My first visit to Museum Kampa was in 2013, shortly after a major Vltava River flood. At that time, the museum was “drying out” and undergoing renovations.
Yesterday’s return visit was to view exhibits by artists Adolf Born, Tomas Rajlich, and Radoslav Kratina. I had heard of Born but not the other artists. Although Rajlich is impressive and Katina thought-provoking, Adolf Born’s ink drawings, pastels, and watercolors blew me away! The exhibition includes a small studio playing his humorous and entertaining animated films in Czech, which I watched twice!
Born won a Grand Prix award in 1974. Galleries throughout the world exhibit his art. The multi-talented Born works mostly in color lithography but illustrated hundreds of books, and was an animator, cartoonist, and costume and set designer.
Born’s exhibition – A Unique World – focuses on a “cross-section” of his art:
- Color lithographs from Born’s 1960s experimentation with expression, composition, and “raw playfulness”
- Pastels and watercolors documenting his imagination and “courageous work with color”
- Indian ink drawings of his travels “capturing his specific Born-like humor”
- Original book illustrations
- Witty award-winning animated films
“Art is one more step towards creating one’s own magical world. An unrepeatable world filled with secrecy, extracts of dreams, maybe a bit of hidden terror…” Adolf Born
“Consistent conceptual purity” is said to be a key element of Czech-Dutch artist Tomas Rajlich’s paintings. He’s described as “an important representative of the European conceptual avant-garde” – had to look that up… Since the late 1960s and 1970s, Rajlich’s work developed with the “context of minimalist, geometric, and extreme abstract tendencies”. You need to have a live viewing of his creations to appreciate them.
“Rajlich’s work shows that even highly strenuous aesthetic work contains its inner dramatic character and painterly mesmerizing properties.”
Radoslav Kratina’s exhibit is called Constants and Variables. In 1963, he began creating monotypes by printing various “found items” like matchboxes, tattered pieces of cardboard, razor blades, and plaster dropped on a board”. At turning points in his career, he began creating wooden and then metal “variable relief” sculptures.
The basis of Kratina’s art is a “geometric construction which allows for creation of an infinite number of variations. The choices depend on the recipient and are essentially a question of chance. Kratina wants his art to persuade the viewer to play.”
“Kratina wants his art to persuade the viewer to play.”
In addition to its inside artist exhibits, the museum created an incredible outdoor glass display reflecting light from the sky, city, and river. It’s difficult capturing its effect in photos, but the display is about the reflected surroundings and Prague’s indescribable natural beauty!