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Zdeněk Košek: Cloudbuster

  • Where: Vaclav Havel Library, Řetězová 7, Prague
  • When: April 8, 2014, 19:00 – May 4, 2014, 18:00

Launch of exhibition of work by Zdeněk Košek from the turn of the 1980s and 1990s.

Music: Houpací koně. The exhibition takes place in cooperation with the ABCD Praha civic association and runs until 4 May 2014.


“It was me who appointed Václav Havel president.”

Exiles internal and external II

Zdeněk Košek (*1949 Duchcov) is a self-taught artist mainly focused on oil painting and drawing. He studied typography and briefly attended graphics school in Prague. In the 1970s and ‘80s he worked as a compositor and produced caricatures and humorous drawings for regional newspapers and magazines. He has had a lifelong interest in the weather and meteorological phenomena. Since 1989 he has been on an invalidity pension. He has exhibited dozens of times in the Czech Republic and abroad and his work appears in ABCD, one of the most comprehensive art brut anthologies. He lives in Ústí nad Labem.

The exhibition Cloudbuster chiefly presents Zdeněk Košek’s art from the turn of the 1980s and ‘90s. This was a crucial time in his work and life, when both his artistic style and outlook on life underwent transformation. He switched from magazine caricatures to obsessional records stuffed with a plethora of information. He recorded various sounds, bird flight, wind direction, unending combinations of numbers and chemical elements, alongside personal experiences and data. He felt responsible for the running of a world in which his main mission is to control the weather. Ritualistic record-keeping, as a direct means of influencing the atmosphere, guaranteed him the maintenance of order.

Košek put his fevered spasms of thought down in the form of meteorological charts, formulas and plans on almost anything that came to hand – school copybooks, envelopes, stationary, tickets. At the same time, he printed by hand synoptic maps on which he sketched, with factographic precision and using coloured markers and crayons, rainfall, wind speed, anticyclones, cyclones, ridges of high pressure, pressure troughs and atmospheric fronts. Despite an excessive pressure of information of a explosive nature, a detailed and elaborated system lay behind them.

What was particularly attractive to Košek about weather phenomena was the accumulation of energy in the form of storms, rainfall and gales, which he explored continuously. He did so both on visits to distant meteorological stations in Kočkov and on the top floor of his apartment building in the Skřivánek estate, his “weather kitchen”, as he puts it, where he lives and works today.

Alongside drawings, the exhibition features oil paintings on which the artist has, in an expressionistic style, recorded his surroundings in documentary fashion (Congestus over the Northern Terrace, 1.6.1996). His compelling drawings may also be understood as mental maps or landscapes in which Košek’s parallel world plays out: incredibly colourful, enabling movement in time, across continents. Of his former situation Zdeněk Košek says: “I didn’t feel powerless – I was too powerful.”

Marianna Placáková


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