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House of Art
TUES–SUN 10:00–18:00

Janoušek, Vladimír / Figure

(1980–1985)

wood, sheet metal, black paint, wooden plinth, height 80 cm

This vertically oriented spatial structure consists of wooden and metal parts joined with wing-nuts; it is a typical example of the works created by Vladimír Janoušek and his wife Věra during the 1980s. It is a stylized figure, in which the individual parts can be remodelled by loosening the nuts and altering their position vis-à-vis the structure as a whole. This variability brings a degree of ambivalence to the piece. Firstly, it demonstrates how totalitarian power can “remodel” individuals. On the other hand, however, it embodies creative freedom, drawing viewers in and enabling them to participate in the free rearrangement of the elements to create new compositions.

JANOUŠEK VLADIMÍR

A founding member of the group UB 12 and husband of the sculptor Věra Janoušková, the Czech sculptor and painter Vladimír Janoušek studied after World War II at the Prague Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in the studio of Josef Wagner, graduating in 1950. The main influences on the formation of his sculptural style were particularly the late works of Otto Gutfreund, the exhibitions of west European art held in Prague before 1948, and the works of Henry Moore. His theoretical influences were particularly the ideas of Bohumil Kubišta and the lectures of Professor Václav Nebeský. In the 1950s Janoušek started to create sculptural portraits, reliefs and statues of a very high standard, intended for unique incorporation into architecture. He gradually abandoned classical sculptural materials, entirely replacing them with metal, which best suited his self-expression. In this way he produced sculptures in the 1960s in which the indefinite outlines of figures are contrasted with a firm geometrical structure. Subsequently an inter-active mobile element began to figure in his oeuvre, usually in the form of a pendulum. In his late phase Janoušek moved to spatial variability, so that his sculptures, constructed most frequently from plates of sheet aluminium connected with wing nuts in parallel layers, offered viewers the possibility of their own interpretation.
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