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Isabela Grosseová

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About artist

Gained significant attention in 2001 with her collection of Obytné obrazy - Habitable Images. One could say that this project foreshadows two important aspects of her work: communicativeness (in this case her accommodating approach to viewers, whom the images beckon to take advantage of their function and a sense of cross-specialisation that is very specific to the artist.

In the case of Obytné obrazy we speak of images that reflect the exchange between the field of creative art and design, and architecture as well. Ms. Grosseova’s work with the concept of „image“ as a hybrid form on the boundary between the traditional understanding of the hung picture, installation and object, all of which happen via interaction with the viewer – whose settling in (domestification) make them a part of the work. Obytné obrazy remain autonomous objects – analogical. The later project Obytné sochy (2003) brings things a step forward: in contrast to Obytné obrazy it no longer holds to an aesthetic typical for architecture and design. Rather the project recycles waste found on the streets of New York. By mixing various common objects, part of a fan for example, the rollers on an office chair, or a satellite antenna, it reflects the social reality of the city as a melting pot.

The local specificness and method of social inquiry in a concrete cultural-historical context begin to be found increasingly in more detail in Isabela Grosseova’s works. In her further projects she thought them out in the scope of concrete spaces. One example is the Autumn Plot project, which includes an ironically-conceived Chinese salon at the Italian castle, Racconigi, as part of the group exhibit, Gemine Muse. It puts a contrast on the historic, ideal image of China as a cultural superpower and its contemporary reality represented by the mass production of mass goods.


She chooses a different approach to interior work in the project, Zašlá sláva rozmanitosti (2004) – Faded Glory of Diversity, which was presented as part of the exhibit Finalists in the Brno Township’s Art House (Dům umění). Grosseova used her knowledge of how contemporary craftsmanship functions in the field of architecture. In this case we are speaking about a sort of critical reaction to the fact that currently craftsmanship is dying out, because most construction repairs and implementation take place without the intervention of human hands.

Her project Systems You Have Seen (2004), consisting of carpets made up of ordinary, pre-fab materials, also takes a critical view on the standardisation of building materials.

Since 2005 Grosseova has begun to work intensively with Jesper Alvaer. In this she takes a detour from the constrictions of concrete spaces and the metaphoricalness articulated by artistic and material speech. She moves to favour social surveys that come about via communications with various social groups, which place emphasis on the principle of direct participation. In 2005 she worked with Alvaer on the project, Non-hereditary Memory II. The project commented on a trip to the Vietnamese flea market, SAPA, in Prague’s Libuše quarter.


Isabela Grosseova’s interest in architecture and urbanism as a moral and political theme, the relationship between society and environment, and its subsequent impact on residents‘ existence – these are all important motifs in the project, Vlastní pohled (Own View), that she put together in the town of Telč in co-operation with Jesper Alvaer. The project’s objective was to support the dissemination of information on the prepared reconstruction of the area around the school grounds by making a survey among town residents. Cameras were distributed among participants, town residents, allowing them to take pictures giving the vantage points from their homes. The resulting photos were later compiled into an exhibit.


An engaging and investigative survey in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Egypt is a joint, long-term project put together by Grosseova and Alvaer called Transkultura (2006). The resulting installation was developed in two parallel viewing plans. It showed in one instance a collection of objects that were a sort of personification of the various professions of the residents of the various Arab towns visited. In the second instance it made use of the documentary and photographic and other museum treasures from Czech collections, which in this way were confronted by reality.

An important part of the event was the presence of five invited guests during its duration. These are people that Alvaer and Grosseova met during their trip and whom they invited, thanks to the Moravian Gallery, to the Czech Republic. This group would have otherwise not been able to travel here due to political and economic reasons (www.moravska-galerie.cz, www.figureandground.com).

The problematic status of the West’s political and economic reality vis-à-vis the post-colonial, developing world is also the subject of the project, Liberté, Igelité, Fraternité (2006), whose intent was to use flags sewn from omnipresent plastic bags made in China in order to confront the current approach of the rich Western world to its neighbours. The artist’s critical fascination with the inequalities of the world order, clearly proclaimed in a paraphrased refrain taken from La Marseillaise, evokes questions about the reversible nature of relations to nationalism, and also xenophobic stances and globalisation.

The work Local Interpretations (2006) is a gallery-type test of possibilities for information transfer. It is a sort of laboratory for a protégé of fieldwork and socially-involved experiments that developed in collaboration with Alvaer. Visitors (participants) have to „redraw“ the content of select newspaper articles, and in a later phase these new drawings were to be once again transformed into text by another set of participants (itp.nyu.edu/~jmo297/10days/).

