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About the gallery

We are opening the Art brut Prague Gallery as the first exhibition space in Prague focused exclusively on the work of artists who, for various reasons, are unable or unwilling to join the mainstream art scene.

“Here, things are raised proudly
and more stabbingly,
the world is full of edges
on which we have
hurt ourselves many times.”

The quote, taken from Josef Čapek’s groundbreaking book The Most Modest Art, will greet all visitors at the entrance as a foreshadowing of the type of work they will encounter here.

To clearly define the gallery, the name was chosen after the painter Jean Dubuffet’s famous term art brut – usually translated in Czech as “art in its raw state”.

But not all the artists the gallery will represent necessarily fall into the category of art brut as it is usually conceived. Some of them, for various reasons, become outsiders, not even classifiable in this field.

The selection of the artists is basically conditioned by the absence of any conscious calculation in their work aimed at achieving success in the world of contemporary art.

The gallery also wants to support its artists by making their works available for sale.

Exhibitions

Lukáš Vaňura
Painter of Discoloration
Malíř nepokojů
30. 5.–22. 6. 2024

Curator of the exhibition: Jaromír Typlt.

Preview: Monday 29th of April, 7pm

We might feel the mysterious creatures that stare at us, eyes and mouths wide open, that sometimes almost jump out of the drawings by Lukáš Vaňura (1978) are somewhat familiar. There is something almost “Váchalovian” – by the similarity to the work of Czech painter Josef Váchal- : the haunting visions of summoned ghosts, sometimes grotesque and sometimes almost frightening. But at the same time there is also something shamanic, because in Vaňura’s drawings we feel like in a jungle, where everything intertwines wildly, colours mix nauseously, shapes boil up from below. Were these drawings provoked by some “altered state of consciousness”?

The simplistic answer could be that Lukáš Vaňura has been in psychiatric care since the age of nineteen. But Vaňura himself would strongly disagree. It would indeed be misleading to view his art primarily as a direct reflection of psychosis or hallucinations. In fact, the drawings seem to emerge from spontaneous creative play, full of humor and a liberating mirth. As a result, they naturally help the artist to process and deal with the various constraints of the mental illness, giving him strength and perspective.

Lukáš Vaňura was born and lives in Prague. He has worked various jobs, such as bookbinding, basket weaving or waiting tables. When he reminisces about how he got into painting, he mentions art courses at art therapy studios, but also activity in the field of graffiti and street painting. He also recalls his experiences from exhibitions, including the Prague retrospective of Adolf Wölfli at the Stone Bell House. “What I consider to be real art, however, are Tibetan mandalas. I saw the creation, or rather the scattering of one of them, in Prague around 1998.”

Lukáš Vaňura not only draws, but also writes short stories and performs theatre (Psycheche Theatre, Ó divadlo). His life-story was depicted in Klára Jakubová’s film documentary Parallel Lives II in 2018. So far, has his art been represented only occasionally: he lists six exhibitions, the first of which took place in 2000 in a psychiatric hospital in Bohnice, and the others mostly in various cafés. The exhibition, which Vaňura named after his prose “Painter of Discoloration”, is probably the first time his work has been presented in the context of art brut.  

Text: Jaromír Typlt.

About the authors

The main circle of authors is formed by the persons who create in the Studio of Joyful Creation at Letná: Dagmar Filípková, Šárka Hojaková, Dominik Jirsa, Jarmila Jandová, Marie Kohoutková, Václav Kuklík, Marie Kůsová, Lorenzo, Karel Pajma, Lukáš Paleček, Vojtěch Proske, George Radojčič, Iveta Riminka Filí, Ladislav Svoboda will be presented here.

However, internationally known names such as Anna Zemánková or Zdeněk Košek will also be represented. Other authors who have already gained attention include Hana Fousková, La Inthonkaew, Ota Prouza, Helena Skalická and Tomáš Krupka.

Practical information

The gallery will be open five afternoons a week, Tuesday to Saturday 2 – 7pm.

www.artbrutpraha.cz
artbrut.praha@gmail.com
+420 606 028 942 (during opening hours)
+420 602 646 665 (out of hours)
Postal address: Galerie Art brut Praha, Resslova 300/6,
120 00 Praha 2 – Nové Město.

About the place and the founder

The gallery acquired its space after the renovation of a long unused technical building at St. Wenceslas Church in Zderaz.

The operator is the Altán Art association, which has so far been active mainly in Letná: in 2013 it opened the Studio of Joyful Creation here as the first Czech studio providing facilities for artists falling into the category of art brut, and in 2017 it opened up also to the wider public by establishing the ART Cultural and Community Centre, where senior citizens and people with disabilities develop their artistic interests together. Vladimír Drábek is the main representative of the association. More information on the website www.altanart.cz .

Curator

Jaromír Typlt (1973) is a poet, performer and essayist. During 2000-2010 he worked in Liberec as a curator of photography and contemporary art exhibitions at the Small Exhibition Hall and then at the U Rytíře Gallery. Since the end of the 1990s he has also helped to promote the work of overlooked authors, publishing the first book on Zdeněk Košek (2001), literary texts by Hana Fousková, František Novák and many others. In 2018, he started cooperation with the association Altán Art. He has long focused on the topic of “écrits bruts” – written expressions in art brut.

Gallery partners

Studio of Joyful Creation at Letná
Czechoslovak Hussite Church in Prague 2 – New Town
Graphic studio chapter
abcd praha

Media partners

Analogon
Revolver Revue
Souvislosti

I am convinced that a considerable circle of artists, those interested in art brut and the
professional public can form around the Art Brut Prague gallery in a very short time. The
project is a positive response not only to initiatives stemming from the vibrant undercurrent of
our spontaneous creativity, but also responds to calls from foreign cultural institutions to
strengthen the voice of outsider art, including by improving intercultural cooperation and
dialogue across European borders.

Pavel Konečný, art brut collector