Women and Editorials Contents by jennyyingdi

VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 36

									                                                                                                   Contents
                                                                                        Olga & Olga
                                                                                        – the filmmakers Sommerová and
                                                                                        ·pátová speak about gentlemen
                                                                                        and feminism
                                                                                        pages 4 – 7

Women and Editorials                                                                    Women Tractor-drivers and
                                                                                        Lady Soldiers
                                                                                        – the “equality” of women under
                                                                                        Communism
                                                                                        pages 8 – 11

                                                                                        Strange Girl
                                                                                        – Iva Bittová has conquered the
                                                                                        world’s stages with her violin
                                                                                        playing and beautiful singing
                                                                                        pages 12 – 15

                                                                                        Top Models with Big Hearts
                                                                                        – profiles of Czech supermodels
                                                                                        who show us that beauty is more
                                                                                        than skin deep
                                                                                        pages 16 – 19

                                                                                        Airy Beauty
                                                                                        – the ancient art of lace making
                                                                                        where art is transformed into
                                                                                        the everyday
                                                                                        pages 20 – 21
   I promised that I would write an           He certainly would have understood
editorial on the topic of “Woman as        that “a woman is a reflection of all of      Tinity & Blanka
inspiration” and so I posed the ques-      Nature’s beauty concentrated in one          – Blanka Matragi is the fixed star
                                                                                        and SoÀa Hlaváãková the rising star
tion to myself: What would remain of       being”, although he may not have             of Czech fashion design
literature if its inspiration and space    been able to express the idea as well        pages 22 – 25
for imagination was not a woman?           as Charles Baudelaire in a woman’s
The answer is very little, almost no-      boudoir.                                     The Muses of Photogenie
thing. Poetry wouldn’t exist, the novel       So what about us men? Unfortu-            – women as the glorified object
                                                                                        of photographic portrait
would disappear and dramas wouldn’t        nately, I’ve not been able to come up        pages 26 – 29
be dramatic. The only literary genre to    with a satisfactory literary definition.
survive would be the editorial.            We’ll have to wait. We’ll probably           Eva Fuka: “It’s my world.”
   Sigh. The famous Czech writer Ka-       have to wait until this magazine chooses     – reflections of this Czech
                                                                                        photographer who emigrated to
rel âapek wrote in 1935: “I’ve never       “Men as inspiration” as its theme and        the United States
met a woman or girl who enjoys read-       a woman is invited to write the edito-       pages 30 – 33
ing newspaper editorials.” Since that      rial to that issue – an editorial that
time, much has changed – almost every-     both women and girls will gladly read.       Mosaic
thing in fact. However, even in this       Sigh.                                        – news and information from
                                                                                        the Czech Republic
day and age, I don’t know a single                                                      pages 34 – 35
man who knows a girl or woman who
enjoys reading newspaper editorials.                                                    Vítûzslava Kaprálová
   So I will focus this editorial on the                                                – a shooting star in Czech classical
men in the audience. Men! We must                                                       music
                                                                                        pages 36 – 38
admit that not only do we search for a
woman behind every thing, we find                                                       The Heart of Europe appears six times a year and presents
                                                                                        a picture of life in the Czech Republic. The views expressed
her behind every thing. Cherchez la                                                     in the articles are those of their authors and do not necessarily
                                                                                        represent the official positions of the Czech government.
femme – is a phrase as valid for life in                                                Material appearing in the magazine cannot be reprinted
                                                                                        without the permission of the publisher. Subscription orders
the same way that “the murderer was                                                     should be sent to the editorial office of the magazine.
                                                                                        Publisher, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry of the
the gardener” is true for a mystery.                                                    Czech Republic, Theo Publishing.
Gentlemen, do you really believe that                                                   Editorial office:
                                                                                        J. Poppera 18, 530 06 Pardubice, Czech Republic
the first flint tools were made by some                                                 Editor-in-chief: Pavel ·míd, Art editor: Karel Nedvûd
                                                                                        Chairman of the Editorial Board: Vít Koláfi, Director of the
Neanderthal as a weapon so that he                                                      Press Section of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
                                                                                        spokesman for the Minister of Foreign Affairs
could kill a woolly mammoth? I don’t.                                                   Members of the Editorial Board: Vûra StaÀková, Marie
                                                                                        Kopecká, Libu‰e Bautzová, Silvie Marková, Pavla Jed-
Looking at myself, I’d say that he made                                                 liãková, Alena Prouzová, Lucie Pilipová, Eva Ocisková,
                                                                                        Milan KníÏák, TomበPojar, Vít Kurfürst, Oldfiich TÛma,
this earthshaking invention so that even                                                Martin Krafl, Petr Vágner, Vladimír Hulec, Petr Volf,
during the Ice Age he could bask in                                                     Jan ·ilpoch, Pavel Fischer
                                                                                        Translation by members of the Department of English and
the glow of an appreciative Mrs Nean-                                                   American Studies, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno
derthal. It was only thanks to the fact                                                 Lithography and print by VâT Pardubice
                                                                                                                                     ISSN 1210–7727
that she got his blood boiling and kept
the fires roaring in the cave that he                                  Pavel ·rut       Internet: http://www.theo.cz
                                                                                        Publisher’s e-mail:pavelsmid@theo.cz
was able to conquer Nature.                                       Poet and translator




