from the catalogue Prague, the Magical Woman
In fact, Vojanovy
sady is stilL more than anything else a fruit orchard. Therefore, it does
not make an easy choice for the staging of an art exhibition. Regardless
of its being fragmented by a profusion of trees, big and small alike,
however, it is still perhaps Prague's only space available for outdoor
displays, since it is regularly locked for the night. A tradition of collective
sculptural shows was established here many years ago. In connection with
my involvement in these projects, I occasionally came to ponder the alternative
of gathering together my sculptures that were shown successively during
the individual team exhibitions, and displaying them all at once, along
with some additional stuff at the same time investing the whole garden,
which was by then a familiar environment to me, with a personal decorative
touch. I did not want to use the space purely as a sculpture gallery;
rather I was interested in introducing an element of difference into the
visitor's stroll through the garden, by turning some of its corners unusual,
while the garden would retain its nature as such. The immediate impulse
for staging the exhibition in the year 2000 came from Ivan Fried, and
as Mr. Jindřich Pavliš, for many years chief warden of the Vojanovy sady
park, was forthcoming, I did not object, although I realized the whole
idea was a little crazy, not just as regarded the show's space design
and preparation of the individual sculptures, but also and above all in
view of the trouble it was inevitably to attract in tackling all kinds
of bureaucratic hurdles.
To be sure, this garden has paid me back for all the efforts it has cost
me. It has been a place where each time I have learned to advance one
step further in my reflections on open-air space, and on the world as
a garden. And for this, it deserves my thanks.
Thank IDU, garden!
|Red hearts just lying about,
In the grass, on a flowerbed and under the bushes.
What is your purpose here, sweet hearts of mine?
Where are these strangers, heartless without knowing,
perhaps they don't mind, yet why don't they miss something?
Beautiful sweet hearts whose glow is bright red,
what do you know of humans, of the whole world?
Of the whole universe, of this planet of ours,
where love's ever vibrant and everything joins?
Your shine is glorious, you are givers of love,
from you it spreads out, you give to everyone.
Where there is heart, love is bound to flourish,
quiet and peace will reign on this planet.
Thank you for these lovely hearts,
it's hard to believe
they are made of nothing more than wax,
they are so amazingly bright and red,
they pass on a message, who has seen them knows,
and maybe will also understand.
Entry in the visitors book,
by Petr, Olomouc
While it is impossible twice to
step into the same river, things just may be different for those
choosing to revisit the same pond, and that in fad is exactly what
is concerned here and now: namely, the ladies of the original Czech
Pond are back again, bathing.
They are not quite as wildly coloured as they were years ago: rather,
they are covered with algae and wear a coat of natural patina.
In that respect, their association
with the garden may now be more intimate. Similarly the remaining
groups, all of which were featured here in different previous exhibitions,
while entering the same space again, will be at once a little like
last time and a little different from it. They will be different
because of the wear and tear caused by time, because of certain
hardly perceptible changes undergone by the garden: and they will
be like last time, Just like the world is, most of the time.
Hearts of Stone was originally made
for the stone-paved yard at the Vladislav Hall, to be installed
there during the Prague Castle exhibition Pictures from the history
of a Personal State. The hearts look better here in the garden,
on the lawn in the neighbourhood of peonies. Their stony hardness
stands out more properly against the soft background.
Female Swimmers II was made for
the exhibition staged in backyards of Prague's Lesser Town quarter;
In 1981.The figures were styled from stuffed red tights; I later
cast them In polyester; to avoid having to keep constant watch over
their shape while they were displayed at various other venues.
Female figures strewn on the ground:
are they dead or asleep? Their imprints in red wine on sheets hung
on a clothesline can be cheerful, appearing to be full of life.
