František Skála at the Riding School: Wandering in Wonderland

František Skála exhibition @ Waldstein Riding School till 03.09.2017

With his wide range of artistic talents, František Skála is a well-known Czech artist (sculptor, painter, children's book illustrator, musician, and performer). After he completed the University of Applied Arts in Prague (VŠUP) in film and television graphics in 1982, he started as a children’s book illustrator and his illustrations were awarded the “Most Beautiful Book of the Year Prize” several times by the Czech Ministry of Culture. Along with illustrations, he also started creating paintings and sculptures. His works are mostly a combination of many different materials and techniques, reflecting nature and humanity through his unique vision.

“With a mixture of humor and graveness, sarcasm and respect, monumentalness and tender sensitivity he creates most of his variations on natural objects,” writes Ludvík Hlaváček, a Czech curator, about Skála. “However beside sensitive communications with nature, he reflects in his works other parts of human life, i.e. the creation and processing of synthetic substances.”

František Skála’s current exhibition at the Wallenstein Riding School is one of the best “illustrations” for his unique artistic styles. The exhibit includes several small rooms with different projects on themes including tribal, dreaming, privacy, and mutation. This is why the exhibition is described as “museums within a museum.” The displayed artworks vary from paintings to mix-media sculptures. From one room to another, the exhibit takes visitors through a journey of dreams, nature, and human lives physically and emotionally, leaving visitors with curiosity and questions about the connections of the works and the artist and curators’ purposes.

The Wallenstein Riding School, known for its exhibitions of classic arts, is also an interesting choice of venue for Skála’s works. However, Skála and curator Tomáš Pospiszyl have worked to create a dreamy space with a combination of artificial and natural lights, unequal and crooked small areas, and an unconventional placement of artworks. Visitors are free to get lost in this wonderland of visual objects created from Skála’s dreams; for instance, the House of Dreams collection at the beginning of the exhibition in the Pavillon room illustrating the notion of Skála’s dream palace. The pieces are transparent, reflecting the colorful light from outdoors.

One of the most impressive works in the exhibition is Kulér in the Privat (Private) room displays a giant cocoon sleeping in a dark room with a bed, curtains, small working desks, a pair of in-house slippers, and decorations. The room gives visitors a glance into the artist’s private bedroom. The artwork presents a question of privacy and surveillance, or reality and dream. Is the room a dream of the artist or is the cocoon the artist himself dreaming?

Another highlight, throughout the exhibition, is the tribal theme. There is a room displaying tribal artifacts collected by Skála, and from there, visitors can continue on a sort of tribal dream of Skála’s with many other interesting tribal-influenced works on both floors.

The exhibition by František Skála runs until September 3 to give visitors a chance to enter his unique, artistic wonderland. Visitors can interpret the exhibition as many small pieces of art, which are not related, or as a strange dream that one might have. The exhibit leaves visitors not only with wonderment, but also awe and admiration for the artist’s massive creativity.

Wallenstein Riding School

Valdštejnská 3, Praha 1 - Malá Strana, 118 00
Opened until 3.9.2017
Full CZK 200 | Reduced CZK 100 | Family ticket CZK 350 | School groups CZK 30 | Younger 10 years free

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