Footprints (Stopy) by Eva Kmentová
The installation/exhibition of Eva Kmentová, which, in a broader sense, became one of the most interesting statements of Czech sculpture in the expanded field, took place at the end of the Jindřich Chalupecký era at Václav Špála Gallery. Kmentová, who belonged to the strong Czech postwar generation, was a member of the Trasa group. Exhibition Footprints (Stopy) consisted of dozens of plaster casts of author’s foot, which led from the entrance all the way to the first floor where they disappeared in the infinite outside space beyond the glass wall. This installation created the impression that somebody had left their footprints in plaster as they passed through the gallery. At 6 P.M. on the opening night, Kmentová proceeded to give out the plaster casts to those in attendance.
The radical shortening of the exhibition to a single day was due to the political situation at that time and the pressure of the onset of normalization. The Václav Špála Gallery led by Jindřich Chalupecký was closed not long after this exhibition. This exhibition was thus essentially limited to the opening, and the entire work then became more of a happening. The principle, however, is just the opposite: the viewer is not invited to take part in creating the work, but to be involved in its deconstruction, or deinstallation if you will. An exhibition opening is in itself an act of gradual disruption of the work by those present, who are de facto invited to deconstruct its material essence. Only the invisible and absent body remains, leaving its plaster footprints on the gallery floor, but even these disappear in the social situation of the opening.
Kmentová began to break free from modernist variations of figural sculpture in the latter half of the 1960s. In 1966, she began using prints of her own body, lips, fingers and feet in her works. Her exhibition at the Václav Špála Gallery was a synthesis of her work with her own body and figural sculpture, contemplation of the laws of space and the imprints of time in it, but also an exceptional sense for the presentation of an artwork as a part of the architecture and landscape of a specific place.
Pavlína Morganová – Terezie Nekvindová – Dagmar Svatošová, Výstava jako médium. České umění 1957−1999, AVU, Prague 2020, pp. 490-497.
Jindřich Chalupecký, Na hranicích umění. Několik příběhů, Karel Jadrný Verlag, München, 1987.
Marie Klimešová (ed.), Eva Kmentová, exh. cat., Severočeská galerie výtvarného umění v Litoměřicích, 2003; Západočeská galerie v Plzni, 2003; Muzeum Kampa, Prague, 2004.
Ludmila Vachtová, Teď. Práce Evy Kmentové, Arbor vitae – Moravská galerie v Brně, Prague, 2006.
Date: 17 March 1970
Curator: Jindřich Chalupecký
Participant: Eva Kmentová (1928–1980)
Location: Václav Špála Gallery, Prague