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An Artist in the Acceptance of Conditions Jiří Kobr “Lo and Behold...”

Galerie Makráč, Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry in Prague
27. února - 21. dubna 2017
curator Dagmar Šubrtová


On the linoleum in the hallway of the institute lies a statue of the Virgin Mary with Jesus. The Annunciation is hidden behind a door and a column. On the adjoining wall it looks like St. Veronica is hanging out laundry and handing a piece to the Son of God as a veil. Employees of the polymer chemistry institute could easily pass by this scenery without noticing it. Just like the bygone events of Christians and churches, crosses and chapels have become so much a part of our environment that we pass by them unwittingly.

One might think that the conspicuous black linoleum with functional white strips, support columns, and the indispensible clock are elements that do not belong in a gallery. Of course the idea that we encounter Kobr’s statues in a “white box” is just as weird as seeing the Virgin Mary giving birth in an operating room. But Kobr’s work (in this “supernormal” environment) is vivid and effective here, but it works differently than in the idyllic space of a garden in Břevnov, where Kobr’s statues will also be making an appearance in June.

Kobr’s art appeals as the realization of the “acceptance of conditions”. It does not proceed from any sort of intentions, but rather directly from private events and a certain way of life. Zdeněk Vašíček, for instance, characterized and adopted this type of work. The acceptance of conditions in a cowshed, in a hallway or perhaps in a garden. Though Kobr concerns himself with how his audience will view and consider his work, at the same time he creates roughly based on his own taste. Thanks to both of these commonplace Biblical themes in his rendition, lo and behold, this time it is quite possible that we might see something unfamiliar.
Pavlína Bartoňová
 

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Jiří Kobr

5. 8. 1974

I am a woodcarver. Woodcarving gives me pleasure. It sustains me. It is my joy.
And I am a sculptor. I am learning sculpture. Through sculpture I become aware, I try to understand something. And for me it is a unique opportunity to treat the world as it is — with real dimensions, genuine space, actual material.

I want to place my knowledge of the world (it is mine — because I am responsible for it through my experiences, just as I am responsible for my knowledge of faith) into the real world in the hope that it can hold up. So that the object that has come into being can become a part of it and have some effect upon it.

Despite this searching for harmony, I am attracted by the exploration of borders, of seeking out boundaries and transcending them. But perhaps this is precisely the point: to achieve serenity despite errors and deviations, a harmony that is not a place of the chosen ones, but rather the result of experience. What interests me is the reason, that is, the essence, that is, things that are valid in general, that is, the “ordinary”. For me it is a matter of recognizing the original, the plausible, the intimately familiar.

Most often during my endeavours I end up at Christian subjects and motifs. I explore and inquire into Christianity. For me it is not a matter of creating ecclesiastical objects or liturgical aids…

This art was a component of the environment in which I grew up. This manifestation of human life was part of my own sphere. And just as I was interested in what lives and grows, I was also interested in why and whom were depicted in the depictions of Calvary in the village, on the crosses in the fields, on the tombstones in cemeteries and church altars. And along with the other aspects of reality, I accepted these too as my own.

For me art is a means — a means, not an end. A means to elation, to repeated amazement at the world. I value the ability to be enchanted by form, by combinations of colours. I am grateful for the preoccupation, the longing to have some impact.

After all, this must be … healthy?
Jiří Kobr, Hostim 18 May 2017


Jiří Kobr was born in Dvůr Králové nad Labem in 1974. He studied woodcarving at the High school and College of Applied Arts in Prague (1988–1997). From 1997 to 2003 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Petr Siegl, Jindřich Zeithamml; for his thesis “Cross” he received the Chancellor’s Prize). In 2001 an independent exhibition of his work took place at the Municipal Gallery of Trutnov. His work has been displayed at exhibitions in Reinraum, Düsseldorf, 2002, MECCA, Terezín, 2003; Nothing For Show…?, the Kateřinská Garden in Prague, 2004; Statue 2, Felix Jenewein Gallery in Kutná Hora, 2006; and Statue 3, Wortner House at the Aleš South Bohemian Gallery in Česká Budějovice, 2007. He taught wood carving and sculpture from 2002 to 2005 at the High school of Applied Arts in Prague. He currently lives and works in Hostim u Berouna.

 

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Indigenous cult sculpture from Bohemia

Gallery Makráč, Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry AS CR

Feb. 27, 2017 - April 21, 2017

On the linoleum in the hallway of the institute lies a statue of the Virgin Mary with Jesus. The Annunciation is hidden behind a door and a column. On the adjoining wall it looks like St. Veronica is hanging out laundry and handing a piece to the Son of God as a ... more

PANORAMA I Visit
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Assumption (Trinity) - I, 2016

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Assumption (Trinity) - II, 2016

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Washing of the feet - I, 2016

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Washing of the feet - II, 2016

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Washing of the feet - III, 2016

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Washing of the feet - IV, 2016

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Washing of the feet - V, 2016

PANORAMA II Visit
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Madonna (Birth) - I, 2015

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Madonna (Birth) - II, 2015

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Madonna (Birth) - III, 2015

PANORAMA III Visit
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Mother Mary and St. Joseph (Bethlehem) - I, 2011

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Mother Mary and St. Joseph (Bethlehem) - II, 2011

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Annunciation (small), 2016

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Annunciation (large) - I, 2016

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Annunciation (large) - II, 2016

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Annunciation (large) - III, 2016

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Annunciation (large) - IV, 2016

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On the theme of the cross, 2014

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Madonna (black) - I, 2010-2017

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Madonna (black) - II, 2010-2017

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Madonna (black) - III, 2010-2017

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Madonna (black) - IV, 2010-2017

PANORAMA IV Visit
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Untitled (Periphery) - I, II, 2014

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The Madonna of Expectation - I, 2016

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The Madonna of Expectation - II, 2016

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The Madonna of Expectation - III, 2016

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The Madonna of Expectation - IV, 2016

PANORAMA V Visit
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On the theme of the cross, 2014

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On the theme of the cross, 2014

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Cloud, 2016

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Stations of the Cross, 2017

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Stations of the Cross, 2017

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