Thursday, July 14, 2011

From nowhere

An urge to paint, draw, express the inner soul, automatism... Art Brut or Raw Art has no definition. It encompasses artists without a formal education. The term, coined by Jean Dubuffet, applies to three of them presently featured at the Muzeum Montanelli or MuMo in Prague with the exhibition ART BRUT: ANATOMIA METAMORPHOSIS.

With her drawings, pastels and collages, Anna Zemankova (1908-1986) creates a vegetal and animal world, populated by sea anemones, giant worms, birds, monster-fishes, snakes, strange fruits and spiderwebs. The work is a painstaking accumulation of small ink motives, like a lace, drawn with an obsessional likeness till they delineate a whole subject from afar. Colors are added to these and create a lyrical world inhabited by dream-like creatures.
Her work is purely automatic and driven by her subconscious.

Lubos Plny (1961), another self-taught Czech artist, is displayed along Zemankova's works. His subject is the human body which he describes through an orgy of drawings with acrylic on paper. The artist, who worked for a time as an assistant in a morgue, represents detailed descriptions of organs like he had been visiting them and tells the story of trips to his entrails with his drawings in red colors, like a Piranesi of the human body.

The third artist, Frantisek Dymacek (1929-2003), whose works have been recognized recently, accumulates colored bodies, body parts, demons in endless black labyrinths, drawn with felt-tip and ballpoint pens. Oniric, dynamic, his drawings give us a rendition of a kaleidoscopic view of his world.

The three artists with their banal stories could be your neighbours. The first, a house wife, dedicated to her three children, who lost her status when they became adults, let her inner energy flow. The second transfers his nightmarish dreams and Dymacek represents the monsters he is inhabited with.
Could it be you, or me?
Their creative energy is almost frightening. The title of the exhibition sums up the works of these three artists, preoccupied by their bodies and translating their anxieties on paper.

The New Museum chose Zemankova to represent the Czech artists during Communism and post-Communism for the current exhibition "Ostalgia" (with Jiri Kovanda). I am questioning this choice. The press release states " the exhibition traces a psychological landscape in which individuals and entire societies must negotiate new relationships to history, geography and ideology". Zemankova's works are timeless and represent her personal history.

no photographs were allowed
follow the links to view works from the artists

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