Zorka Ságlová

1942Humpolec, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) | 2003Prague, Czech Republic
Informations
Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Zorka Ságlová, Hazeni micu do pruhonickeho rybnika Borin [Throwing Balls into Bořín Pond in Průhonice], April 1969, project August 1968, Photo Jan Ságl

Czech visual and performance artist.

Zorka Ságlová was born in 1942 in Humpolec as Zorka Jirousová, but spent most of her life in Prague. In the years 1960-66 she studied in the textile studio of Professor Antonín Kybal (1901-1971) at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. After graduation, Z. Ságlová worked on paintings and relief structures, following geometric abstraction and kinetic art. Her spatial objects formed by colourful geometric elements were displayed in 1968 at Nová citlivost (New Sensitivity), an exhibition considered a turning point in post-war Czech art.
At the end of the 1960s, she moved her artistic activities outside the gallery, organising several performative outdoor actions in which her family and friends took part. In the years 1969-1972 she organised four open-air events, documented by the photographer Jan Ságl (1942-), whom she had married in 1964. These collective performances combined land-art aesthetics with an absurd sense of humour and references to local legends and Czech history. Z. Ságlova contributed to the formation of unofficial Czech culture and maintained close contacts with the underground music community. Among the participants of her actions were her brother, poet and dissident Ivan Martin Jirous with his wife, art historian Věra Jirousová and members of music groups The Primitives Group and The Plastic People of the Universe. She collaborated with musicians designing stage decorations and costumes for their concerts.

In 1969 Z. Ságlova’s first solo exhibition took place, at the Václav Špála Gallery. Inside the gallery considered to being temple of art, she placed bales of hay and straw, which met with criticism from the official media and most of Czech artistic community. The artist was excluded from the official art circulation and could not exhibit in Czechoslovakia for almost twenty years. However photographic documentation of her performances were shown at exhibitions in Italy, France and the United States.
In 1973, because of the worsening political situation, the so-called normalisation, Z. Ságlova withdrew from the public field of art for several years. She devoted herself to weaving large tapestries in her private studio. A few years later the main motif of her artworks became the figure of a rabbit, because of its complex significance in various cultures; it would accompany her until the end of life. The animal appeared as a subject of tapestries, in multiplied form in structural painting compositions, in photographic series and as a living participant in action drawings. The last time she returned to land art was with the action 40 rabbits in 1988, when as part of the event Wind and Object she installed white flags with a rabbit silhouettes on a wooden structure.
Her major retrospective exhibition took place in 2006 at the National Gallery in Prague and the Moravian Gallery in Brno and was curated by Milan Knižak and Jiří Valoch.

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Małgorzata Sobocińska

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring


© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Bez nazvu [Untitled], 1968, height 73 cm, varnished wood

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Bez nazvu [Untitled], 1968, 120 x 120 x 4 cm, varnished wood

