The concentrated, intellectually clearly defined and always topical work of Adéla Matasová has been one of the most important contributions to Czech art since the 1960s. This artist has always managed to respond in a stimulating manner to the latest artistic tendencies, enriching them through original expressive concepts and unique interpretations inspired by her unwavering interest in the latest developments. Although she graduated from the Academy of Fine Art in 1964 with a focus on monumental painting, since the very beginning of her career she has focused on constantly expanding experimental artistic forms and methods. Besides working with drawing and graphic techniques, in the late 1960s she turned to innovative reliefs and spatial realizations made with the use of epoxy resin. During the following decade, she began to explore a new material – hand-made linen paper, which in her often monumental works allowed her to focus on processual artistic approaches and on her own physicality. After 1989, she took an increased interest in complex spatial installations and also produced numerous site-specific works. She also enriched her portfolio of materials by the use of steel. The reflective qualities of this high-class material inspired Matasová to engage in further experimentation focused on the kinetic and interactive possibilities of the art object. This dynamic form of artistic expression logically culminated in her use of various different forms of the technical image. When working with photography, Matasová exposes her own performing body and makes use of the tension springing from the manipulation of data files.

With Metasystems, Matasová has put together a diverse set of works that, seen from a chronological perspective, represents the full range of her long-term concentrated artistic practice. Nevertheless, the exhibition should not be seen as an attempt at presenting a retrospective look back at her work to date. It has been conceived and structured in such a manner as to allow the exhibited works of art to express Matasová’s basic focus on metasystemic wholes. These are found in subjects associated with a reflection of the organic structures captured in her early drawings, in civilizational themes combining the environment, the landscape, and urban scenes, in symbolic forms recalling the scale of the human body and architectural symbols representing the essence of European culture, in rational laws based on the scientific experiments and natural order, and last but not least in every individual’s social anchoring as mediated by their physicality in relation to the world around him. These themes will variously overlap at the exhibition, influencing one another in order to logically reflect the very essence of Adéla Matasová’s metasystems and her work – namely the fact that a consequential and critical reconfiguration of relationships can lead to a paradigm shift while preserving existing parameters.

Michal Koleček

Adéla Matasová was born in Prague in 1940. From 1958 to 1964, she studied monumental painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, first under Vladimír Sychra and then under Arnošt Paderlík. After graduation, she became an active participant in the country’s art, at the time characterized by a vibrant atmosphere associated with the political and cultural thaw of the late 1960s. She showed her work at group exhibitions, including New Names at Prague’s Václav Špála Gallery in 1967. The following year, she received a UNESCO scholarship to study in France. Her first solo exhibitions were for the Ostrov Summer Palace and for Prague’s Fronta Gallery in 1971 and 1972. During Normalization and the 1980s, Matasová kept a conscious distance from official culture, only to make a name for herself with renewed energy on the Czech and international scene after 1989. In the early 1990s – specifically, in 1991 – she put together an exhibition at Prague’s Nová Síň exhibition hall, and in 1997 she held her first large retrospective show at the Prague National Gallery’s Kinský Palace. More than ten years later, in 2008, she followed up with a representative showing of her work titled Speak to Me at Prague’s Museum Kampa. From 1990 to 2003, Matasová was employed as studio head at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, where she significantly contributed to expanding conceptual and intermedia tendencies. Alongside her activities on the local art scene, she has also been intensively involved on the international level. Undoubtedly one of her most significant foreign projects so far is the exhibition Hidden Images at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in 2004.