                                                                                                                                                            3
                                Olga & Olga
       Both wore black, the two Olgas both            Sommerová: One film we directed                        And what do they dare to do?
    filmmakers. They had the same hair-             half and half, in the second I was the
    style – a style that was trendy back            victim of Olga, who was the director,                     Sommerová: Jakub refuses to film
    in the era of Brigitte Bardot: one was          and for the third one I took her on as a               a cut I want, or he lectures me dis-
    blonde and the other brunette. They             camerawoman. Of course what my                         respectfully to the point where I feel
    spoke in a similar husky voice that             children Olga and Jakub get away                       like a student. With Olga behind the ca-
    comes across as sexy and at the same            with, no one else would dare, because I                mera it’s easier. But it’s happened a few
    time a bit seedy. Their age difference          would never hire them again.                           times that she’s gotten uppity with me.
    is 35 years. During the interview they                                                                    ·pátová: Mom gets really impatient
    sometimes quarreled, needling each                                                                     during filming when I take my time
    other in a friendly way, but flattering one                                                            composing a shot. With (Un)censored
    another, too. Remarkable documentary                                                                   Conversations (an intimate dialogue
    filmmaker and outspoken feminist Olga                                                                  between Olga Sommerová and Olga
    Sommerová (56) and her daughter, ca-                                                                   ·pátová) she was constantly fidgeting.
    merawoman and director Olga ·pátová                                                                    She was completely nuts.
    (her father is documentary filmmaker                                                                      Sommerová: She took a long time to
    Jan ·páta), have made three films to-                                                                  find the shot, and when she found it,
    gether in the last year. Two of them,                                                                  she kept rubbing it in for about half
    (Ne)censurované rozhovory ((Un)cen-                                                                    an hour, on purpose to get me worked
    sored Conversations), and Moje 20.                                                                     up. I was going out of my mind, I was
    století (My 20th Century) about painter                                                                screaming. And all of sudden I look at
    Adriena ·imotová, opera singer SoÀa                                                                    her and see that cunning little smile.
    âervená and writer Lenka Reinerová,                                                                       ·pátová: Only after that Mom started
    were shown on Czech Television to ex-                                                                  being herself, sitting there with a
    cellent reviews from local audiences.                                                                  cigarette and peacefully gazing into
                                                                                                           space, and suddenly she was spouting
             THE PROFESSION                                                                                Chekovian wisdom.

      How is it to work professionally                                                                       As filmmakers, what do you think
    with one’s nearest relatives?                                                                          about that phenomenon that is pre-




