29 Sept – 24 Nov 2018
In Anna Hulačová: Graceful ride, table–like horizontal surfaces are inset with abstracted forms which mutate from cell structures, micro-organisms or insect’s internal organs, within a biosphere of variable proportions. This unknown micro–macro space is the ground into which the artist plants a web of symbolic citations, from tradition, mythology and history.
Hulačová’s visual language is expressed through her work’s materiality: cement surfaces of varying textures are applied to underlying sub-structures; smooth planes of cement, or inset aluminium and paper panels are drawn on with flowing lines of graphite pencil; honeycomb and other natural materials are imbedded within forms’ internal chambers; flesh-like and waxy surfaces are formed from complex polymers.
Hulačová repurposes Czech visual culture through the 20th Century to create an imagined cultural representation of the world we find ourselves in today. Hulačová’s borrows from and updates the tropes and subjects of Soviet-era sculpture, the country’s post-war spirit of the future and 1950’s agricultural collectivisation. In Graceful ride Hulačová taps into paradigms of representation in past, present and future, sometimes quoting directly from sculpture history, at other times more loosely.
Insect physiology, sexual habits and collective dynamics are a common thread through Graceful ride, particularly in relation to human society. Without mechanics around it, a stripped-out tractor engine is transforming into an insect form; industry becoming integrated as part of an organic whole. In an inset, two dragonflies gleefully mate – insects who combine their bodies during intercourse to create a single eight-winged flying entity. A high relief frieze depicts bee-keepers, taking over the grand gestures of Soviet cosmonauts. The insect is represented as an industrialised worker, the worker integrated into an organic system.
Anna Hulačová: Graceful ride will be accompanied by a small reader to be released after the opening, including texts by Thomas Cuckle and Nils Alix-Tabeling. The exhibition is supported by Czech Centre London and Techo | Royal Ahrend. Anna Hulačová’s work is shown courtesy of Hunt Kastner, Prague.