After the successful Anatomia Metamorphosis exhibition of 2011, which presented the works of two world-renowned Czech practitioners of art brut – Luboš Plný and Anna Zemánková – together with the drawings of the newly discovered author František Dymáček, the civic association ABCD in collaboration with MuMo has come up with another project in the field of non-professional art.
Two parallel exhibitions, which will receive their Prague premieres in MuMo, will acquaint the visitor with two opposing poles of Czech spontaneous art:
The collection of the former director of the National Heritage Institute in Olomouc and long-time dramaturg and director of the local Music Theatre Pavel Konečný includes items of folk and naive art as well as works categorised as art brut – art in its original state.
His collection straddles a range from the raw carvings of folk sculptors, naive paintings of rural idylls, portraits, drawings of architecture and machines, and including the fanciful landscape scenery and hallucinatory flowers by spiritist mediums. Pavel Konečný likens his collection to a garden, which has quite simply become overgrown with pretty flowers and is infused with scents of wood and resin, but also conceals its secret nooks and crannies and mouldering fruit. He assembled it using the same principles by which the works themselves came into being – that is with the foresight and psyche of a person who has a sense of natural beauty, straightforwardness of artistic expression and its mystique. It does not attempt to cover any given phenomenon exhaustively but is rather an acquisition of works which have recently come into fashion. It concentrates on the works of authors who address matters internally. The items represented in the collection are intimate souvenirs, a materialisation of his recollections of encounters with their creators, people who live on the fringes of society, in broken-down villages or in isolation brought about by old age or mental illness.
Assuming the common denominator for the authors represented in Pavel Konečný‘s collection is the inviolability of the influence of “high culture“, Karel Havlíček on the other hand trained as a lawyer, was an intellectual with a wide cultural overview, however he lacked any classical creative schooling. His whimsical quasi-automatic drawings, which he worked on obsessively every day, are distinctive metaphors of political terror as well as his difficult personal life. They are herbal bizarrenesses, illustrations for a kind of natural history of ghosts: vampires, lemur succubae, incubi, astral spirits, disturbing mandrakes, dubious hybrids or crossbreeds, enigmatic genders and creatures of sorcery, the sort of monsters and imps that take on other forms in folk ballads, in books of dreams and infernal psalters. Havlíček‘s phantasmagorical monsters do not share the same range of social characteristics as the creations of spiritist draughtsmen, but have more in common with art nouveau, symbolism and maybe even surrealistic art, and they were much admired by Karel Teige who classified them as art brut. The exhibition at MuMo aims to subject this classification to a critical perspective and show Havlíček‘s oeuvre as singular and unique feature in the history of Czech art.
The authors of the conception of the exhibition are Terezie Zemánková, Ph. D. and Doc. MgA. Ivana Brádková who have organised a number of art brut exhibitions on behalf of ABCD – the last of which being the retrospective of the famed artist Adolf Wölfli in the Stone Bell House Gallery (2012).
The author of the exhibition scenography is Doc. MgA. Ivana Brádková.
A catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition of the Pavel Konečný collection, including profiles of the artists and a foreword by Terezie Zemánková. The special text on the exhibition was written by the designer František Skála.
A catalogue will be published in conjunction with the Karel Havlíček exhibition containing the original text of Karel Teige dating from 1949, a biographical study by the historian Petr Hlaváček and with a foreword by Terezie Zemánková.