                                   Olga Sommerová at work (with her husband, the famous documentary filmmaker Jan ·páta)
4
                                                                                                 Interview
                                                                                             “Women must return to huma-
                                                                                           nity its lost Eden, that precious
                                                                                           pearl; but first we must come to
                                                                                           know what lies at the bottom of
                                                                                           our own hearts and we must dive
                                                                                           down there to find it.
                                                                                                         BoÏena Nûmcová
                                                                                                              (1820-1862), Writer




tending to be like a do-                                                                               as much explicit advice
cumentary, the reality                                                                                 for me as I have for
show?                                                                                                  Olga. Or as much social
                                                                                                       leverage. In that sense
   Sommerová: I watched                                                                                I’m more useful to her.
for about ten minutes. It
was boring and insulting.                                                                                During the thirty-five
There’s one thing there                                                                                years that separate you,
that is almost sort of con-                                                                            attitudes towards sex
nected with our profes-                                                                                have changed.
sion. As a documentary
filmmaker I’ve always                                                                                     Sommerová: They used
dreamed of being the fly on the wall                 ABOUT GENTLEMEN                     to say that sex is the Mercedes of the
and watching what goes on in the                                                         poor. The difference is that we were
house. And suddenly here comes this             Were you different when you were         afraid of pregnancy because there
reality show that supposedly wants to          Olga’s age?                               wasn’t any good contraception; today
realize this dream. But because people                                                   it’s the fear of AIDS. But I can see
aren’t living a real life there, because         Sommerová: She’s more mature            clearly one generational difference. When
they’re forced to have artificial conflicts,   than I was and knows what she wants.      I was filming with seventy-, eighty-year-
it’s irritating, inauthentic, empty.           I didn’t. I was better-read and better-   old men, I had the feeling they were
   ·pátová: In (Un)censored Conversa-          educated, because under the Bol-          always happy to see a woman. They
tions we did this kind of little private       sheviks, camaraderie and art were         offered compliments they were gentle-
reality show.                                  the biggest excitement; there were        men through and through. I feel some-
   Sommerová: Except that we had               no other distractions. But I realize      thing similar out in the country. But
actual conflicts and we have to live           that even though my mother was a          in the city, full of other attractions,
with each other until death.                   wise woman, she didn’t have nearly        I have the feeling of a greater distance,


                                                                                                                                     5
    that guys are even afraid of girls.
    I remember one of your stories, Olga,
    when you and your friend Lucy went
    to dancing lessons at Lucerna...
       ·pátová: We both wore red clothes.
    They called us the “red commandos”;
    I guess we were acting a bit too self-
    confidently. When the dance call came
    the boys went for the other girls and
    we ended up standing there together
    in our red clothes! We wanted to
    dance, to flirt. They told us later that
    they were afraid of us! We went to
    the ladies’ room and just looked at
    each other, aghast.

      What kind of man do you
    yearn for?




                                                                                                                   ·pátová: I yearn for a gentle guy.
                                                                                                                   Sommerová: That’s right – a real
                                                                                                                 man has to be sensitive. Whereas
                                                                                                                 macho is as fragile as a crystal vase
                                                                                                                 that shatters with the first problem.
                                                                                                                   ·pátová: In this generation the
                                                                                                                 boys are sensitive and fragile. They’re
                                                                                                                 gentlemen.
                                                                                                                   Sommerová: And I think the gentlemen
                                                                                                                 are the older ones; today gentlemen
                                                                                                                 are dying out.

                                                                                                                   What do you mean by the
                                                                                                                 term gentleman? That he helps
                                                                                                                 you into your coat, pays your bill
                                                                                                                 in the pub?

                                                                                                                   Sommerová: The male compliments
                                                                                                                 are still fun. But gentlemen are gentle-
                                                                                                                 men because they’re not just interested
                                                                                                                 in themselves.
                                                                                                                   ·pátová: Being a gentleman means
                                                                                                                 suppressing your own selfishness.


    From the shooting of the documentary film Love Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow that is currently being shown
6   on Czech Television
                                              Do the jokes about blondes upset you?            hvûzda BoÏena Nûmcová (The Immortal
                                                                                               Star BoÏená Nûmcová) (1997), O ãem
                                              Sommerová: Those aren’t jokes about              sní Ïeny (What Women Yearn For)
                                            blondes, but about women. And the                  (1999), O ãem sní muÏí (What Men
                                            most horrible thing is that they’re told           Yearn For) (1999), and for the Loser-
                                            by women themselves. That’s where it               film Studio: Konec svûta v srdci Evropy
                                            starts one time I asked your dad not to            (The End of the World in the Heart
                                            make jokes at my expense in public.                of Europe) (2002) and MáÀa po deseti
                                            And all the time he was so funny that              letech (MáÀa Ten Years Later) (2003).
                                            I was laughing myself. But then one                   Between 1991 and 2002 she taught
                                            time I said, enough. Women would do                at FAMU: for eight years from 1994
                                            a lot for themselves by rejecting that.            she was chair of the Department of
                                            And women’s solidarity is important.               Documentary Filmmaking. She has
                                                                                               made eighty films, for which she has
                                                                          Alena Plavcová
                                                                              Lidové noviny
                                                                                               earned twenty-eight awards at domes-
                                                    Photos: TomበÎelezn˘ (Lidové noviny),     tic and international film festivals.
                                                      the archives of Jan ·páta, Jan Tauber       Biography: www.loserfilm.cz.
                                                                          (Czech Television)

