Chateau Lubo in Podhradí nad Dyjí is the heart of Kristek Thaya Glyptotheque. Lubo Kristek settled here after wandering around the world. On the apex of the roof, he located a metal sculpture – a piano balancing on one leg. The symbolism of this work is typical of Kristek’s creativity. Roses grow through the dancing piano.
He has experimented all his life with the idea of penetration, merging and mutual fertilisation of forms – he painted a piano with roses growing through it in the picture Suite for Biophilic Piano Attacked by Masochistic Tuba (1995), and flowers growing through objects also appeared, for example, in the pictures First Revelation of Unknown Energy (1974) and Sharp Penetration of Prostatoidal Scone by Hoary Willowherb (2012).
“In his expression, Kristek balances on a delicate point where various styles and expressional resources combine. One of his life-long symbols – the piano standing upright on one leg on the apex of his studio's roof in the Czech Republic – is also one such.” (1)
This artwork, Divine Ephemerality of Tone, was unveiled in 1994 by the writer Jaromír Tomeček (1906–1997), and then according to the title of this work of art he called the entire neighbouring area of the Thaya Kristek Valley of the Divine Ephemerality of Tone.(2)
It was in this area that the concept of Kristek Thaya Glyptotheque matured, and here plans were drawn up for other projects or events, and from here the artist's other work flowed. He represented the combination of muses not only in the happenings, but also in the assemblage Apotheosis of the Human Brain (2010). Here we can find reference to theatre, literature, ballet and nails and the crown of thorns. The brain can create the deepest works of art as well as the most excruciatingly painful items.
In the assemblage The Stubborn Attempts of the Paraplegic Bloody Goblin (2010), the keys flow from the keyboard, just like the water on the weir in front of the windows of Kristek’s studio. The cross does not form a limiting framework, but its lines are in movement. The goblin reaches up on the cross, but he remains on the ground, and only the blue-white yarn – the natural elements of water and air – winds up to heaven.
In many works, he returns to Greek inspiration, such as in the assemblage Secret of the Štrýbl Creek (2004), in which he also references the legacy left by the Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901). The ferry takes the souls of the dead over the river Acheron, and here the ferryman takes on the form of a bird.
The assemblage Attempts of the Modern Achillea or Chiron Can No Longer Do Anything (2013) is based on Greek mythology, which Kristek develops further in his fantasy. The centaur Chiron is made up of a gymnastic vaulting horse. Achilles is in female form; she holds Chiron by the reins and dances ballet figures on his back. She leads a golden pig, the symbol of plenty, behind her.
The 4th station of Kristek Thaya Glyptotheque also comes to life thanks to the intimate events that the artist organises for the unveiling of his new works. For example, in 2013 as part of a programme consisting of poetry reading, surreal violin music and a mini vernissage, his latest works, in which he combined wood and silver, were unveiled: Cosmos, Aureola and the Monstrance of Light(3) (2011) and Stabiliser of Insufficient Number of Hands (2012–2013). Hands are the dominant feature of both sculptures. The symbol of hands appears in many forms in Kristek’s work. In the works of the early period sometimes a hand of resistance appears, a hand that refuses or punishes. But soon he employed the hand which creates (for example in the sculpture Thaya – The Fate of the Tree at the 5th station) or protects – the picture The Protecting Hand (1996) – and in the current works this symbol offers an important message. The hand frees itself, it gains the form of a wing or even reveals the inner essence of phenomena, as in the sculpture Stabiliser of Insufficient Number of Hands, where from the centre of the flower of ingrowing hands a drop of blood squirted and brought to the surface that which had hitherto been concealed.
Text: Iveta K. Pavlovičová, Barbora Půtová
Iveta K. Pavlovičová (born 1974) is a Czech theatre studies specialist and director of the Research Institute for Communication in Arts in Brno.
She has long been engaged in the postmodern theatre and its sources. She is the author of scientific-research projects supported by the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Fund for Development of Universities, Czech Literary Fund and the European Union (European Fund for Regional Development), as well as theatre projects supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the Czech-German Fund for the Future. She participated in the 3rd and 4th International Symposium of Theatre Anthropology at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing arts Brno (JAMU), where she lectured in the years 2003–2004. She also gave a lecture at the Masaryk University Institute of Anthropology in Brno. Since 2009, she has worked on the forming of an exhibition programme at the Baroque Palace of Riegersburg.
She published the article Modely v nás a možnost jejich změny (Our Inner Models and the Possibility to Change Them) in the magazine Vesmír (2/2005) and a teaching video programme for high schools. She is the author of the textbook Tělo, znak a rytmus (Body, Sign and Rhythm) for JAMU and the book Divadlo Neslyšících a nové cesty (Theatre of the Deaf and the New Ways, 2002) that was published as part of a publication project supported by the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
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.
Foreword of the Minister for Culture of the Czech Republic, Václav Jehlička, for the catalogue. Lubo Kristek: Das dritte Auge der Fernverständigung. (2008). Landsberg: Neues Stadtmuseum, p. 4.
Lubo Kristek: Happeningová tvorba v Podyjí (1994–2013). (2013). Brno: VÚKU.
The sculpture is a homage to Kristek’s friend, the sculptor Augustin Čech.