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Hazeni micu do pruhonickeho rybnika Borin [Throwing Balls into Bořín Pond in Průhonice], April 1969, project August 1968, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Bořín pond in the chateau park in Průhonice near Prague
Participants: Zorka Ságlová, Ivan Jirous, Věra Jirousová, Jan Ságl, members of music bands The Primitives Group and The Plastic People of the Universe and their friends
“In April, when ice melted, we threw 37 balls of three colours (blue, green and orange) to the pond. The result was a floating sculpture, carried away by wind and water. We left it on the pond´s surface.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Hazeni micu do pruhonickeho rybnika Borin [Throwing Balls into Bořín Pond in Průhonice], April 1969, project August 1968, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Bořín pond in the chateau park in Průhonice near Prague
Participants: Zorka Ságlová, Ivan Jirous, Věra Jirousová, Jan Ságl, members of music bands The Primitives Group and The Plastic People of the Universe and their friends
“In April, when ice melted, we threw 37 balls of three colours (blue, green and orange) to the pond. The result was a floating sculpture, carried away by wind and water. We left it on the pond´s surface.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Hazeni micu do pruhonickeho rybnika Borin [Throwing Balls into Bořín Pond in Průhonice], April 1969, project August 1968, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Bořín pond in the chateau park in Průhonice near Prague
Participants: Zorka Ságlová, Ivan Jirous, Věra Jirousová, Jan Ságl, members of music bands The Primitives Group and The Plastic People of the Universe and their friends
“In April, when ice melted, we threw 37 balls of three colours (blue, green and orange) to the pond. The result was a floating sculpture, carried away by wind and water. We left it on the pond´s surface.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Hazeni micu do pruhonickeho rybnika Borin [Throwing Balls into Bořín Pond in Průhonice], April 1969, project August 1968, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Bořín pond in the chateau park in Průhonice near Prague
Participants: Zorka Ságlová, Ivan Jirous, Věra Jirousová, Jan Ságl, members of music bands The Primitives Group and The Plastic People of the Universe and their friends
“In April, when ice melted, we threw 37 balls of three colours (blue, green and orange) to the pond. The result was a floating sculpture, carried away by wind and water. We left it on the pond´s surface.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Hazeni micu do pruhonickeho rybnika Borin [Throwing Balls into Bořín Pond in Průhonice], April 1969, project August 1968, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Bořín pond in the chateau park in Průhonice near Prague
Participants: Zorka Ságlová, Ivan Jirous, Věra Jirousová, Jan Ságl, members of music bands The Primitives Group and The Plastic People of the Universe and their friends
“In April, when ice melted, we threw 37 balls of three colours (blue, green and orange) to the pond. The result was a floating sculpture, carried away by wind and water. We left it on the pond´s surface.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Seno-slama [Hay Straw], August 1969, installation hay, straw, Vaclava Spaly Gallery, Prague, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Prague, Václav Špála Gallery
Part of the exhibition Something Somewhere, Václav Špála Gallery in Prague, cellar
“In one room, I exhibited yellow bales of straw and green bales of dried alfalfa. Into the other, I situated straw which I, with my friends, dried, piled and threw all over. The visitors spontaneously created new arrangements out of the hay and straw on a daily basis. The action was accompanied by the sound of grasshoppers singing from the walls and by the reproduced rock music.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Seno-slama [Hay Straw], August 1969, installation hay, straw, Vaclava Spaly Gallery, Prague, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Prague, Václav Špála Gallery
Part of the exhibition Something Somewhere, Václav Špála Gallery in Prague, cellar
“In one room, I exhibited yellow bales of straw and green bales of dried alfalfa. Into the other, I situated straw which I, with my friends, dried, piled and threw all over. The visitors spontaneously created new arrangements out of the hay and straw on a daily basis. The action was accompanied by the sound of grasshoppers singing from the walls and by the reproduced rock music.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Seno-slama [Hay Straw], August 1969, installation hay, straw, Vaclava Spaly Gallery, Prague, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Prague, Václav Špála Gallery
Part of the exhibition Something Somewhere, Václav Špála Gallery in Prague, cellar
“In one room, I exhibited yellow bales of straw and green bales of dried alfalfa. Into the other, I situated straw which I, with my friends, dried, piled and threw all over. The visitors spontaneously created new arrangements out of the hay and straw on a daily basis. The action was accompanied by the sound of grasshoppers singing from the walls and by the reproduced rock music.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Kladeni plin u Sudomere [Laying Napkins near Sudoměř], May 1970, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Meadows on the site of the Hussite Battle at Sudoměř
Participants: Zorka Ságlová, Josef Janíček, Ivan Jirous, Věra Jirousová, Milena Lamarová, Jan Ságl
“On the place where the famous battle took place, we spread approximately 700 squares of white fabrics on the grass in the form of a large triangle and left them there.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Kladeni plin u Sudomere [Laying Napkins near Sudoměř], May 1970, Photo Jan Ságl

Site: Meadows on the site of the Hussite Battle at Sudoměř
Participants: Zorka Ságlová, Josef Janíček, Ivan Jirous, Věra Jirousová, Milena Lamarová, Jan Ságl
“On the place where the famous battle took place, we spread approximately 700 squares of white fabrics on the grass in the form of a large triangle and left them there.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, 2384 kraliku [2384 Rabbits], 1984-1989, 95 x 115 cm, acrylic on canvas, National Gallery Prague Collection

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Ich werde ihn selber hier einschreiben [I want to write here], 1990, 73 x 102 cm, water colour and pencil

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Mili pratele, 1995-1996, exhibition view of Dear friends, Galerie na bidýlku, Brno, 1997

“From autumn 1995 to spring 1996 I have mailed 234 blank postcards with the request that the addressees draw a circle on them. A total of 177 were returned to me.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, Mili pratele, 1995-1996, exhibition view of Dear friends, Galerie na bidýlku, Brno, 1997

“From autumn 1995 to spring 1996 I have mailed 234 blank postcards with the request that the addressees draw a circle on them. A total of 177 were returned to me.”

Zorka Ságlová — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Zorka Ságlová, 40 kraliku [40 Rabbits], July 1988, Cross Hill, Krizovy vrch, Ruda, Photo Jan Ságl

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