                                                                                                  Olga ·pátová (b. 1984)
                                                                                                  Olga ·pátová is the daughter of the
                                                                                               renowned documentary filmmakers
                                                                                               Olga Sommerová and Jan ·páta.
                                                                                                  She made her first documentary Sed-
                                                                                               mikrásky (Daisies) about a group of her
                                                                                               fellow students at the age of fourteen it
                                                                                               was broadcast by Czech Television as
                                                                                               part of the cycle “Ego.” Her fee was a
                                                                                               Hi-8 camera, which she used to make
                                                                                               more films. She studied advertising
                                                                                               graphics at the Secondary School of
                                                                                               the Advertising Arts. Here she and her
                                                                                               friend Lucie were their own actors and
                                                                                               cameramen for several short films:
                                                                                               Svatba (A Wedding), Kávová spoleãnost
                                                                                               (Coffee Society), Waiting for Godot.
                                                                                               Independently she has made the films
                                                                                               Míjení (Passing), Sama (By Myself)
                                                                                               (which won her eight film festival
                                                                                               awards), and Trojhra (Triple Game).

           ON FEMINISM                        Olga Sommerová (b. 1949)
                                              Olga Sommerová is a graduate of
  I read that this century will be the      Prague’s Film Academy of the Perform-
century of the woman. What does             ing Arts (FAMU). As a director for
that evoke for you?                         Krátk˘ film Prague, she spent ten years
                                            making 35-mm documentary films
  Sommerová: Women will win their           for the cinema. Since the Velvet Re-
rights step by step. And they’ll take       volution of 1989 when documentaries
part in running the world. But it will be   stopped being shown in cinemas, she
slow, because men hold the economic,        has been making documentary films
and therefore the political power.          for Czech Television.
                                              She focuses on social and inter-
  How do you view your mother’s             personal relations, important perso-
feminism?                                   nalities, the phenomena of social and
                                            artistic life, feminism and this country’s
   ·pátová: I don’t agree when Mom          modern history.
says that women are the higher-quality        Her best-known film titles include:
portion of humanity. If I thought so        Konkurs na rok 2000 (Audition for
it would make me sad. I want to live        the Year 2000) (1979), Jednotfiídka
my life with a man. And I think we’re       (One-room School) (1981), S tebou táto
people, not men and women. But say-         (With You, Daddy) (1981), Miluj bliÏ-
ing that next to a feminist Mom is          ního svého (Love Thy Neighbour)
very risky.                                 (1990), MáÀa (1992), Nesmrtelná


                                                                                                                                           7
      Women Tractor-drivers
       and Lady Soldiers
       Today I am really at a                                                                                                       ing the first period of Com-
    complete loss when I read                                                                                                       munism was “Anyone who
    current (often quite nostal-                                                                                                    doesn’t work doesn’t eat”.
    gic) considerations by some                                                                                                     This meant that women
    Czech, Russian and Polish                                                                                                       who were employed were
    women about how women                                                                                                           more highly valued than
    had it so wonderful and                                                                                                         were women who were
    how their lives were so                                                                                                         “only” looking after their
    much easier under Commun-                                                                                                       children and households.
    ism. Only a nostalgic long-
    ing for their lost youth                                                                                                              Women and the
    could have so badly distort-                                                                                                         Dictatorship of the
    ed their memories. We                                                                                                                    Proletariat
    knew nothing about femin-
    ism or human rights, let                                                                                                        There was no choice in
    alone women’s rights. It                                                                                                      the matter. This is why at
    wasn’t even possible to write about these                                                                       home in addition to my diploma from
    concepts. Even a declaration of human                                                                           Charles University and my doctoral de-
    rights was forbidden.                                                                                           gree, I also have an apprentice certificate
                                                                                                                    as a bricklayer-hod carrier and a certifi-