The wine has two different readings: it is either just wine, or
Our Lady's blood. I made the first cloths in 1995, for an exhibition
organized by Jiří Sozanský as a gift of Prague artists to the National
Gallery In Sarajevo. They were two overlapping figures whose contours
were traced with pink paint, the way it is done by police when recording
the positions of homicide victims. When such a cloth is hung over
the inside of a standard window, the combined shadows of the figures
form a cross. That was how a subsequent series of Cloths was displayed
in Vienna. In the absence of sunlight the shadows disappear and
the figures look fairly optimistic again. I made red-wine imprints
of women in Wetzdorf, Austria, in 1999, for the Field Women's Church.
In cloths that are exhibited in the open air, the figures grow pale
very fast, progressing up to a point when the cloth is completely
The Assumption has been reserved
in our civilization for a single lady: the Virgin Mary. It would
be a shame to think It should not concern other women as well, at
least those of them who have ended their days at the barbarous hands
of hundred-percent male warriors, while accomplishing their sacred
Figures in Windows I made my first
figures in windows in 1981, for the windows overlooking one of the
lesser Town backyards, during the show of the same name. Much later
on, I added another two for my exhibition staged in the fascinating
settling of a dilapidated stately residence in my native town of
Hradec nad Moravicí. In 1996, I cast another series of female figures
for six windows of Vienna's Niederosterreichische Landesmuseum,
for the exhibition of the 12/15 group entitled Špét, ábr doch. There,
they were for the first time set within the windows' recesses, something
I had originally had in mind in 1981.
I wished to make flattened figures
of stone during both of my visits to China, in remembrance of the
students from Tienanmen Square. I did not find suitable stone in
China, however: I then got two real opportunities to have a try
at fiat cubic figures - though in a somewhat different style, one
combining, say, Fritz Wotruba with a Surrealist approach - one of
them at Prague Castle's Lower Deer Moat, and the other at Vojanovy
sady park, using the stone I had originally picked in a quarry for
the weirs on the brook at the Lower Deer Moat.
The realization of the sculptural
landscaping of the brook has meanwhile been put off, as at times
of elevated watermark the place occasionally gets soiled with sewage.
After all, in Bohemia even the phenomenon of defenestration has
carried a tragicomic (or comico-tragic) connotation. As it happened,
there were two teams then confronting each other in Bohemia. Which
of them were the good guys? And what would have been the outcome
had the other sled prevailed? In the end, the essential thing about
the whole affair was the fact that, after those two unpopular guys
had been thrown out of the window, a certain lady of noble birth
was instrumental in extricating them from the dungheap where they
had fallen, and did not hand them over to the gentlemen who were
Intent on carrying their punishment to the bitter end.
reminiscence of my 1985 Naturalistic dwarfs was assembled from two
pieces of sandstone in 1992. After some time vandals tore down and
broke the top section; since then the sculpture has consisted of
three pieces. In 1965 it was displayed on St George's Square, alongside
Mask, as part of my Prague Castle exhibition. Both sculptures then
moved on to the Lower Deer Moat, where they have remained alive
and kicking to this day.
I am as fond of Cubistic blacks
as I am of Naturalistic Europeans. And I am also fond of megaliths,
the architecture of classical antiquity, and Gothic flying buttresses.
Swimming and flying bring the same
wonderful experience of freedom in a three-dimensional space. At
an exhibition In Paris' Parc floral, in 1972, I suspended myself
among my stuffed Female Swimmers. The second time we tried to fly
suspended In- space was at the light Lab, part of the Imprints of
the Rays of Light workshop organized during the Prague Quadriennale
'99, In which I participated jointly with Miloš Šejn, Martin Janíček,
Michel Helmerhorst as well as with women students of alternative
theatre and dance. We may jet have another try under the canopy
of trees at Vojanovy sady.
As a Chinese legend has it, Nien-shou
was a monster that devoured children. May this heap of stones stand
in lasting memory of the suffering children of Mother Earth who
have fallen victim to the bloodthirsty monsters living in our midst.
(Text on the plate attacked to this sculpture at Guilin Paradise,