Pasta Oner's bold pieces have been representing Czech art on the world stage for some 20 years. His pop art and graffiti influences make an irresistible combination with his comments on consumerism, popular culture, and modern life. A 2020 exhibition at the Kampa Museum, Elusive Fusion, displayed his work alongside that of Alfons Mucha, connecting the timeless elements of these two artists who were working almost 100 years apart. We spoke to Oner about bridging this gap in time through art, and where he spends his time in the creative city of Prague.
Both you and Alphonse Mucha have a visible legacy in Prague. What similarities do you see in both of your works? They are more than 100 years apart, yet Alfonso Mucha's work is so relevant. I think that elements of pop art can be traced in his work before it was known, and I see a similarity in the ability to attract the viewer's eye.
What do you hope people get from seeing an exhibition of your work together?
Aesthetic experience. Today's museums and galleries are under the pressure of conceptualism and often exhibit practically empty exhibition rooms, I try to do the opposite.
Which pieces of work are you most proud of and why?
I do not have any. Behind every piece of work, there is a story that deserves attention.
Can you share a little of your process, do you have a plan or is your work spontaneous?
I work based on exact pattern, which I process electronically. I create some backgrounds spontaneously for my work.
Does street art mean the same things to you now as it did when you started?
I observe street art very marginally; the current young generation has the same energy as we had 25 or even more years ago.
What’s the best thing about the art scene in Prague?
Has art in Prague changed since you started?
Yes, dramatically. Many new galleries have opened, but there is still a lack of polish and professionalism, which is more established in the West. We are still in the process of learning.
What do outsiders get wrong about Prague?
Prague is not only a historical district with monuments, but newly developing localities that have undergone partial gentrification, such as Karlin, Vinohrady, Letna, or Holesovice. There you can find quite interesting places associated with street gastronomy, art, and culture in general.
What are you working on next?
My solo exhibition in 2021 in Prague. It will be my first solo exhibition in my city for after 3 and a half years.
Finally, where would you go in Prague to:
People watch: Pražské náplavky (walking and drinking by the river, galleries, music, etc.)
Eat something unforgettable: Kuchyň (amazing view), U Matěje, Kantýna, Čestr, La Gare, The Real Meat Society (bio butchers and bistro), Estrella (best vegetarian food), Café Savoy, Cukrář Skála, Cukrárna Myšák
See nature: Divoká Šárka, Obora Hvězda
See something unusual: DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, DSC Gallery, Zdeněk