      D     uring the Communist Era, the
    emancipation of women was limited to
                                                                                                                    cate from a metalworking course. It was
                                                                                                                    believed by the working class in their po-
                                                                                                                    litical conscious that mentality of each
    an obligation to work and to act like men.                                                                      individual could be changed by working
    What this really meant was proving that                                                                         in a factory or workshop; each of them
    women could work in the same profes-                                                                            would then have enthusiasm for the
    sions as men. So women tractor drivers,                                                                         ideals of Communism. For this reason,
    crane operators and welders were glori-                                                                         people, including women, were sent into
    fied there were even female miners and                                                                          factories to be re-educated. The state,
    chimney sweeps. In reality however, these                                                                       represented by a single political party,
    were relatively rare. The Communist slogan                                                                      intruded into all types of private affairs
    “Each according to his abilities and for                                                                        including childbirth. For example, dur-
    each according to his needs” was never                                                                          ing the fifties abortion was illegal and
    realized; instead the guiding slogan dur-                                                                       contraception was not even available.




           Photograph taken in the 1970s for the newspaper Slovácká Jiskra, the daily of the Uherské Hradis‰tû District Central Committee of the Communist Party
8                                                            of Czechoslovakia by an unknown photographer
                                                                                                               History
                                                                                                        “It was expected that women
                                                                                                      could carry it all off without
                                                                                                      great difficulty: being a mother,
                                                                                                      wife and homemaker, working
                                                                                                      eight hours a day and hold some
                                                                                                      public political function or office.
                                                                                                      Surprisingly enough, I survived.”




Women secretly brought into the country                                                             The school’s director marked these
contraceptives from East Germany and                                                                children as public welfare cases. They
later Hungary. During the first ten years                                                           were from families so poor that their
following the Communist putsch abor-                                                                mothers had to work to make ends meet.
tion was banned totally, even in the event                                                          When I finished my secondary school
that the woman had been raped. Such a                                                               studies at the age of eighteen, only three
woman was forced to carry the foetus to                                                             of the students who graduated with me
term and then surrender the child to the                                                            had mothers who did not work outside
state to be reared. It was only after twelve                                                        the home. Their cases were also taken
years of the dictatorship of the proletariat                                                        note of as something negative for the
(as this period was officially known) that      A powerless woman in the clutches of Communist
                                                                                                    child, because to remain as a homemaker
it was possible to get an abortion; but in       justice – the trial of Milada Horáková (verdict:   was considered a bourgeois relic and the
order to do so, a woman had to go to a                 guilty, sentence: death) in the 1950s        child of such a family was unlikely to re-
public meeting of the “abortion commi-                                                              ceive the all-important recommendation
ttee”, which included both doctors and         building of a socialist society. Using this          for university admission. By this time, my
politically conscious women from the           principle, a woman who did not have                  mother was also working. Even though
local block organization of the Commun-        children and who was supported by her                my father was a doctor, he was unable to
ist Party. If the father of the child did      husband could be charged with the crime              support his wife and two children (es-
not agree to the abortion, a woman could       of a “parasitic way of life.” People nor-            pecially after all of the nationalization of
not make the decision herself. But it was      mally got around this situation with a               private property) on his salary alone.
at least some progress, even if it did not     medical report stating that the woman
add to a woman’s dignity.                      was either ill or incapable of working.                          The double shift
   The emancipation of women was based         This is why during the Communist era
on the Marxist-Leninist principle that         we could boast that 97.8 percent of all                In the early 1960s, a woman was still
each individual is liberated through their     women who were capable of working                    required to return to her job no later than
inclusion in the production process. The       were in the labour force. This was the               three months after the birth of her child.
individual can only be transformed into        reality of our lives.                                She could however leave her child in the
a free and fully equal person through            When I first began to attend primary               company nursery and if she was still nurs-
participating in the public sector – first     school, there were only three children               ing, she could take two fifteen minute
and foremost in production – in the joint      whose mothers worked outside the home.               breaks during her eight-hour shift to go


