Anna Zemánková mentioned that she solely created flowers—apparently, she felt a pure affinity to them, surrounding herself not solely with recent flora but additionally its plastic counterparts. Her fertile, vibrant overflow of drawings, work, and collages overwhelms and might even event delirious nausea within the fortuitous curator inspecting her sizable archive. What makes her story so fascinating is that it started fairly late, across the 12 months 1958, when she was about 50 years outdated. Again then, her sons discovered a small suitcase within the attic that was full of easy work. After they learnt that she had painted them, many many years in the past, they persuaded her to take up work on paper once more, for amusement. Their mom was going via a private disaster and experiencing long-term discontent; her youngsters had lengthy left the nest and didn’t require her care anymore, whereas the connection along with her husband was disharmonious. She was holding in an inordinate quantity of power that wanted to blow up.
Her craving for inventive realisation arrived out of the blue and solely started as a way of self-preservation and pleasure—the meticulous labour introduced her satisfaction and a deeper potential for turning into “her personal individual.” Quickly, diversion grew to become a necessity. She would get up round 4 within the morning and begin to paint whereas listening to classical music, unable to create in silence. Her hand first lined contours of the most important volumes, then it turned to form the smaller items, and at last, it stumbled on the lacing of tiny particulars. Her former observe as a dental practitioner manifested itself in her meticulousness—within the filigree fillings and arabesques of her artworks.
Anna’s inventive impetus originated someplace deep inside and was an intuitive, moderately than rational course of—as soon as her hand had drawn a form, that form immediately birthed one other. The writer claimed that she couldn’t hint the precise supply of her creativeness, however, the work inspired her to free herself from matter and to harmonise her soul. Though these info may evoke spiritualism in artwork—Hilma af Klint’s works may floor within the thoughts’s eye—she by no means spoke about any divine energy at play. Being a self-taught artist, she needed to devise her personal technique—the religion in her ingenuity grew to become her driving power in addition to a supply of satisfaction.
We might assume that her aesthetic desire was knowledgeable by the people costumes of the Haná area, herbariums, memorials, the exalted high quality of baroque, or even perhaps the ornamental curves of artwork nouveau. Nevertheless, even a mere glimpse assures us that these vegetation weren’t fashioned from terrestrial matter. They typically vibrate with an ominous mystique, and in her drawings, we might sometimes observe alien our bodies and formations (she was a agency believer in extraterrestrial civilisations). It’s generally unclear whether or not we’re standing head to head with objects of orders of magnitude a number of occasions decrease or increased—witnessing tissues and division of cells, seaweed, amorphous protozoa, or planetary explosions. This psychological vegetation defies the legal guidelines of physics, and the one factor binding it to Earth is that it certainly normally grows upwards. In any other case, it exists in a vacuum moderately than in humid air.
Anna took satisfaction in her distinctive and nonrecurrent output; permutations of vegetation as language, inside construction, and topic of her work. Varied authors dealt straight with ontological processes and the libidinal want to self-impregnate of their interpretations of her work as a result of the world of vegetation naturally invitations such reasoning. Nevertheless, the matter she created is otherworldly, extra engaging and succulent than nature itself—at occasions, even sinful.
The artist found, even invented methods on her personal phrases, not having obtained any formal artwork schooling. Initially, she labored with pencil and tempera paint, watercolour, then with dry pastel, oil pastel, and crayons. There was a time when she used to cowl her drawings with cooking oil to seal them and supply translucence—it didn’t happen to her that the oil would soak in and depart an ugly stain across the contours. She composed collages out of paper snippings or satin, then sewed beads and sequins into them. With a needle, she punched via paper and embossed it with reliefs.
At her house in communist-era Prague, she constructed a personal “fairytale kingdom,” surrounding herself with kitschy issues. That’s as a result of—in accordance with her household—she most well-liked standard magnificence in her dwelling house. In her creative observe, it was the opposite approach round—she appears to be bolder in her inventive expression. Typically, she needed to exert an virtually superhuman focus to provide tens of 1000’s of dots and features within the drawings’ particulars, with out errors and smudges, with the ability and rigours which might have additionally been vital for her former job.
at Sophie Tappeiner, Vienna
till October 8, 2022