Jan Harant, Painter
The vibrant colours of Jan’s art stand for happiness, beauty and joy. But as Jan knows, to put up with the difficulties of life in order to see the world in the bright way takes a long journey. Jan spent a year at a day hospital, where he underwent a psychiatric treatment. His depression was caused by a lack of communication in his family as well as by a senseless job where his boss was bullying him. Alongside professional help, it was Jan’s art which helped him to fully recover.
Right at the beginning of the therapy Jan was advised to start a diary, which would help him to understand his thoughts and emotions. By recording them he could look at them repeatedly and evaluate them. Jan found out that through drawing and painting he could also express himself very precisely.
In He Walked Away Jan depicts a warehouse - the place where his depression had started. The armchair represents Jan as the warehouseman. Surrounded by metal structures stacked with household goods, the warehouseman is taken aback by the falseness of the consumer process. The shiny world of the goods as they are advertised in catalogues, on the left, contradicts sharply with the dull world in the warehouse, on the right. The warehouse man is feeling hopeless; as if he was another household object predestined to a short life and premature disposal. The whole situation is strengthened by the unsympathetic behavior of the malicious boss.
Left: sketch of the hospital yard Right: Armchairs in Duality, 2015, coloured pencil on paper
Another artwork, a drawing called Armchairs in Duality, documents one of Jan’s sessions at the hospital. The scene is much a happier one. The right side is occupied by the emphatic personality of the therapist, and on the left there are Jan’s new, positive thoughts, rendered in purple and yellow, gently penetrating the cold blue.
Trapped in a Shell is a self-portrait of Jan in armor as he talks to the therapist. The armor represents a barrier that used to be present between Jan and members of his family during conversations. "When we speak to someone, it does not necessary mean that our message will make it to the person, and vice versa. As a result, the interpersonal exchange can become really difficult, which can lead to alienation of both sides," Jan explains. He worked hard on re-establishing the dialogue with his family and eventually managed to break the hard steel of the armor.
During the therapy, Jan started to think about life in a completely different and profound way. See for yourself - here are some of Jan’s own quotes:
“Every event that happens in our life has a meaning, and every failure is a lesson from which we can learn. I have understood that defeats - personal, professional or intellectual – are necessary for personal development. They bring strength to the psyche, among other important and useful things. We should not regret the past, but welcome it because it can teach us so much.”
“Finding the balance in our lives is the best what we can do for the world.”
“The journey is the goal.”
“I had to go back where it had started, because that was where I left my heart.”
Work in progress: painting in gardens of the day hospital