                                                                                                                                                   9
     and nurse her infant. I can still recall how
     even before six in the morning, mothers
     would be pushing their prams with children
     still half asleep down our street and how
     my mother (who was born in 1902 and
     was a schoolmate of Milada Horáková,
     who was executed by the Communists in
     the 1950s) commented: “This is their so-
     cialism.” This upset me because I myself
     saw this contradiction and yet I hoped
     that the socialism I lived under would be
     good and just. There was also something
     of a generational conflict between mother
     and daughter. For that reason (and others),
     I would like to emphasize here that Cze-

                                                    choslovak-style Communism did also
                                                    have positive impacts on women. Not
                                                    only were women brought into public
                                                    life but the education of women was also
                                                    increased in a fundamental way. It was
                                                    widely believed that the World War III
                                                    would soon break out. Here in Czecho-
                                                    slovakia, which was a vassal – or in more
                                                    modern terms a satellite – of the Soviet
                                                    Union, the focus was primarily on ex-
                                                    panding heavy industry and mining coal
                                                    and uranium. And so during the fifties
                                                    women replaced men as a large pool of
                                                    unskilled labour. In time, women also
                                                    began to gain higher qualifications. The
                                                    proportion of men and women in Czecho-
                                                    slovakia with secondary or tertiary educa-
                                                    tion soon became equal. The self-confi-
                                                    dence of women also increased and they
                                                    soon came to consider the “double shift”
                                                    (working as a homemaker and holding
                                                    down a job at the same time) as a given.


                                                      A     t the time it was expected that
                                                    women could carry it all off without
                                                    great difficulty: being a mother, wife and
                                                    homemaker, working eight hours a day
                                                    and hold some public political function
                                                    or office. Surprisingly enough, I survived
                                                    along with my entire generation; in its
                                                    own way it did leave women with greater


10
                                                                                        bration. Younger generations however
                                                                                        now know that International Women’s
                                                                                        Day was not invented by or established
                                                                                        in the Soviet Union, but that it is a holi-
                                                                                        day celebrated by women all around the
                                                                                        world. They also know that even today
                                                                                        women must take an interest in their
                                                                                        rights and so they are once again looking
                                                                                        towards the holiday as a positive symbol.
                                                                                                                          Jifiina ·iklová
                                                                                                          The editors would like to thank
                                                                                                Mrs Hana Netu‰ilová for her willingness
                                                                                                 to lend the pictures used in this article.




                                             system (or “the market economy” as it
                                             is now more euphemistically referred to)
                                             is developing.

                                                          What’s left?

                                                Much remains from the era when
                                             female tractor drivers and lady soldiers
                                             served as role models for women: an un-
                                             considered and non-verbalized but yet
                                             significant emancipation, a feeling that
                                             “we can survive almost anything”.
                                             Linked to this is a strong resistance
                                             to any “overarching” women’s
                                             organizations and a distaste for
                                             ideologies, including feminism,
self-confidence. But without the two in-     which is and has been present-
comes, it would have been very hard to       ed here as an ideology. The
make ends meet.                              majority of women explicit-
                                             ly reject feminism as a con-
          Dreams of make-up                  cept in reality however we
                                             Czech women are so fe-
   However, Czech women never stop-          minist that many women
ped considering the necessity of holding     in the West should be
a job as something forced upon them          envious.
they dreamt of “resting” at home with           What about Interna-
their children. They dreamt of wearing       tional Women’s Day,
make-up and various fashionable accou-       that official women’s
trements; they looked longingly at glossy    holiday? For a long
foreign fashion magazines for women.         time it was forced upon
But the women in these magazines were        us as a compulsory cele-
as stylized and unrealized as were ideals    bration. The hated presidents
of milkmaids and shock-workers seen in       Gottwald, Novotn˘ and Husák
domestic propaganda. When the borders        used this holiday to welcome
finally opened and these magazines and       women delegates (who were
fashion designs began to appear in large     certainly not chosen by us) to
numbers, we were only enchanted for a        Prague Castle, shake their hands
short while. Young women of today, who       and shower them with flowers.
have been living in a “normal” demo-         This is in part why when we
cratic world for sixteen years, have begun   were able to freely express our
to reject this form of feminine culture.     views after the Velvet Revolu-
   Our appetites were sated by photo-        tion, we completely rejected it
graphs and fashion shoots and it is only     – in both words and actions. To-
now in the younger generation of women       day, 8 March – International Women’s
and girls, who have had the opportunity      Day – has become a good symbol for
to see conditions in the West with their     the transformation we have undergone.
own eyes, that an awareness of the ne-       Older generations continue to reject the
cessity to “struggle” under a capitalist     holiday as a Communist-enforced cele-


