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Artlist — Center for Contemporary Arts Prague

Kamila Ženatá

First Name
Birth place
Havlíčkův Brod
Place of work
graphic art
installation art
CSU Library
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About artist

While the general public perceives Zoubek as a one position sculptor – creating rather impassioned sculptures evoking ancient theatre, which, following 1989 sometimes slipped all the way to the decorative style – if we take a closer look, we will see a sculptor who has had a very interesting and complicated development. It reflects the many problems that Czech art was faced with – primarily the loss of continuity after WWII, the difficulty in regaining it on the break of the 1950s and 1960s, and at the end of this decade also a fleeting contact with international sculpture.


Olbram Zoubek belongs to the strong generation that entered the scene after WWII. If Jindřich Chalupecký once remarked that in the generation of the 1940s, Ladislav Zívr was the only sculptor, then Zoubek’s generation was the last one in Czech art where sculpture dominated. In the beginning (until the beginning of 1960s), this generation could not deal with the existing issues of contemporary sculpture because it did not know it and it was preoccupied with other problems in the local conditions. There was nothing else to do than to follow up on the classics of Czech and international modernism – in Zoubek’s case these included Zadkine, Lipchits or Wotruba, as well as Miró or Léger. Sometime around 1965, sculpting symposia became an important source of information for local sculptors, and our environment was actually very close to them as they originated “around the corner” in Austria. Today we know that symposia were a phenomenon that contained many conservative or even retrogressive elements. This is actually valid also for the delayed touch of abstraction (at that time current in the Czech environment), which is linked to this group and played a certain role primarily in Zoubek’s work. His sculptures from Sankt Margarethen, Vyšné Ružbachy or Oggelshausen, free of any shape, encouraged by the founder of the symposia Karl Prantl, still have a figurative core. Let’s pause to recall that at this time he experienced his actually greatest breakthrough within the international context when in 1969 his sculpture from Sankt Margarethen was featured on the front page of a retrospective catalogue for the 10th anniversary of this historically first symposium.


From an art-historical perspective Zoubek was unlucky in a way for being born in such a strong generation, as a result of which he stood in the shadows of his peers whether it was Palcr, Chlupáč, Sekal, Kolíbal or his wife Eva Kmentová (naming just sculptors). But his sculptures-symbols from the break of 1950s and 1960s, his very strange sculpture group of a pair of engineers Malátek and Loos with the gestures of suppliants (1964), or his already mentioned sculptures bordering abstract stelas, co-created that overflowing creative atmosphere in the pressure cooker of the Czech basin of the 1960s, which was a mixture and cooperation of several generations and opinion streams. And it was certainly no coincidence that he belonged to the wider circle around Jindřich Chalupecký and that he was represented in 1967 at the exhibition Pět sochařů (Five Sculptors) in the Špálova Gallery. It may come as a surprise today that we can also find him among the participants of underground events such as Setkání na tenisových dvorcích v Praze (Meeting at the Tennis Courts in Prague) (1982), but Zoubek, although he was a classical sculptor, belonged to the core of the back then cultural opposition. This was confirmed also by the army of his statues at the exhibition Forum 88 in Holešovická tržnice – the first representative presentation of the Czech unofficial scene. In the spirit of this, he became the president of Nová skupina (New Group) in 1990 which was initiated by Chalupecký. This group, however, did not have a chance to become a fundamental platform because the circumstances had radically changed and Chalupecký’s principles, valid during the time when there was a lack of freedom, were suddenly no longer attractive for artists. Intergenerational solidarity lost its meaning in the new world, and all of a sudden the most important thing was individual performance.


In the renewed freedom Zoubek broke through like no one else and he was struck by the unhappy destiny of being a living classical artist, which does not necessarily mean a benefit for the artist and his work. He was, for example, quite harmed by the unlucky monograph from 1996 published as an honour to him by the Masaryk University – this concise art-historical and commemorative material turned out to be embarrassing from the typographical, as well as printing aspect. Today his work may appear to be too literary, impassioned and – as is the case of his memorial at Újezd – almost stage managed. In a way it is also encumbered by the period prior to 1989, because today we have the tendency to perceive it exactly in its context – as a private revolt against its shallowness, like a morality... And although I’m afraid that the new generations of young art historians will not have such sympathies for Zoubek’s work like those who had the chance to be influenced by its dignified and pleasant appearance (for that matter, something similar happened to another icon of Czech art, Mikuláš Medek), his work has unquestionable qualities that cannot be disregarded together with that superficial public interest that accompanies him today.



Author of the annotation
Silvie Šeborová



1973-1979 Academy of Fine Arts, Ladislav Čepelák
1964-1967 Public art school, Čáslav (Kutná Hora)

1995 Tiszaújvaros art colony, Hungary
2005 residence, Casa Zina Lia, Elba, Italy
2009 residence, Cill Riallaig, Kerry, Ireland
Member of art groups included in ARTLIST.
SČUG Hollar


