Instytut Historii Sztuki <Posen> [Editor]
Artium Quaestiones — 11.2000

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PIOTR PIOTROWSKI

ternational reputation, whose art was connected in the early thirties
with the Abstraction-Creation group - the “hard core” of European con-
structivism after the fali of the Soviet avant-garde and the closing of
Bauhaus - spent all his maturę years in France. At the same time, his
work, particularly that related to constructivism, in Czechia remained
yirtually unknown. His first retrospective exhibition in his homeland
was organized only in 1946, on his 75th birthday, in the Prague Manege,
and after that the government purchased for museum collections about
forty of Kupka’s paintings.54 Right after the war the situation of Cze-
choslovakia was ąuite uniąue, sińce communists seized power as “late”
as in 1948 in result of a coup. Conseąuently, for the first three years
Czech culture could develop much morę freely than in Poland (not to
mention Hungary or Romania which formally were Hitler’s allies cap-
tured by the Red Army) or Yugoslavia, starting at the turn of the decade
a morę liberał cultural policy. That short period of freedom and the tradi-
tional interest (again) in the artistic scene of Paris determined a turn
toward the informel as soon as in the late fifties the conditions became
morę favorable to the development of the arts.55 Some interest in the con-
structivist legacy appeared only in the early sixties (in the late fifties it
was practically ąuite marginal) when Czech and Slovak neo-constructi-
vism could finally come to light.56
In 1963 several outstanding Czech artists, such as Jifi Kolar, Kareł
Malich, and Zdenek Sykora, co-founded the Kriżovatka group. A year
later Vaclav Bośtik and Stanislav Kolibal became members of the
Umelecka Besada. At that time the Kriżovatka had their first exhibition
in the famous Prague gallery of Vaclav Spala. The subseąuent stages of
the development of Czech constructivism included the founding of the
Synteza group in 1965 by Duśan Konećny, and - in 1967 - the rise of the
Club of Concretists,57 including also some Slovak neo-constructivists:
Milan Dobeś, Alojz Klimo, and Milos Urbasek.58 Kinetic art was also very
popular here, and its most important protagonists were Zdenek Peśanek,
particularly his above mentionet post-war activity, and the Dviżenije
54 H. Rousova, “Abstrakce tricatych let”, in: Dejiny ćeskeho uytuarneho umeni, 1890-
1938, op. cit. p. 301; Painting the Uniuers. Frantiśek Kupka: Pioneer in Abstraction, ed.
J. Andel, D. Kosiński, Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997,.p. 33.
°5 M. Neślehova, Posełstvi jineho wyrazu. Pojeti „informelu” v ćeskem umeni 50.
a prvni polouiny 60. let, Praha: Base/ ARTetFACT, 1997.
°6 J. Hlavaćek, “Ćesky konstruktivismus 60. let a jeho vyzneni”, in: Poesie racional-
ity. Konstruktiui tendence v ćeskem uytuarnem umeni sedesatych let, ed. J. Sekera, Praha:
Ćeske Muzeum Vytvarnych Umeni, 1993, p. 54-113.
5/ Klub konkretistu, ed. A. Pohribny, Jihlav: Oblastni galerii Vysoćiny, 1997.
jS Cf. E. Trój anova, K. Bajcurova, “V ustrety elementarnemu poriadku sveta”, in:
Sest’desiate roky u slooenskom vytvarnom umeni, ed. Z. Rusinova, Bratislava: Slovenska
narodna galeria, 1995, p. 142.
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