Adela Matasova (Czech Republic)

Adela Matasova, like so many of her contemporary artists in the Czech Republic, succeeded in continuing her work despite the restrictions of the communist regime up until 1989.

It is difficult to imagine how artists worked in Prague and elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain, when free expression was completely banned. There were, at that time, no opportunities to travel to see important exhibitions and art events, or to engage in any open exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Matasova studied interior design followed by a Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. In the late sixties a UNESCO scholarship enabled her to live and work in Paris for two months. On her return to Prague she was involved in reliefs and sculptural forms, including large architectural pieces. Working first in plaster of Paris, followed by similar forms in fibreglass resin, Matasova spent much of her time producing large installations. These experimental statements were influenced by her strong musical and theatrical interest.

During the last decade Matasova has worked in flax-paper pulp. She has made images using crushed paper supported by drawings. She has ventured further, creating large installations which are often presented with amplified music by contemporary composers from around the world. The placing of layer upon layer in Matasova's early work, appears again in her more recent paper installations.

Matasova is now free to develop more awareness of her own existence. Her early work, which had often been sombre and heavily clouded, has given way to lighter, more hopeful expression. Formerly concerned with disclosing the secrets of natural processes, Matasova now investigates the decomposing flax fibres brought back to life by her creative processes. She manipulates these materials so that they express a vision of the spiritual world.

Until 1989 Matasova's life lacked interchange with students. Since then she has become a Lecturer in the Fine Arts Department of the College for Art and Design in Prague. Now her dialogue with younger artists and students and their acceptance of her work have given her new experiences and hope.

Jutta Feddersen
SOFT SCULPTURE (article from book)