In 2012, DOX put on a large retrospective exhibition of the work of
leading Czech sculptor Karel Nepraš. In cooperation with the artist’s
family, DOX presents a reconstruction of the well-known sculptural group Family Ready
for Departure, which Nepraš created after his return from his brief
emigration in 1969
within the scope of the Spatial Forms Symposium in Ostrava.
Due to the clear political subtext of its name and its reference to
emigration from a country occupied by Warsaw Pact troops, and
despite petitions to preserve the results of the symposium,
sculpture fell victim to Normalization hysteria and was
destroyed. For Karel Nepraš, political developments in
Czechoslovakia following 1968 meant dramatic restrictions in terms of
exhibition opportunities, participation in the international art world,
and the ability to develop his work.
Karel Nepraš had fervently hoped that the sculpture could be re-created, and after years of effort, his family succeeded.
It was reconstructed during the years 2011 to 2015.
It is a second casting made according to the original drawings and 1:1 wooden models.
“From the moment Family Ready for Departure was destroyed, my father was
trying to re-create it. Given the political situation of the day that
was impossible, and after the revolution it didn’t occur due to a lack
of funds. At the end of the 1990s its eventual installation in front of
the Trade Fair Palace was being considered, but in the end did not come
to pass either. After that, my father hoped that the sculpture could be
renewed in connection with the retrospective exhibition that was being
prepared. It didn’t take place because he died.
In the beginning, re-creation of the Family seemed to me so demanding
and costly that I was unable to imagine it occurring otherwise than in
cooperation with some large company. I contacted Třinecké železárny
[Třinec Steelworks], where the sculpture had originally been made. But
then I began its creation with several smaller companies. This solution
(without a sponsor and without the certainty of a large company’s
experience) was probably a more difficult one, but I didn’t have to make
Karel Nepraš (1932
– 2002) is one of the most important Czech artists of the second half of the
twentieth century. He belonged to a generation that was responsible for the
flowering of the Czech art scene during the 1960s. He first became notorious
for his humorous drawings, on which his subsequent sculptural work was also
based. He characterized his work as an encounter between humour and
seriousness. The humour in his work was not only an artistic strategy, but also
a defensive mechanism; it was a way of preserving one’s sanity in an absurd