Vladimír Janoušek: Times
The sculptor Vladimír Janoušek (1922–1986) graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague in the studio of Josef Wagner, as did his future wife Věra, along with Miloslav Chlupáč, Olbram Zoubek, and Eva Kmentová. A co-founder of the art group UB 12, whose theorists included Jiří Šetlík and Jaromír Zemina, Janoušek created both monumental and smaller works, and represented Czechoslovakia at the world exhibition Expo ´70 in Osaka, Japan, taking part in the opening ceremony alongside Japanese artist Tara Okomat. During the period of normalisation, his public and exhibition activity was restricted. Curator Karel Srp identifies three periods in Janoušek’s work: crystals and growth, pendulums, and variable sculptures. They are all connected to the motif of time as it appears in the writings of the sculptor’s favourite poet, František Halas. The works exhibited here are on loan from state and private collections, mainly from the Czech Republic. As one of the most extensive exhibitions of Janoušek’s work – of a scale that was not possible during his lifetime or after 1990 – the exhibition will include many rare and never-before seen works. The architect of the exhibition, Dominik Lang, has placed nearly two hundred works of art on three floors. Sculptures, objects, and reliefs are accompanied by drawings and photographs, as well as authentic furniture from the Janoušek villa in Smíchov.
The exhibition is accompanied by a reading of the curatorial statement and a selection of Janoušek’s own formulations on sculpture. Each exhibition space is entirely different: starting in the study, we move through the depository, the room of the ticking pendulums, and the moment after the explosion, when Janoušek stopped showing his works in public space and exhibitions, including those in his native region. Proceeding through the Jugglers and Falls section, visitors come to a forest of monumental dark moving figures which, during the sculptor’s lifetime, were only seen by a circle of his close friends.
The installation of Janoušek’s sculptures is at the same time an interpretation, a stage on which visitors will find a remarkable yet virtually unknown collection of works. In the place of traditional pedestals, the sculptures are placed on recycled exhibition panelling and furniture from Janoušek’s personal space. The exhibition also presents Janoušek’s kinetic sculptures in a video recording created by Ivan Svoboda and Dominik Lang.