Exhibition of sculptures by Jan Hendrych and graduates of his studio in the exterior of Špilberk Castle. Pictured on May 24, 2023, a sculpture by Irena Armitidis titled Hyenas from 2018.
Brno – Sculptures made of different materials and with different author's handwriting enlivened Špilberk Castle in Brno. Graduates of Jan Hendrych's sculpture studio exhibit there under the open sky. Sculptures depicting human figures or animals predominate. Curator Ilona Víchová selected nine authors with regard to the expression and specificity of their work. “Thanks to this, the viewer has the opportunity to discover a wide range of common features and differences in the sculptural expression of the professor and his former students,” said the curator. The works will remain at the castle until March 31 next year.
The 86-year-old Hendrych worked from 1990 to 2015 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he headed the studio of figurative sculpture and medals. The exhibition in Špilberk loosely follows on from last year's Hendrych retrospective. Some of his own sculptures have also been added, namely the ceramic Guardian at the Castle Gate, captured in a resolutely straddling stance and robust armour, as well as a pair of sandstone female figures Reclining I and II.
One of Hendrych's first students after 1990 was Jana Bačová Kroftová, who exhibits the sculpture Fusion in Brno. It consists of two giant human heads sinking into the ground. Later graduating years are represented by Veronika Durová and Zuzana Kantová, whose work is characterized by fragility and subtlety.
In her work, Durová develops a dialogue between matter and empty space. An example is a work called Dialog. The four seated figures are reduced to legs and arms. “And yet we have the feeling that we are watching the whole figure, because we find a clear guide for our imagination in specific details, the outstretched arms, gesturing, crossing of the legs, the tension or relaxation of a given body part,” Víchová described.
Kantová long-term focus on the phenomenon of femininity. The Sitting sculpture reevaluates the perception of one of the symbols of female beauty – bare legs, which here fulfill the role of a plinth for a red garden stool. Hendrych's last pupils include Jakub Goll, Pavel Provazník and Adam Velíšek, who also exhibit in Špilberk.
The exhibition places special emphasis on artists from Brno and Moravia who studied in Prague under Hendrych, so that his ideas further developed at home in Moravia. Irena Armutidisová focuses on animal figures. In addition to anatomy, she is interested in the possibilities of capturing both real and latent movement, which is present in the body of animals even when they are resting. Hyenas and Jaguars represent her work in Špilberk. Kristina Vesková exhibited, for example, the Last Astronaut sculpture made of white concrete. Radek Škrabal works mainly with fired clay. It often depicts ballerinas, at Špilberk visitors can view the life-size figure Tired Dancer.