OCTOBER 15 - DECEMBER 3, 2005
It is with great pleasure that Cavin-Morris presents SYSTEM IN CHAOS: New Art Brut From the Czech Republic. This exhibition, two years in the planning, is organized by Terezie Zemánková, curator for the ABCD Collection, and granddaughter of well-known self-taught artist, Anna Zemánková. Ms. Zemánková has focused on four extremely different artists whose diverse ways of coping with illness create four very different world visions, each grand in its conception.
Leos Wertheimer, an ex-car mechanic had a condition that required him to retire young. He became passionate about drawing large-scale, almost fetishistic portraits of locomotives. As the curator implies the attention he pays to their detail is quite anatomical in intensity.
Lubos Plny was an electrician who began to model at Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts. The Academy gave him the honorary degree of academy model, a stamp of which he uses to emboss many of his drawings. Plny audited several anatomy classes, and studied grave digging. His drawings, highly anatomized self-portraits, contain careful notes about the presence or absence of bodily fluids. One senses the drawings serve as an obsessive vehicle of visual contemplation, containing thousands of detailed markings all strange and beautiful, making a path through the thicket of his illness.
Zbynek Semerak’s complex drawings are layered visions of mythical, architectural, and technological history done in an almost ephemeral self-effacing style that is nervous and delicate and very intimate despite their ponderous and far ranging subjects of man’s cultural diversities.
Zdenek Kosek was a typographer for fifteen years. His illness forced him to retire in 1989. As opposed to his more conventional amateur paintings he made in healthier times, he began to produce a series of small, obsessive, and diverse drawings based on meteorology and the weather. He felt that he could control the cyclones, storms, tornadoes, and rains around the planet. In these drawings he meticulously charts wind, bird flight, sounds, chemical changes, infinite numbers etc. In the curator’s words “He considers his head as a kind of radar, a propeller, a whir, a transmitter-receiver of a multitude of information. He believes he is ‘the brain of the earth’.” These drawings are from a feverish period of activity (1990-1992) before he was hospitalized.