RŮžena - Story of the Painter Růžena Zátková
Imperial Stables of the Prague Castle
7 APRIL - 31 JULY 2011
Organized by Arbor vitae societas.
The exhibition project dedicated to an unfairly neglected Czech artist, The exhibition project dedicated to an unfairly neglected Czech artist, Růžena Zátková (1885—1923), is based on research mapping white spots in Czech art history. This painter, who spent a large part of her life abroad (Munich, Paris and subsequently Rome where she was married and lived), left a varied collection of art works mostly inspired by Italian Futurism and its famous representatives. As a student of Antonín Slavíček, influenced by Munich symbolism and avant-garde Paris, she spontaneously adopted Futurism and went to study with Giacomo Balla, later she closely co-operated with F. T. Marinetti and was a friend of Natalie Gončarova and Michail Larionov as well as Igor Stravinsky. She became close to the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrovič. Marinetti supported her not only in Italy but in Prague as well; he even concluded his second lecture saying: “In the name of Růžena Zátková, long live Futurism!” However, Zátková’s return to the Czech public through an exhibition planned for 1923 never happened. The artist died from tuberculosis in the autumn that year.
Růžena Zátková’s synthetic work includes a wide range of styles – collages, kinetic assemblages and multi-material sculptures as well as illustrations inspired by Persian miniatures, abstract paintings, realistic drawings and primitivist or purely decorative paintings. The life story of the painter, a sort of Czech Alma Mahler, is similarly rich and is an attractive subject in itself. Both the exhibition and the publication raise a number of more general questions dealing with different forms of modernity, the role of experiment, the importance of tradition and the status of a woman-artist. Zátková was one of the few Czech artists who managed to leave home and pursue a career abroad, even though this meant losing touch with the local scene to which she has not made a comeback to date. The planned exhibition is intended to make up for the recognition she is owed.
“Why is my female fate so strange, constantly outside of any order of life? Both
married and single, a mother through a miracle, yet soon separated from my daughter, alone with my art that is hardly art at all, with my love bound to live far away from me. Now I understand: my star orders me to stay out of any centre and my extreme kindness, or weakness, makes me isolated. In the absence of a refuge out there I have created my own inside me. It is well founded: I have built it on proper foundations of my childish belief, cementing it with my own blood. A little garden outside, where a few real flowers have grown, has been watered with my tears. I want to keep building, to build incessantly, to grow ever stronger and to deserve life.”
The exhibition curator and author of the monograph:
The exhibition architecture:
Lukáš Velíšek, Aleš Architectural Studio
Graphic design of the exhibition and of the monograph:
Web page of the exhibition on Artmap
basic: 130 CZK
reduced: 80 CZK
family: 260 CZK
registered: 10 CZK
Guided tours with the curator Alena Pomajzlova: