" Just touch it ! " says Zoubek´s art (Bohemia, CZ)


There are only a few pieces of modern art that evoke in people romantic ideas, sadness, and happiness at the same time. There are only a few contemporary visual artists who can provoke and at the same time keep a certain level of traditionalism and continue the legacy of the old sculpture masters. For me, one of those artists is, now 90 year old, sculptor Olbram Zoubek.

Maestro Zoubek became famous for his sculptures of elongated figures, created out of interesting materials such as concrete and various metals. These beautiful, slim sculptures are supposedly inspired by his late first wife, Eva Kmentová, who was no less important than him, and whose work we can find around Prague. The best known is perhaps a bronze cast of a plump figure, named Woman in the Sun, shown at a museum of contemporary art Kampa - the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation. However, you would probably walk by sculptures located at Prague's panel housing estates without as much as a notice, since nobody would expect to find valuable art there. Statues at panel housing estates were created during totality and Olbram created them as well. 

Most of the photographs capture statues in Litomyšl, where they beautifully complement genius loci of the monastery and château gardens. Quite amazing is the fountain, where you can refresh yourself during summer, while symphony music plays out of speakers. It is no accident that Olbram Zoubek also became the town's honorary citizen. Either way, he contributed in a major way to the beautification of the gardens. However, he did that only after he sensitively restored Litomyšl chateau. 

Both of the spouses had problems with the communist regime but despite that, they continued to create and they did not hesitate to stand up to the regime with their artworks. After all, Olbram Zoubek became most famous for this death mask of Jan Palach, who immolated himself at the Wenceslav Square a few months after Soviet occupation in 1968. After the revolution, he was approached with an offer to create a memorial to the victims of communism, which now dominates Prague's Újezd district. Unfortunately, Eva Kmentova did not live to see the Velvet Revolution. She died in 1980. Olbram married a gallery owner Marie who became, just like his first wife, the subject of his sculptures.

Olbram Zoubek

is a Czech sculptor and restorer, born 1926 in Prague. His most famous works are the Memorial and the grave cover of Jan Palach and the Memorial to the Victims of Communism.

He has lived and worked most of his life in Prague districts of Žižkov and New Town, and also in Litomyšl.

Currently, he alternates between living in Prague and Litomyšl, which he embellished with his sculptures and where he organized his latest big exhibition.

The largest retrospective exhibition was held two years earlier at Prague Castle, and it presented 300 works seen by 30 000 visitors. 

The article and photographs of Litomyšl gardens are authored by me but the last three photographs were borrowed without a permission from Wikipedia and here is the link.