You have already been in contact with Galeria Kooperativy before. Do you perceive this exhibition space differently compared to others?
A very beautiful question. You know, when I brought the first few things, I was taken aback. Even though I was familiar with the area, I got kind of apprehensive. In other galleries, I immediately knew where to place the sculptures. But here I wasn’t sure. I began to place them and the idea slowly came, the exhibition began to take shape. My friend, the sculptor Martin Čermák, helped me, and the painter Ivan Exner made corrections. What is extremely interesting about this gallery is that you do not have an image of the whole. The gallery gradually opens and opens for you. But I am very satisfied. From a gallery perspective, this is a generously conceived exhibition. The catalog for it is beautiful, Galerie Kooperativa has its genius loci.
How was the selection of works?
I exhibit around 80 works in the gallery, if we also count the smaller ones in the showcase. I tried to arrange the sculptures in chronological order, but it was impossible to keep it completely. Larger and smaller works alternate in the space. There is also a section of portraits of people I like and are personally close to me. There was also the question of what to put on the walls, what to complement the sculptures. And I thought of showing my study drawings, simple sketches on paper, in a simplified, stylized form. You will learn from them how a sculpture is born, how its lines, mass, and necessary proportions are solved. I thought it was interesting to invite the viewer into this creating cauldron. The drawings are uncombed, they were created in the creative process, but they are all the more interesting.
Did you feel like a sculptor from a young age?
I graduated from the ceramic school in Bechyn, but I started sculpting with wood because it was accessible. Wood has its own specifics, for example you cannot cut spruce. Harder wood is used, the softest of which is linden. It is like butter, easy to cut. Walnut, pear, elm, from which I made a relief, are also great. The wooden sculpture speaks for itself about its expression. A tree has a root and a crown, therefore a wooden sculpture can withstand space, views, holes, various structures. Wood gives enormous possibilities in expression. I like the Last Meters statue which is 1.20 meters tall. Others also liked her and opened up certain possibilities for me as a sculptor.
When did you start working with stone?
When I came to the Academy of Fine Arts, wood did not play such a role. Of course, the stone was essential. I remember that during the holidays I spent two months carving a five-meter statue of Professor Beard in sandstone. Sandstone is a typical Czech stone, it has a certain chipping character, it is softer, it is very dusty. It is used for large sculptures, large orders. You know, I’m a so-called sculptural sculptor. I did not give up so-called modelling, but the hardness of the material, stone, has always inspired and attracted me.
Stone is cold, static and hard. How will it come to life thanks to the sculptor?
Look at Michelangelo’s sculptures and you will notice this. Anatomy is essentially denied there, but still the sculpture feels alive. This is a big lesson for us, you will find that sculpture needs to play out matter into space. Because when you want to express movement, you cannot depict a person as he really is. You have to use exaggeration, feel the drama, overdo it. Otherwise you won’t get movement there.
Which sculptures are close to you?
I appreciate the first ones, sure. There I experienced great emotions, which then immediately fell down. But the artist still experiences that, only the curve softens. You know what’s interesting, and I’ve noticed it with great artists? The charge of painters or sculptors is strongest around the age of 35, then creative compromises sometimes occur, but a new upsurge comes after the age of sixty, when a person returns to the work of youth.
Sculptures are not paintings. They require space, specific orders…
Yes, a sculpture, that is a large format and also a fight to assert it, not to back down from one’s intention. I like antique motifs, for example the representation of a person’s desire to soar and reach where he cannot. This is the work of Ikarus. Or Prometheus, who stole fire from people. The statue of Niké, which is six meters high and has a wingspan of three meters, weighs 300 kg and is made of five rough blocks, also has its own symbolism. I always start working with a more expressive form and then simplify the shapes. I also do more lyrical things, for example mothers with children, I played a lot of sports in my youth, hence the sports theme.
What kind of stone can be worked with in the Czech Republic?
Hořice stone is often used, but the best available in Prague is slivenec, from which I made more intimate sculptures. There are veins in the Slivenec stone, a certain roughness, and it suits him.
But my first sculpture was in Carrara marble, it was called Woman – Shell. But I wasn’t happy and I didn’t know why. And then I went to Italy and it hit me. Carrara marble needs to be perfectly polished, he asks for it himself. I originally played with its structure, but it was a mistake. He needs to be tightened, polished, then he will show himself in beauty and authenticity. It is his inner quality that has to come out.
- Born 1944.
- He is a Czech sculptor who graduated from the Secondary Ceramic School in Bechyn, then continued at the Academy of Fine Arts.
- He has experience from many international sculpture symposia. He organized dozens of solo exhibitions, his works are represented in public and private collections.
- Now you can admire and get to know his sculptural creations at the exhibition, which is being organized by Galerie Kooperativy in Prague from 2 March to 16 July 2023 to mark his approaching life anniversary.
Who did you portray and why did you choose these people?
I started modeling my little son and niece first. After that I left portraits, later returned to them. I like to model people with whom I have an emotional connection. For example, a neighbor, the botanist Václav Větvička, who used to walk past us every day. I also appreciate the portrait of Professor Dr. Richard Rokyta, he is a great friend of mine. Or Karel Krylo, whom I knew from school in Bechyně and we were friends. There was a creative group there, Miki Ryvola also studied there, we were all involved in music in addition to clay, I had my own guitar group, those were beautiful times.
Are you planning another exhibition?
Years go by, everything goes slower, sculpting is demanding. I would like to do some more work. I am planning an exhibition in the museum in Česká Lípa and next year a smaller exhibition in Prague in Modřany, where I am born. I want to present about 12 sculptures.
Leave a Reply