Smiling Dogma

Anna Hulačová

Smiling Dogma, 2022

The work of 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 inspired by modernist figuration and Eastern European socialist sculpture.

Despite its individuality, the bust as a sculptural category is a reoccurring theme in the work of the artist, creating 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 motive of the sculpture and the prism through which it is portrayed. Made of concrete and distinctive for its brutalist aesthetic, the work explores themes of identity concerning the culture of individualism and anonymity characteristic of our contemporary post-capitalist condition. Depicted as enclosed entities with no obvious relation to their surroundings, the alienation of these creatures is emphasized by the abstract nature of their faces and attributes, the aesthetic of which resembles the Middle Ages. A period characterized by so-called timelessness, the work is a reference to historical civilism and a merging of the contemporary and the historical, pointing to the many affinities between the past, present, and our collective future. Making concrete the primary construction material of her sculptures, drawing continues to occupy an equally important role in Hulačová’s works. Determining usually the facial features of the sculptures, the greyness of the drawing resembles the greyness of the sculpture’s primary material, while introducing a new texture and an element of abstraction closely tied here to 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. The multiplicity of the work’s materiality then emphasizes our time’s hybrid nature, where seemingly distant or even opposed forms merge and mutate into a new and increasingly ambiguous reality.

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.