Cavin-Morris Gallery is honored to present the work of two masterful Czech artists, Luboš Plný (b. 1961) and Anna Zemánková (1908-1986). Sixteen of Zemánková’s drawings were included in the Venice Biennale of 2013 under the curatorship of Massimiliano Gioni, and eight of Plný’s collaged drawings are included in the current Venice Biennale organized by Christine Macel. Both artists have received major world recognition in the last ten years. Cavin-Morris Gallery has been fortunate enough to have worked with Plný since 2005, and with Zemánková since 1991.
In Walt Whitman’s powerful poem, “I Sing The Body Electric,” he equates the physical body with the human soul. No matter how microscopically we examine the human body, even down to basic DNA, there remains ultimately a mystery. That mystery is the repository for the soul. Plný and Zemánková follow this intuition with similar intentionality, but with very different processes and results. Plný works as a master of physical dissection, creating complex physical beauty; Zemánková approaches her work almost as an animist, infusing corporeal realities with essential manifestations of the soul.
Plný was in the military when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia simplex, a non-hallucinatory manifestation of the disease. He was withdrawn and did not desire social intercourse. On his own he began to study psychiatric and medical texts as a way of coming to terms with his condition. Plný processed this information in the form of intricate collaged drawings, where he took himself (and those around him) apart layer by layer to observe the workings of the body and mind. The amount of detail in these large drawings coupled with their beautiful strangeness, soon catapulted him into public appreciation. In this exhibition we are pleased to present a number of new works by Plný including a large triptych, which is a form of his that has not previously been shown in the United States.
Zemánková made her deeply pigmented and visionary drawings in a self-imposed solitude in the early hours of the morning. It was a way to combat a deepening and almost crippling depression brought on by the dissolution of her marriage, simultaneous with her children leaving home when they came of age. All her repressed sensuality and fierce need to nurture came out in these fantastic forms of reinvented Nature. For this exhibition we have chosen earlier works made before her first public exhibition, well before she began signing her name to her creations. Anna Zemánková will be presented at the Collection de l'art Brut, Lausanne June 9 – November 26, 2017, in a large solo exhibition that will also feature a catalog in multiple languages.
Both artists sing the intense razor’s edge of exaltation and sheer physicality. Both work to shape the mundane miraculous. Both of these artists lived and live intense lives through their art making, and both artists consciously and obsessively sing the Body Electric.
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