                                                                                                                                              11
                               Strange Girl
       There are only a handful of Czech       there in the world who also play the       mental accompaniment? Another im-
     musicians about whom it can be truly      violin or even more unusually, singing     portant factor in her career’s continu-
     said that they have really had an im-     violinists who more often than not         ing rise is the fact that Iva Bittová re-
     pact abroad. Were it not for a single     perform solo without any other instru-     fuses to rest on her laurels and that
     exception, all of them could be found                                                she is continuously searching for new
     within the confines of classical music.                                              means of expression. Her enthusiasm
     The exception is the violinist and vo-                                               for her art means that she might per-
     calist Iva Bittová. Her truly original                                               form one day in an opera house, the
     music has been heard in virtually all                                                next be found improvising with a DJ
     corners of the globe.                                                                at a techno party and the following
                                                                                          be in a club performing songs best

       T    he question may certainly be
     asked: What is it about Bittová that
                                                                                          described as “chansons”. Bittová has
                                                                                          also shown the will to keep working
                                                                                          on her craft – in particular she conti-
     has led the Fortune of global success                                                nues to refine her skills as a violinist
     (here of course, I am not speaking                                                   under the direction of her teacher
     about the glittering world of show bu-                                               Rudolf SÈastn˘. The result of all this
     siness but rather the sphere of musical                                              is that today Iva Bittová is one of
     connoisseurs who search for quality                                                  the Czech music scene’s best “export
     regardless of genre) to smile upon                                                   items”. She plays regularly on stages
     her? It is without doubt a combination                                               around the world, her albums are
     of factors. Profound Moravian and                                                    issued by prestigious labels and she
     Slovak roots can be seen in practical-                                               works with top artists in a wide range
     ly everything that Bittová does. The                                                 of genres.
     complete originality of her creative                                                    Iva Bittová was born in 1958 into
     approach also plays an important role:                                               a musical family in the northern
     how many well-known singers are                                                      Moravian town of Bruntal. Her father




                                                   A performance by HaDivadlo in Prague
12
                                                                                                   Music
                                                                                             “The violin shapes me, trans-
                                                                                          forms me, fulfils me aesthetically
                                                                                          it shows me the best values in
                                                                                          relationship to music, to people
                                                                                          and to myself. That’s why I love it
                                                                                          and to love means to live”
                                                                                                               Iva Bittová
                                                                                                            (b. 1958), Musician




Koloman Bitto was a versatile musi-                                                     barrassed by it and asked my parents
cian who played a number of different                                                   to stop the violin lessons. But then
instruments and performed with both                                                     I returned to the violin because in
folklore ensembles and operatic or-                                                     my heart, I really didn’t feel like an
chestras. Bittová often recalls how                                                     actress. I didn’t believe that acting
her entire family literally lived for                                                   was a calling or work that would fulfil
music (her sister Ida Kelarová is a                                                     me as music could. I then discovered
very successful singer and pianist                                                      Professor SÈastn˘, who told me that
whose primary focus is Roma folklore).                                                  we’d have to start over from the very
In spite of this musical background,                                                    beginning. Repeating violin lessons
Iva Bittová’s first steps in the artistic                                               seemed just as difficult as it’d been
world led towards acting. In 1975                                                       when I was a child; but there was a
while she was a student at the conser-                                                  moment when I started to sing while
vatory in Brno, she became a member                                                     playing and a secret chamber opened
of the now legendary avant-garde                                                        up inside me. It was a discovery
“Goose on a String” theatre company.                                                    for me that at the time I didn’t fully
She had a number of roles with this                                                     appreciate. I just knew that it was
ensemble, the most popular of which                                                     what I wanted and that singing and
was as “ErÏika” in the “folkloric mu-                                                   playing the instrument together gave
sical” Ballad for a Bandit, which was             A performance in the VaÀkovka club    me something. Today, I recognize
eventually turned into a radio play                                                     this as the moment when I began to
and a film. She spent ten years in the                                                  develop in musical terms.”
Goose on a String company, made a             “I had a completely different relation-
number of films and television shows
before leaving the world of acting in
the mid-eighties when she “rediscover-
                                            ship to the instrument as a child and
                                            took it as something that I had to do.
                                            I wanted to be playing outside. I was
                                                                                          I  n the mid-eighties, Iva Bittová
                                                                                        quickly became a fixture in Brno’s
ed” the violin – an instrument she had      really unhappy and so I used a small        alternative music community. One of
learned to play as a child but eventu-      bruise on my neck that came from            this group’s leading figures was the
ally came to despise.                       practicing as an excuse. I was em-          drummer Pavel Fajt. Bittová would


