Adriena Šimotová

Adriena Šimotová

Adriena Šimotová ranks to doyens of Czech post-war fine arts. Her emotive, very feminine oeuvre has always been linked with a profound ethical credit and repute. Šimotová graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague where she also first met her future husband, painter Jiří John, as well as many colleagues who later formed the basis of the art group UB 12. In the 1960s, Šimotová not only exhibited with the above-mentioned group but also held solo exhibitions at rather prestigious places in Prague (e.g. 1964 – Československý spisovatel [The Czech Writers’ Gallery]; 1968 – the Václav Špála Gallery) and participated at the Sao Paolo Biennial and the Biennial of Youth in San Marino. On a regular basis, she moreover contributed to the Biennial of Graphic Arts, held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, with her works, where she was awarded many prices including Grand Prix. After Šimotová’s husband John died in 1972 in result of a severe illness, her work underwent many significant turnovers: she abandoned the territory of painting, began using fabrics and further expanded into space. In the late 1970s, she again started exhibiting, even though only in private and unofficially. The main importance was given to direct communication with viewers, elements of installation and performance. The next decade, however, partially returned Šimotová to the international context, as she began exhibiting in West Berlin, Paris, and London. She at the same time regularly traveled to work to the Franciscan monastery in the Czech city of Hostinné, where she installed several unofficial exhibitions. In 1986, the leading Moravian art historian, Jiří Valoch, organized Šimotová’s first retrospective which was very warmly accepted in the unofficial circles – and, even though it occurred on the official grounds, no one from the ranks of the ruling Communist Party attacked it. Till the end of the 1980s, Šimotová held numerous exhibitions in non-conform exhibition halls, not only in Prague but also in regional museums and galleries throughout Czechoslovakia or, respectively, the Czech Republic. After the so-called 1989 Velvet Revolution, her first retrospective, curated by Jaromír Zemina, was held in the Prague City Gallery as early as in 1990. At that time, she also was invited for a three-month scholarship in the Centre Pompidou studio in Paris. A year later, she was awarded the French Order of the Knight of Arts and Literature. In brief, Šimotová’s exhibition activities, occurring both in her home country and abroad, have become a matter-of-course equally as the artist’s visits to her beloved France. And although her son Martin John prematurely died at the age of 34 in 1994, Šimotová have not ceased working and exhibiting frantically. In the 1990s, she gave several lectures at the summer art school in Salzburg, where she also had the chance to encounter many of her globally renowned colleagues – Nancy Spero, Roman Opałka, and Hermann Nitsch. Her human and artistic profiles were awarded by the Medal of Honor of the First Rank, which she received from the President of the Czech Republic in 1997. Simultaneously, she witnessed the publication of her book of confessions and poetry, entitled A Head to Browse Through (Hlava k listování). In 2001, the National Gallery in Prague organized an extensive retrospective of her work in the Trade Fair Palace. The event was accompanied by a comprehensive monograph, published by the Pecka Gallery and edited by Pavel Brunclík. Adriena Šimotová has become a personality of global renown and respect who had fairly contributed to the contemporary fine arts with her sensitive exploration of human co-existence. And even though she mainly moves within the delicate web of intimate family relationships, her message far exceeds the level of the personal, touching upon social-cultural relations – sometimes, she even refers to almost metaphysical links between the past and the present. After the considerate social “easing” of the Czech society in the 1960s, followed by the Soviet occupation, Šimotová has ranked herself to artists who more or less exhibited on an unofficial basis. Her first more significant exhibition was organized in the prestigious gallery, the House of the Kunštát Lords in Brno, only as late as in 1986. After 1989, she worked on scholarships in the spaces provided by the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In the 1990s, she lived to see her large retrospective, held in the National Gallery in Prague. Šimotová’s oeuvre is almost monothematic. It always touches upon our relations with those who are the closest to us, our most beloved ones. This is also why it has been so widely and emphatically accepted everywhere. For many years, Šimotová has dedicated much effort to the subtle messages bespeaking of the power of human relations. In her work, she employs soft hand-made and silken papers and slightly applied pigments, at the same time totally ignoring the evanescence of the resulting works that tell us stories about the most firm links among generations. Šimotová’s works as if almost moved on the very edge of representation and at the same time aboud with contents… They are as profoundly sensual as spiritual.


Artworks of this author offered by Prague Art & Design

No title | Adriena ŠimotováNo title | Adriena Šimotová | Adriena ŠimotováThe Eighth Dream Dreamt by R. M. Rilke | Adriena ŠimotováSpoon | Adriena Šimotová | Adriena Šimotová

Adriena Šimotová

* 1926, Prague, Czech Republic

Solo Exhibitions

2001 | Adriena Simotova, Retrostective
2001 | Adriena Simotova, Drawings
2003 | Oeuvres graphiques, Adriena Simotova
2004 | Adriena Simotova, École des Beaux - Arts
2004 | Adriena Simotova - Face
2011 |  Adriena Šimotová, A Minor Glance Back 1975–91
2011 | Adriena Šimotová - Revelations (2008–10)

Group Exhibitions

Three (together with J. Merta and J. Cernicky)

Parallel lines - Adriena Šimotová / Josef Bolf