Call for papers
The Traces of Eva Kmentová – Local and International Context

The Traces of Eva Kmentová – Local and International Context

An international conference
3. – 4. 11. 2023

Eva Kmentová's (1928-1980) work is well known in the Czech cultural environment and in recent decades. Already during her lifetime, and certainly after her premature death, the artist became one of the legends of Czech post-war art, an important representative of a strong female generation, and her work became the subject of gradual evaluation and re-evaluation. In the last two decades of the twentieth century, the interpretation of Eva Kmentová's creativity and life followed the emancipatory framework of the time - political liberalisation in the 1960s and ideological control of artistic work in the 1970s seemed to correspond with the development of her sculptures. The promising development was interrupted by external circumstances, and Kmentová's promising career was stalled, with only a private circle of friends able to follow her. In connection with the re-establishment of contacts and the internationalisation of Czech art after 1989, the parallels between Kmentová's life and art with other internationally recognised artists (Alina Szapocznikow, Eva Hesse, Mária Bartuszová) has repeatedly been noted. The similar form of some of the works is accompanied by similar content, but also by many original solutions.

The purpose of the planned conference is to clarify the Czech art historical approach to Eva Kmentová's work, while also acquiring outside reflection. It is structured around two main themes.

The first thematic focus will deal with the working conditions of the artist-sculptor in the cultural environment of socialist Czechoslovakia. How did the artist respond to the specific manner of existence of the visual arts based on state/public commissions? In this environment, how did she balance the social demand and individual creative self-expression? We ask how the artist was influenced by the socialist regime, but also by her social and family environment. What were the dynamics of her relationships in the 1960s and 1970s? The gender aspects of artistic life are also undoubtedly important. How did women sculptors cope with the contemporary status of a female artist? How was Eva Kmentová's artistic career influenced by her illness and physical inadequacies?

The second thematic focus will feature comparative studies of selected artistic practices from the 1950s to the 1970s. It is not only the progressive formal elements of the work of related sculptors, but also its content. Experimentation with materials and exploration of corporeality not only as an individual and progressive agenda, but a broader response by women artists to their contemporary social context. How did Kmentová's conditions differ from other women artists working on different sides of the “Iron Curtain”? What kind of alternative do they bring to the story of art in former socialist countries? How to assess the current conjuncture of exhibitions of related sculptors from Eastern Europe? If they are perceived as a significant step towards their appreciation, should they not primarily represent a call for their restructuring rather than a call to complement existing canons? What levels of meaning do we find in the imprint/casting for the sculptor's statement? What was the meaning of sculptural processuality and ephemerality? What new impulses did the use of written language bring to contemporary sculpture?

The conference THE TRACES OF EVA KMENTOVÁ - LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT is part of the accompanying programme for the exhibition Eva Kmentová at the Brno House of Arts, which takes place from 22 August to 19 November 2023.

Please send proposals for contributions by 31 July 2023 to [obfuscate_1_|106|92|99|95|111|63|91|108|107|42|116|100|92|108|102|45|90|113] (annotation of maximum 1,800 characters and a brief CV).
Selection and notification of inclusion in the conference: no later than 31 August 2023
Documentation for interpretation of the paper and delivery of accompanying images: no later than 15 October 2023
In case of inclusion of the paper in the conference, we offer accommodation and a symbolic honorarium of 1000,- CZK.