House of the Válovy sisters Jitka and Květa
Gallery arto.to, Coal Mill (Uhelný mlýn)
Areál Šroubáren 860, 252 66 Libčice nad Vltavou
Opening on Saturday 10 December 2022 at 3 pm
On Saturday 28 January 2023 at 3pm the gallery will host a reunion of friends of the Válovy sisters.
11 December 2022 - 31 January 2023
Curated by Dagmar Šubrtová in collaboration with Andrea Hoffman Nečasová
Based on vintage photographs, private correspondence and other documents and artefacts, the exhibition with the title The House of the Válovy Sisters – Jitka and Květa explores the place where the enigmatic artists' complex work was created, thus illustrating some of the most important artistic life stories of 20th century Czech culture.
The twin sisters Jitka and Květa Válovy, who were born exactly 100 years ago on 13 December, embodied a unique phenomenon of Czech art. The academic painters, educated at the UMPRUM studio of Emil Filla, never accepted the communist zeitgeist and refused to popularize the spirit of the prevailing socialist realism in art. For most of the second half of the 20th century they worked in the seclusion of their house No. 6 in Bendlova Street in Kladno, that also served them as an unofficial exhibition space and a venue for intellectual debate.
The studios where Jitka and Květa were working without the possibility of displaying their finished works to the public were frequented by their admirers who debated about art, life and the world behind the Iron Curtain. Yet from behind the curtain celebrities such as French photographer and film director Alain Fleischer slipped to the "red" Kladno in the 1980s. Apart from him, countless artists, theoreticians, philosophers and other thinkers and their children enjoyed unforgettable moments, a stimulating intellectual environment and a friendly asylum in the sisters’ humble dwelling.
The exhibition concept is based on their traces and testimonies. The private family life of the Válovy sisters thus comes to life in so far unpublished photographs from the archives of the Stecker family, who were frequent guests at the Válovy sisters' house, or in correspondence with filmmaker Ester Krumbachová. There are also handwritten biographies of the sisters from the 1980s and letters exchanged with the communist authorities of the time. The exhibition portfolio is complemented by three works of art: the painting The Boundary of Unbreachability, which Jitka Válová created in the house in 1968, the sculpture Torso in the Mist (Homage to Jitka Válová) by sculptor Olbram Zoubek and the cement object Hands by Eva Kmentová, wife of Olbram Zoubek and friend of the Válová sisters.
Behind a replica of the original blue curtain from the Válovy sisters' inventory, visitors can also hear an audio fragment from interviews with Jitka and Květa, recorded in the house by radio editor Vojtěch Babka. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, designed by Petr Hrůza (Artmap).
This exhibition at the arto.to gallery aims to highlight the fact that the house where the sisters lived and worked from 1938 until their respective deaths has not received due attention from the arts community and particularly from the city of Kladno, whose they were notable residents just like Jiří Kolář and Cyril Bouda. It is opportune on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of these artists so unique in Czech culture to reopen the debate on the need to preserve the house for future generations in the form of a gallery, archive and study, and as a memorial to the authentic islands of freedom against the gloomy backdrop of the 20th century history. The strong cultural footprint of the Válovy sisters, with its distinctive contemporary and geographical overlap, deserves more than a temporary exhibition and a memorial panel.
The gallery is accessible only after prior reservation by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or upon purchase of a time-slot ticket from the GoOut.cz ticketing service, from Wednesday to Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm. Unannounced visitors cannot be currently guaranteed access during the full span of the opening hours.
Admission 150 CZK
and 24, 25, 26, 27 and 31 December 2022.
The exhibition is organized under the auspices of:
Governor of the Central Bohemia Region Mrs Petra Pecková
Czech Chamber of Architects
City of Libčice nad Vltavou
Special thanks to:
The Válovy sisters‘ family
Kmentová Zoubek Foundation
Are and Kateřina Svatoňová
The exhibition received a kind support of:
Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic
Central Bohemia Region
Andrea Hoffman Nečasová, email@example.com
Dagmar Šubrtová, firstname.lastname@example.org