The station where the pilgrims discover a chapel with the ceramic sculptureThe Birth and Simultaneously Damnation of the Sphere (1978) is at a significant crossroads. A branch of the river which had to give way to progress (regulation of the river), the so-called Black Thaya, intersects here with the route of a former bridge which was destroyed at the end of the Second World War. In this place, with its powerful genius loci, Kristek built a chapel as a “witness of the times” with a deep philosophical scope and hope for the future. Forms are born and die, but the energy is omnipresent and indestructible. The author left his signature on more than just the sculpture in the chapel. He also left an impression in the plaster of the chapel, which he shaped with his own hands.
The sphere represents the symbol of unity and at the same time the perfect spatial body. Each point on its surface is the same as the other points and is the same distance from the point at its centre. If we choose just one point on the surface of the sphere, we can designate other points in relation to it. One can even compare a person to the shape of the sphere. In the work of art, man represents the microcosm, and so his own shape must correspond to the macrocosm. And for this reason, man corresponds to the universe in his construction. The human soul has even been credited with having the shape of a sphere. Kristek created a sphere as a perfect form in his ceramic sculpture The Birth and Simultaneously Damnation of the Sphere located in the chapel. Here Kristek refined the sphere into a subject of consideration, contemplation and reflection. But at the same time, the sphere may constitute a warning of the uncertainty of worldly life and capricious nature of the bearer of luck, Fortuna.
Text: Barbora Půtová
Barbora Půtová (born 1985) is a Czech anthropologist and art historian lecturing at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague.
She deals with history of culture, artwork and cultural heritage. Other fields of her expert interest include historical anthropology, visual anthropology and anthropology of art.
She has published dozens of articles and experts studies as well as several expert monographs such as Pravěké umění (Prehistoric Art, co-authors Jean Clottes and Václav Soukup, 2011), Félicien Rops: enfant terrible dekadence (Félicien Rops: Enfant Terrible of Decadence, 2013), Kristkova podyjská glyptotéka (Kristek Thaya Glyptoheque, co-author Iveta K. Pavlovičová, 2013), The Genesis of Creativity and the Origin of the Human Mind (co-edited by Václav Soukup, 2015) or Královská cesta: všední i sváteční život v proměnách času (The Royal Route: Ordinary and Festive Life Over the Course of Time, 2016).
In her monograph Félicien Rops she offers the first comprehensive view of the life and work of one of the most prominent representatives of decadence and symbolism; in her last book Královská cesta (The Royal Route) she writes about the creation, development, meaning and historical changes of the Royal Route in Prague. In her book Skalní umění (Rock Art, 2015), she published the results of her field research of Palaeolithic art that she carried out at archaeological sites in France and Portugal.
At presents she is carrying out research of African rock art in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.