Jitka Svobodová: Beyond the Edge of the Visible 14. 4. 2023 – 20. 8. 2023
Curator: Helena Musilová
We are preparing the first retrospective exhibition of the legendary artist Jitka Svobodová, which will take place in one of the most attractive exhibition halls in the Czech Republic. Her life’s work could be characterised by a few terms – drawing, object, sensibility, quintessence, concentration and time. Each of these summarises a huge number of messages and possible interpretations.
In the first half of the 1970s, the artist decided to move away from painting and focus on drawing. Through this medium, in her 2D and 3D works she touched upon fundamental issues related to both creation itself and the process of knowledge.
The forthcoming exhibition for the space of the Municipal Library, as well as the printed guide to the exhibition, will summarise all the important approaches of Jitka Svobodová’s work to date and indicate the starting points of her future art. That is, the world of existing objects (tables and chairs, trees), phenomena (for example, moving curtains), including such important themes as trees depicted in various media.
At the beginning of each of Jitka Svobodová’s drawings is a concentrated observation – of an object, a phenomenon or a situation – which allows the absorption of what is essential. Both in the smallest detail and the awareness of which external characteristics of the object or phenomenon can be omitted. For this exploration, she has chosen the seemingly simplest motifs from the outside world; however, the drawings of chairs or mugs are not drawings of actual chairs or mugs, they are not transcriptions of reality. They are the essence of the object, they are the result of the union of its external and internal being, they are their irreversible appearance for they refer to their phenomenological essence. The obviousness with which the drawings of the objects are presented by the artist arouses, at the same time, both unease and tension in the viewer, who is forced to think about the seen world through a different lens, to work with their own memory and their own impression of the things themselves.
The exhibition and publication project will present a selection of Jitka Svobodová’s work, complete series as well as thematic groups of her artworks that are not in chronological order, in order to show how the artist continuously transforms a single theme.
Jitka Svobodová (* 1941) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1961–1967 Monumental Painting Studio, 1973–1976 Restoration Studio). She worked as a freelance restorer and artist, then, after the Velvet Revolution, she was appointed professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1991 and until 2012 she headed the School of Drawing studio. She has prepared a number of solo exhibitions in the Czech Republic and abroad and participated in many collective exhibitions; her works are represented in important public and private collections. She is one of the most distinctive and original woman artists on the Czech art scene.