Portrait with Paph Orchid

Anna Hulačová

Portrait with Paph Orchid, 2021

The work of Czech artist Anna Hulačová is ingrained deeply in the medium of sculpture. Exploring through a range of traditional sculptural techniques, the intricate set of relations between the animate and the digital, evolution and mutation, the local and the global, utopia and dystopia, Hulačová forms a distinct artistic language, characteristic for its formal and thematic richness, associative symbolism, and formal ties with the past. Inspired by modernist figuration and Eastern European socialist sculpture, Hulačová’s work depicts themes of labor, industrialization, and the family nucleus.

Despite its individuality, the bust as a sculptural category is a reoccurring theme in the work of the artist. It creates a tension between the collectivist attributes of social sculpture inherent to Hulačová’s work and the individualist subject depicted, resulting in an ongoing negotiation between the subject of the work and the prism through which it is portrayed. Made of concrete and distinctive for its brutalist aesthetic, the group of busts explores the theme of identity. Identity is a crucial subject for Hulačová, namely concerning her understanding of the contemporary human within the digital age, whose character remains obscured as re-shaped by the virtual reality distinctive for our present time. Stripped of their identity through the absence of the face that is replaced by drawing, ceramic glaze ornament, or digital print, the sculptures translate a heightened sense of ambiguity. Although these heterogenous creatures bear female attributes, their individuality remains concealed, gender unspoken. The greyness of concrete, the primary material of the sculptures, gives these works a post-apocalyptic feeling, placing them somewhere between reality and fiction, between the past, the present, and a possible post-capitalist future.

Anna Hulačová has exhibited her work at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Netherlands; Baltic Triennial, Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius; Prague City Gallery; Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace, Prague; Biennale Gherdeina, Ortisei, Italy; National Gallery, Trade Fair Palace, Prague; K11 MUSEA, Hong Kong; MO.CO. Montpellier Contemporaine, France; West Bohemian Gallery, Pilsen, Czech Republic; East Slovak Regional Gallery, Košice, Slovakia; CEAAC, Strasbourg, France, and Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg, among others.