T E X T S . . .

Texts 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!

Kurt Gebauer


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.

Hearts of Wax, 1997-1999

Entry in the visitors book,
by Petr, Olomouc

Czech Pond, 1988

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.

Herts of Stone, 1995

Female Swimmers II, 1981

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 white.

Cloths (Washday), 1998-1999

The Assumption, 1996

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 missions.

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.

Figures in Windows I, II, III, 1981, 1996, 1997

Defenestre II, 2000

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.

This monumentalist-obelisk-shaped-natural-rock 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.

Pyramidal Dwarf, 1992

Mask, 1992

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.

Flying - performance at the Prague Quadriennale '99

Monster in Heaven, 1999

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, China)