Jeff Crane

  • Adriena Šimotová

    Since the ’60s, Czech artist Adriena Šimotová has been concerned with the human body-its physical presence, vulnerability, evanescence, and decay. She has worked primarily with paper since the early ’70s. I say with paper and not on it, for Šimotová uses paper as an almost sculptural medium, emphasizing its material qualities and, above all, its capacity to serve as a kind of physical allegory of human flesh.

    This tightly organized retrospective prepared by the National Gallery in Prague and exhibited in the Veletrzní Palác leads off with, several paintings from 1970-73 in which Šimotová’s

  • Lukáš Rittstein

    Challenged by the hybrid forms that often appear under the term “installation,” sculpture—that is, discrete objects that deal with issues of mass, gravity, volume, open- vs. closedness, movement, materiality, color, structure, monumentality, etc.—has had a hard time maintaining a meaningful place for itself within contemporary art practice. If painting can at least still claim a privileged place on the wall, sculpture has had to compete with all other objects that owe their form to the third dimension, where everything that isn’t art also is. All the more surprising, then, is the great success

  • Kateřina Štenclová

    In an exhibition prepared especially for the atrium of the Veletržní Palác, the building that houses the modern art collection of the National Gallery in Prague, Kateřina Štenclová presented a series entitled “Hranice Události” (Event horizon), 1998. The title implies a conflation of space and time, and indeed each of the six works in some sense constitutes a “place/event.” The “place” may be where green meets red, for example, while the “event” might be understood as the physical effect of that collision on the eye and body of the viewer.

    The soaring atrium of the Veletržní Palác—the building

  • Stanislav Kolibal

    In the former Czechoslovakia, the work of early Modernists such as Vaclav Spala, Emil Filla, and Otto Guttfreund was anathema to the Communist regime. Modernism remained politically adversarial during the forty years of Communist rule, making de facto dissidents of its practitioners. Stanislav Kolibal began working almost immediately following the end of World War II and the Communist accession to power, thus his production evolved in the context of this historical rupture.

    Kolibal’s career was recently traced in a comprehensive retrospective at the Veletrzni Palac, the enormous Functionalist

  • Viktor Pivovarov

    The Russian artist Viktor Pivovarov has been living in Prague for the past sixteen years, and his work, like that of his colleague Ilya Kabakov, also one of the conceptual artists active in the “Alba” group in Moscow during the late ’60s and early ’70s, reflects the émigré’s bittersweet nostalgia for another place and time.

    The most pronounced aspect of Pivovarov’s production is literary, and his idiom belongs to the history of Surrealism, an essentially literary mode. His writings, compiled in a six-volume catalogue which accompanied the exhibition, are as integral to his oeuvre as his objects,

  • Ivan Kafka

    It is telling that Ivan Kafka chose to reproduce Paolo Uccello’s Battle of San Romano, ca. 1455, on the announcement for his exhibition “Rej (Whirling Rage) 1339–1995.” Uccello’s slanting, slashing swords and spears were a marvelous formal means of achieving flatness, while creating a shallow depth through the relationship between the diagonals and the picture’s framing edge—a Renaissance equivalent of Cubist space. In a gesture that recapitulates one of the primary tendencies of Modernist practice, Kafka makes explicitly literal what was implicit in the work of the Florentine Master.