17/1 - 12/3 2023

Kateřina Černá: Chronicled Dreams

Kateřina Černá was born in Prague on 17 February 1937. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 1957–1963 in the painting studio of Karel Souček. While still at the Academy, she moved from painting to assemblage. Instead of brushes and oil paints, she now uses tempera, ink, fabric scraps, coloured papers, lace, ribbons, strings, beads, waxed surface and also silver metal foil (such as used to wrap chocolate bars). There is something primal and universal in the unobtrusive charm of a dreamlike reality combined with pure mystery of the feminine world; there is a magic that we often miss in our reality. The peaceful, shaggy gardens are reminiscent of the hauntingly graceful lands of amazons and nymphs and of the pleasant landscapes of Sunday childhood spent among the fun fairs with carousels, meadows and magnificent views. The city in Černá’s paintings – Prague as seen from the tram on the route No. 17 – is also endowed with an old-world charm. Along the Vltava River, we pass the Rašín Embankment, Mánes Gallery, and the National Theatre. The artist has transferred into linocut and etching the paintings she had to part with or did not have time to paint. The result is not individual prints, but complete books filled with memories, dreams and behind-the-scenes stories. These are treasured in a polychromed cabinet, as are invitations to exhibitions, poems, puppets, letters and recipes left by grandmother. The combination of visual art and literary text is perfect for storytelling.

Martina Vítková