Exhibition opening: 20 October 2022, 6pm,
with a Lenka Klodová’s performance in response to the installation “Entropa” (2009) by David Černy
National Gallery/Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art; 2, Cherni Vrah Blvd.
Lenka Klodová’s solo exhibition presents works combining the performative and sculptural approaches that the artist has distinctively applied in her work since the 1990s. The exhibition’s main theme of gender and cultural stereotypes was developed for the Czech Republic’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
For this reason, it is dominated by David Černý (2009–2022), Klodová’s response to the well-known Czech artist’s Entropa, made by Černý in 2009 on the occasion of the country’s first EU presidency and exhibited in the atrium of the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels. Černý’s work produced a strong response in the media and on the political level, in particular because of its representation of Bulgaria.
Now, thirteen years later, the Czech Republic is once again presiding over the Council of the European Union, and so the opportunity presents itself to symbolically use this moment to place the aforementioned political affair into a new, more agreeable, and more meaningful contex.
“The exhibition’s main piece was an interpretation of Michelangelo’s David cut out of styrofoam that Klodová gradually painted black. The process of the work’s creation, especially the performative act of painting, was just as important as the final outcome,” explains the curator of the exhibition, Vjera Borozan, and adds: “It was documented in a series of photographs that show Klodová using a brush to first apply pubic hairs, hair, and a beard to the white surface of the statue, after which she tattoos the figure and “dresses” it in formal wear until she arrives at a black monochrome color.”
The result is a parody of meanings, pop-cultural myths, and stereotypes on the one hand, with references to a specific political affair, specific artistic strategies, and a specific artist on the other – all in a lighthearted manner and combined and presented in such a way as to offer viewers the possibility of a multi-layered interpretation while liberating them from the pitfalls of seeing things in black and white. This sculpture of David černý, which will be further worked on during Klodová’s performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sofia, is the central piece of the exhibition.
Closely related to David černý is Klodová’s second piece in the exhibition, Geo-Men (2012), which uses a sculptural approach to depict the contradiction between the various figures’ shape and their shadow and thus speaks metaphorically to physical stereotypes and the social status of men and women. A performative and sculptural approach also characterizes her third installation, Torsos (2021), which combines casts of Klodová’s female relatives with recordings of her performances.
Lenka Klodová (1969) studied sculpture under Kurt Gebauer at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague, from which she earned her doctorate in 2005. Thanks to scholarship programs, she also spent time at the Escola de las Belas Artes in Lisbon and Staffordshire Polytechnic in the United Kingdom. On the surface, her art works with humor, which nevertheless remains ambiguous and offers insight into the subjects that she has explored over the past thirty years. These include motherhood, the body, interpersonal relationships, stereotypes, and sexuality – i.e.,themes that have been topical in present-day society. She also organizes the Festival of Naked Forms and since 2010 has headed the Body Design Studio at Brno University of Technology’s Faculty of Fine Arts.