Solo exhibitions
2013     Centrum pro současné umění DOX, Praha
             Malá pevnost, Terezín
             Ženský dvůr / The Women’s Yard (katalog)
2011     Centrum pro aktuální umění, Galerie Prádelna, Praha
              Roll Over All / Roll All Over, Lilith (katalog)
              Komunikační prostor Školská 28, Praha
              Pick Up Your Phone (katalog)
2009     Galerie 5. patro, Praha, 2. patro – opuštěný byt (katalog)
2007     Galerie Mánes, Praha, Nauč se stát na jedné noze (katalog)
             České centrum, Tokio, Japonsko, Twilights/ Twilights
2006     České centrum, Stockholm, Švédsko, Jungle
             Foyer Dreikönigskirche, Dresden, SRN, Im Innerem
2005     Galerie SM, Uherské Hradiště
             Centrum de Boskant, Den Haag, Holandsko
2004     Galerie Václava Špály, Praha, Uvnitř (katalog)
2003     Galerie zur grünen Tür, Uznach, Švýcarsko, Zahlédnutá krajina
2002     Galerie Vltavín, Praha, Barva
2001     Galerie zur grünen Tür, Uznach, Švýcarsko, Liebe ist grün
1998     Alšova jihočeská galerie, Nebe ze mě (katalog)
             Muzeum moderního umění, Hradec Králové (katalog)
1997     Galerie Vltavín, Praha, Loučení s kouzelníkem (katalog) 
             Galerie Fronta, Praha, Was macht meine Farbenpalette? (katalog) 
Group exhibitions not included in ARTLIST.
Výtvarné umění - výstava, Galerie Nová síň, Praha

Kamila Ženatá, Zdeněk Sejček: Obrazy, Dusíkovo divadlo Čáslav, Čáslav

Umělci Archivu, DOX, Malá věž, Praha

Haus ofr Arts – Brno /CZ/ – Videokemp

DOX Centre for Contemporary Art – Prague /CZ/ – 14S
Kresby členů SČUG Hollar, Galerie Hollar, Praha
čtrnáct S / fourteen S, DOX, Centrum současného umění / Centre for Contemporary Art, Praha 7

Moderní a poválečné umění, současné umění, fotografie, Galerie 5. patro, Praha

Divadlo Svět - Svět neklidu, Galerie Vivo, Praha

Vltavotýnské výtvarné dvorky 2006, Městská galerie Art Club, Týn nad Vltavou
Grafické techniky 3, Rytina, suchá jehla, mezzotinta, Městský palác Templ (Galerie Templ), Mladá Boleslav

Grafické techniky 3, Rytina, suchá jehla, mezzotinta, Galerie Hollar, Praha
Kamila Ženatá und Roland Rüegg, Galerie zut grünen Tür, Uznach
Vltavotýnské výtvarné dvorky 2005, Městská galerie Art Club, Týn nad Vltavou

Grafické techniky 2, Lept, akvatinta, kombinovaná technika, Galerie Hollar, Praha
Vltavotýnské výtvarné dvorky 2004, Městská galerie Art Club, Týn nad Vltavou

Ejhle figura, Galerie Hollar, Praha

Zápas s andělem, Hotel Gustav Mahler, Jihlava

Žrouti, jedlíci, labužníci, Novoměstská radnice, Praha
Žrouti, jedlíci, labužníci, Dům umění, Znojmo

Praha světácká, Galerie U prstenu, Praha

Tschechische künstler: Maler / Grafiker / Bildhauer, Länderbereich Zentraleuropa, Ludwigshafen am Rhein
Práce na papíře / Works on Paper, Mánes, Praha

Bibliofilie z dílen současných českých grafiků členů Sdružení českých umělců grafiků Hollar, Galerie Hollar, Praha

Kresba ´95, Galerie Hollar, Praha
Inter-Kontakt-Grafik ´95 1. mezinárodní trienále grafiky Praha, Staroměstská radnice, Praha
Vltavotýnské dvorky: 22 českých grafiků, ART CLUB - CAFÉ BAR, Týn nad Vltavou

Inter - Kontakt - Grafik - Praha ´93, Mánes, Praha

Ladislav Čepelák a jeho škola, Mánes, Praha

Mladí Janu Bauchovi, Galerie Václava Špály, Praha

Současné české exlibris, Galerie d, Praha

Československý exlibris 1987, Stredoslovenská galéria, Banská Bystrica

Nová tvorba ´85. Z výsledků tvůrčích pobytů mladých výtvarných umělců, Galerie Vincence Kramáře, Praha

Nová tvorba mladých výtvarných umělců, Mánes, Praha

Výtvarní umělci dětem, Praha, Praha
National Gallery of Art / Washington, DC
Národní galerie v Praze / Praha
Alšova jihočeská galerie / Hluboká nad Vltavou
Východočeská galerie v Pardubicích / Pardubice
Ministerstvo zahraničních věcí ČR
Ministerstvo kultury ČR
Galerie moderního umění v Hradci Králové / Hradec Králové



Haškovcová, Marie: Zkamenělé prádlo, Ateliér, 14-15/2013, s. 2

Serranová, Mariana: Ženský dvůr, Art & Antiques, 7-8/2013, s. 66 -7

Vitvar, Jan H.: Život v kruhu, Respekt, 10/2011, s. 64-65

Slavická, Milena: 2. Patro, Ateliér, 19.11.2009, s.1

Šeborová, Silvie: Terapie výstavou, Art & Antiques, 12/2009, s.72-73

Šeborová, Silvie: Čtrnáct S, Flash Art CZ/SK, červen-září/2009, s. 52

Vitvar, Jan H.: Paměť jednoho bytu, Respekt, 48/2009, s. 54


Slavická, Milena: 2. patro, Ateliér, 19. 11. 2009, s. 1

Šeborová, Silvie: Terapie výstavou, Art+Antiques, 12/2009, s. 72-73

Šeborová, Silvie: Čtrnáct es, Flash Art CZ/SK, červen-září/2009, s. 52

Vitvar, Jan H.: Paměť jednoho bytu, Respekt, 48/2009, s. 54


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