Women in the Sun. Three Women Sculptors at Prague Castle

Alina Szapocznikow Three different stories, three different artistic expressions. Confronted with each other, they reveal common themes and motivations. Vera Janouskova, Eva Kmentova, Alina Szapocznikow present their exhibition. They all studied under Josef Wagner at Prague’s UMPRUM immediately after the war, and although their work each followed its own path, their art and their relationship to the world and the present day show clear parallels and correlations. Their distinctiveness, which grew out of the female experience, is expressed in three different ways of understanding the physical nature of this experience.

Informed by the cubist composition of forms, they in particular emulated the voluminous figures of Otto Gutfreund. Under the unmistakable influence of abstraction and informel, however, they moved away from statues and classic figures towards objects, only to return in a radical manner to the figure, now conceived as an object. They created assemblages, experimented with materials and invented new ways of using them.

In the 1960s, Szapocznikow became involved in the New Realism in Paris, while Janouskova and Kmentová helped to establish the New Figuration. They developed themes related to the figure, the body, imprints, traces, identity, birth and decline, ephemerality and permanence. Kmentová’s and Szapocznikow’s work in particular share a certain kinship, even though they are in some ways antithetical to each other. Both artists found a source of ideas and an important expressive tool in the human body, the parts of the body, the torso and imprints of the body, in particular their own bodies. The works of Szapocznikow and Janoušková, meanwhile, share a common use of found materials and mixed media, although Janoušková expresses her relationship to physicality with a greater level of abstraction.

Event: 31.07.2008 – 31.10.2008
Venue: Royal Summer Palace