Kája Saudek & 60's

A Czech Center Prague exhibition showcases the work of 'The King of Czech Comic Books'

Until January 2, 2010, Prague's Czech Center (České Centrum) is hosting the exhibition Kája Saudek & 60's, charting the significant contribution made by the "king of Czech comic books" to the country's pre-1989 pop culture.

As well as authoring daring comic books such as Honza Hrom ("Johnny Thunder") (1968) and Pepík Hipík (1969), Saudek also turned his hand to film, graphic design and illustration work.

On the exhibition's ground floor, you'll find comics, magazines and film projections related to one of Saudek's best-known characters: the sexy Jessie.

The character was inspired by Olga Schoberová, who also played the role in the 1966 film Kdo chce zabít Jessii? ("Who Wants To Kill Jessie?").

In fact, Saudek was engaged to Schoberová in the early '60s but met his wife Hana while working on this film. Hana would go on to appear in many Saudek comics, either as Superhana or Supermanuela, triumphing over Schoberová's agent G-030.

The next hall covers the work Kája did with his twin brother, internationally acclaimed photographer Jan Saudek.

The two shared similar artistic ideas and, together, produced a collection of images in which Kája added drawings and speech bubbles to Jan's photographs.

Unfortunately, some of these pictures were confiscated by the police in 1964 and can't be shown to the public.

Downstairs, you'll find some of Kája's work as a graphic designer for Pop Music Express, one of the publications to emerge in the more relaxed atmosphere of 1968's "Prague Spring."

For the magazine's first edition, printed on newsprint, Saudek produced the logo, headlines, illustrations and advertisements, and also contributed a Honza Hrom comic strip for the back page.

The last section of the exhibition is dedicated to Saudek's comic strips.

Among his work's most distinctive features are the uses of shaded characters, humor hidden away in carefully drawn details and various double-meanings and anagrams, as well as his habit of populating his comic strips with real people.

In Saudek's work it's possible to recognize his relatives, friends, wife and even the artist himself.

The composition schemes used by Saudek in the '60s were influenced by mainstream art styles such as art nouveau and pop art, making his comics a good way to learn more about culture in general at that time.

In summary, this exhibition offers an overview of Kája Saudek's career and, at the same time, an insight into Czech comic books and Czech culture in general.

Information is presented in both Czech and English, although the comics themselves aren't translated.

Czech Center Praha
(České centrum Praha)
Rytířská 31, Prague 1
Phone: (+420) 234 668 501
Metro: Národní třída (line B)
Tram: Národní třída
Website: http://www.czechcentres.cz/prague


Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10am-6pm
Wednesday: 10am: 6pm
Thursday: 10am-6pm
Friday: 10am-6pm
Saturday: 12 Noon-6pm
Sunday: Closed

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