Compassion for Plants

Anna Hulačová

Compassion for Plants, 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 work and the prism through which it is portrayed. Made of concrete and distinctive for its brutalist aesthetic, the work explores themes of identity in relation to 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, ceramic occupies an equally and increasingly important role in Hulačová’s recent works. Allowing for the introduction of color and new texture into her practice, Hulačová’s use of ceramic establishes a border between the interior and the exterior of the body/sculpture, allowing for the sculpture’s organic elements to gain an aesthetic of soft flesh. 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.