The Figure and Ground project, with the subtitle, Transkultura: akt 2, by Grosse and Alvaer, came into being during 2007. It builds on an extensive project, whose aim was to gradually visit all countries bordering the European Union (transkultura.bunkier.com.pl/en, www.bunkier.com.pl). In this second phase of the project, meetings are retroactively arranged and contacts are made in the Middle East, in Turkey, in Georgia, in Albania, in Croatia, in Russia, in Ukraine, in Belarus, in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


„...the method of continual travel consists of collecting historical and contemporary resource material, which through our work is extracted and sublimated in relation to particular topics (...).. The trip itself is already a project, a commentary on travel of an exploratory nature to unknown areas, which paradoxically begin at the borders of our Union and are maintained as unknown in the collective conscience. “ (Grosseova)

Author of the annotation
Mariana Serranová



2001-2005 School of Architecture
1995-1999 Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, atelier of intermedia studies of Milan Knížák

Grants, stipends:
2009 Ny-Alesund, Spitsbergen, Norsko
2008 Egon Schiele Art Centrum, Český Krumlov
2006 Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, USA
Fundación Nacional para Cultura y Arte en México, Mexico City, Mexico
Red Gate Gallery, China
2005 SIM Reykjavik, Island
Center for Contemporary Arts Prague,
2004 Pienkow, Poland
2003 Art in General, New York City, USA
2000 Škola architektury, Prof. Ing. Arch. Emil Přikryl
1998 Royal University College Of Fine Arts, Stockholm, Švédsko
1997 Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgie

2004 - finalist of Jindřich Chalupecký Award

Employment, work:
2006 works in cooperation with Acconci Studio, New York, USA
2000-2005 AP Ateliér Ing. Arch. Josefa Pleskota


Solo exhibitions
Figure and Groung, with J. Alvaer, Bunkier Sztuki, Contemporary Art Gallery, Krakow, PL, curated by Magda Ujma and Anna Smolak, (www.bunkier.com.pl) (transkultura.bunkier.com.pl/en)

Made in China, Red Gate Gallery (www.redgategallery.com) , Beijing Studio Center (www.beijingstudiocenter.org), China
Transculture: akt 1, společně s J. Alvaerem, Moravská Galerie Brno, ČR (www.moravska-galerie.com)
Habitable Picture – Horizontal Remake, Red Gate Gallery (www.redgategallery.com), BSC

Obytné sochy, Galerie Art in General New York, USA

Obytné obrazy Galerie Caesar, Olomouc
Obytné obrazy Galerie Jelení, Centrum pro současné umění Praha
Group exhibitions not included in ARTLIST.
Hrubý domácí produkt, Galerie hlavního města Prahy (www.ghmp.cz), kurátor K. Kintera

Liberte, Igetite, Fraternite, Zlinský salón mladých, Zlin
Japanegro, gallery onetwentyeight, New York, USA
Ateliery Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, USA

Vlastní pohled, projekt s Jesperem Alvaerem, Telč
Non hereditary memory II, projekt komentované cesty s Jesperem Alvaerem, Praha Libuš, Prague Biennale

Autumn plot zámek Racconigi, project „Gemine Muse“, Itálie
Zašlá sláva rozmanitosti Dům umění města Brna „Finalisti 2004“
Systems you have seen Národní galerie-Veletržní palác

Zlinsky salon mladych, Zlín
Nejmladší Národní galerie-Veletržní palác

Laboratoř současných tendencí Národní galerie-Veletržní palác
Galerie CBK Dordrecht, Holland

Diplomní práce AVU 2001 Národní galerie-Veletržní palác
Obytný obraz 1, Isabela Grosseová - majetek Národní galerie, kolekce současného umění (2002)
Obytný obraz 3, Isabela Grosseová - majetek Národní galerie, kolekce současného umění (2002)



Katalog vystavy, Finalisti ceny J. Chalupeckeho 2004, Brno, ČR 2004

Katalog vystavy, Schewitz,Prochaska, Gyomorey, Linz, AT, 2004

Sny o tom, Praha 1996, vlastním nákladem


Vaněk, Tomáš, Transculture: Act 1, a Project of J. Alvaer and I. Grosseova, Umělec 1/07, pp.34-38

Ryška, Pavel, J. Alvaer & I. Grosseova,Transkultura: akt 1, Flash Art (Cz. and Sl. edition) 3-4/06-07, pp. 48-50

Pospiszyl, Tomáš, katalog vystavy, Zlín’s Salon of Fine Art, 2006

Janata, Michal, Art of the space and space of the art, era 21, 2/05, pp. 62-65

Lindaurová, Lenka, Isabela Grosseova, Obytné umění, Art & Antiques, 9/04, pp.80-81

Kulhánek, David, katalog vystavy, gemine: muse, Torino, IT, 2004, pp. 246-247

Volk, Gregory, Obytne sochy, New York City, USA 2003

Víchová, Ilona, katalog vystavy, Zlín’s Salon of Fine Art, 2003

Koryčánek, Rostislav, S minimem prostředků o minimalismu, Architekt 7/02, pp. 58

Váňa, Radek, katalog vystavy, Art Primeur 2002, NL, 2002, pp. 82-87

Valoch, Jiří, Obytne obrazy, katalog vystavy, Galerie Caesar, Olomouc, ČR, 2001

Pustějovská, Ivana, A co takhle bydlet v obrazech? MF Dnes, Middle Moravia: D4, 9/1/02

Beran, Lukáš, Isabela grosseová ukazuje take nove problemy, MF Dnes, 17/1/02

Motková, Jitka, Obrazy ve kterych můžete i bydlet, Olomoucký den 10/1/02

waanja, Obrazy k bydleni a premýšlení, Umělec 4/01, pp.81

waanja, Obrazy ve kterych je mozne bydlet,


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