Magdalena Jetelová

Year of birth, place
1946, Semily, Czech Republic
Role at the ZKM
in the collection
Magdalena Jetelová was born in Semily, Czechoslovakia (now in the Czech Republic) in 1946. She studied (1965-67) at the Akademie vytvarnych umení, Prague, then (1967-68) at the Accademia di Brera, Milan, under Marino Marini, then again (1968-71) in Prague. In 1985 she emigrated to West Germany, in 1988 being appointed to a professorship at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich. In 1989 she won the 'Kunstpreis der Stadt Darmstadt'. Since 1990 she has been a Professor at the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, and since 1993 an honory member of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin. She lives in Bergheim. 

Magdalena Jetelová's sculptures take their cue from very basic items from the everyday environment: tables, chairs, stairs. Reproducing these in the form of large, sometimes gigantic, roughly worked wooden objects, she monumentalizes and distorts their shapes, thus reducing to absurdity the notion of their original (and still implicit) function. Here chairs begin to pace about; her stairs seem to tumble into a void; and her houses are patently uninhabitable. In Prague in the 1970s Jetelová was part of a small avant-garde that was forced to exhibit in private spaces, studios or backyards, or in the countryside. Since this time her sculptures have always been related to space in as far as she reacts in each case to the proposed or given setting. Through physical separation and the introduction of projected light, she overcomes spatial boundaries and opens up enclosed forms. Since 1986 she has experimented with outdoor light and laser projection. In 1986 she projected a compact ray of light in the form of a chair into a forest at night, thus creating the illusion of a sculpture made out of light and wood. In 1992, in her »Iceland Project«, she used a laser beam to render visible the geological boundary between Europe and America. Alongside drawings and sketches, the photographic documentation of projects and performance pieces is an integral part of her work. 

Individual exhibitions (selection)
1979 Divadlo v Nerudovce, Prague
1984 Galerie Walter Storms, Munich
1985 Riverside Studios Serpentine Gallery, London
1986 Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
1987 The Museum of Modern Art, New York
1988 Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
1990 John Weber Gallery, New York
1992 »Domestizierung einer Pyramide«, MAK - Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna
1993 »lceland Project«, Belveder, Prague, subsequently at Galleria Belvedere, Milan
1994 »Translocation«, Kunstverein Hannover; Forum Kunst, Rottweil
1995 Galerie Harthan, Stuttgart; Galerie Lippke, Frankfurt/M
1996 »Translocation Il«, Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt
1997 »Zwischen den Stühlen«, Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe
Group exhibitions (selection)
1971 »Portrét«, Galerie Manés, Prague
1982 »Der Stuhl im 20. Jahrhundert«, Kunstgewerbemuseum Prague
1983 »8 Künstler aus Prag«, Künstlerwerkstätten Lothringer Straße, Munich; »New Art«, Tate Gallery, London
1985 »Kunst mit Eigensinn«, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna
1987 documenta VIII, Kassel
1988 »II Künstlern II Räume«, Schloss Morsbroich, Leverkusen
1991 »Skulpturale Ereignisse«, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
1993 »Mediale«, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
1994 »Europa, Europa. Das Jahrhundert der Avantgarde in Mittel- und Osteuropa«, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn; »Celebrate Prag in New York«, The World Financial Center, New York
1995 »Riss im Raum«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin
1996 »Freedsculptur«, Ludwig Forum, Aachen

[David Richardt, 1997]