhibition follows the phenomenon of friend portrait by a couple of contemporary artists. It opens questions of identity, depiction and development of this traditional painting concept in the present era of selfies. Portrait or self-portrait relates to some obsession, which is repeatedly used by authors capturing faces of their family and friends or their own. In general, the human psyche is more sensitive to the reception of faces, and their depiction is ´faithfully´ engaging and thrilling.
Naturally, the portrait is also a painting genre, being part of painting lessons. It still has the role of remembrance of a particular person in the form of permanent medium, supposedly lasting more than their life, and thus becoming a message of their presence. The medium of painting invites to its personification more than any other medium. The painting process is often perceived by the author as a course of events when the painting ´leads´ the author and ´asks for´ some interventions. The painting becomes an agent, gifted with own will or intelligence. In case of a portrait, its identification with the depicted person is even more evident. The motif of ´living portrait´ was unforgettably depicted by Oscar Wilde in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Paintings are also often identified with their authors and it is said, that the painter always incorporates own portrait into a portrait of the other person. As well as, the writer Ferrante, who keeps her/his name and identity secret, in her/his tetralogy, drew in addition to her/his friend´s also her/his own (fictitious) fate, as ´a self-portrait´ in the life of a writer. Also some of the authors from the exhibition My Brilliant Friend relate more or less to their own identity.
The grand theme of portrait refers to the works by more authors, however, Galerie U Dobrého pastýře is rather intimate space. But the necessary narrowing of the portrait genre is incidental – allowing the compact or intensive tone of the exhibition, which provides viewers with a brief insight into contemporary forms of traditional painting motif