Alena Kučerová belongs among the most notable personalities on the Czech art scene since the 1960s. Her ink sketches dating from 1959-1961, which freely paraphrase the pre-Dada texts of Christian Morgenstern, attest to the authenticity of her work and also indicate her tendency toward constructive artistic expression Here she found her basic construction element – structure and point: her drawings are built from a conformation of surfaces dotted by inks, combined with a thick grid and outlined figures, which affirm their theme. In the first half of the 1960s the artist went through a period, where she researched possibilities for automation in graphic design. However increasingly clearly she turned to more sound (solid) graphic structures and to support her compositions she made use of geometric grids. In addition to šrafury she again returned to the spot, which now came about through perforating aluminium matrices. In this way she drew nearer to the experimental approaches of the Zero Group. She developed this technique in a number of outstanding graphic engravings (sheets), in which during the second half of the 1960s she came back to figuration. Thanks to its maximum simplification of features this process has formal traits of pop art. This formal reduction and stylisation, also set by technique, allowed Kučerová to invest a deep-felt intimacy into her works. She achieved this without their becoming obviously personal.
A noteworthy creative „distance“ realised in the solid form of her prints at the time was a necessary defence against their excessively private content. The results of this work overcome the danger of their becoming private, sensitive messages: the figures are stripped of creatively sensual qualities and change into a summary outline, which can be – and the artist does this – repeated. She travels through personal topics thanks to a method of hole-punching „held“ in symbols. The author abandons any direct handwriting (signature) and rewrites here private experiences, her world, into a grid of rational, matter-of-fact structure. The artist has been honoured many times at the international graphic biennale for the monumentalness of her experimental expression and its emotional intenseness.
In the second half of the 1960s she also printed colour-intensive sheets, which belong – in the Czech context – to her most colour-daring works. Since her first independent exhibit she has showed, besides prints, perforated aluminium matrices, which she rightly considers to be the cornerstone of her work. In later years she adjusted some of the matrices to fit expressive artistic frames.
Content-wise Alena Kučerová has leaned to harmonious themes, through which she wished to capture artistically her own experience of happiness. In a period of figurative creation she found these themes in the motifs of swimming. In the 1980s she associated happiness with the feeling of enjoying the landscapes of her childhood. Returns to the Labe River basin, which she then enjoyed on horseback, were for her associated with a deep relationship to the genius loci. She was able to express them in monumental graphic sheets, in which, by using hole-punching of aluminium, she forged associations with and oftentimes more or less replaced aluminium sheet modelling. In these works she comes close to the universal experience as we know it from Dutch creations from the early 17th century.
In recent years the artist has ceased to focus on graphic creations. She is working on an expansive set of hangable assemblages, in which she, similar to artists associated with arte povera, makes use of the poorest materials, found in her nearby surroundings. Instead of using punched holes, here she works with points made by driving nails. She works with branches, boards and old cardboard boxes. She has returned also to sharp colourfulness.
Hana Larvová, Alena Kučerová. Katalog výstavy, GHMP, Praha 1990.
Marie Klimešová, Alena Kučerová. Galerie Pecka, Praha 2005.
Výbor z vlastních textů je součástí monografie vydané v Galerii Pecka, Praha 2005.