                                                                                                                                  13
                                                A performance by Pavel Fajt’s band Dunaj in Chvaletice (eastern Bohemia), 1987




     form a duo with him, creating a hereto-
     fore unprecedented combo that receiv-
     ed rapturous applause from audiences
     at home and subsequently abroad.
     The 1987 debut album by the duo,
     Bittová & Fajt remains one of the best
     works to come out of the Czechoslovak
     music scene during the era of totali-
     tarianism. It is no surprise that this
     album has been issued by a number
     of foreign record labels.


       A     longside her commitments to
     the duo, in the second half of the eigh-
     ties Iva Bittová began to devote her
     time to rock music as the lead singer
     for the Brno-based group Dunaj, who
     recorded only one album. This colla-

                                                boration was however a great source                     Christmas carols entitled Kolednice,
                                                of inspiration for Bittová and she re-                  as well as in her first foray into the
                                                recorded almost all of Dunaj’s reper-                   world of classical music, 44 Duets for
                                                toire ten years later for the CD Pustit                 Two Violins, a collection of Hungarian
                                                musí‰ (You’ve got to let go). But her                   folk music inspired by the composer
                                                musical career was gradually moving                     Béla Bartók. Playing alongside Bit-
                                                towards her becoming a solo artist.                     tová on the album was the violinist
                                                She began to have solo concerts in the                  Dorothea Keller.
                                                early nineties and her repertoire from                     During the second half of the nine-
                                                that period was preserved forever in                    ties, Bittová returned to the bosom
                                                1991 on her first solo album. Reissued                  of Brno’s alternative music scene
                                                in 1997, it has the appropriately de-                   through her cooperation with musi-
                                                scriptive title of Divná sleãinka (Strange              cians around Vladimír Václavek, Du-
                                                Girl). By this time, Bittová’s reputa-                  naj’s former bass guitarist and an ori-
                                                tion as a violinist had spread far beyond               ginal songwriter working with both
                                                this country’s or even this continent’s                 influences from ethnic and world
                                                borders. She was on the road with her                   music and elements of minimalism. The
                                                violin more frequently than she was in                  recording of the 1997 double album
                                                her native Moravia.                                     Bilé inferno (White Inferno) led to the
                                                   Although elements of folklore are                    forming of the group âikori. The spe-
                                                clearly present in the music of Bittová                 cial atmosphere of this album was
                                                & Fajt, the reverberations of folk music                in part influenced by the fact that the
                                                were becoming every clearer in Iva                      lyrics were based on poems by the im-
                                                Bittová’s musical compositions. This                    portant, spiritually-oriented Moravian
                                                can be seen on her 1995 album of                        poets Bohuslav Reynek and Jan Skácel.


14
                                                                                     The production continues to be perform-
                                                                                     ed and the production is now being
                                                                                     prepared for a world tour. The second
                                                                                     project came about as a commission
                                                                                     for what is probably the most prestigi-
                                                                                     ous concert hall in the world, Carnegie
                                                                                     Hall in New York City. This project
                                                                                     brought Bittová together with the re-
                                                                                     nowned instrumental ensemble Bang
                                                                                     on a Can All-Stars. Although this group
                                                                                     has traditionally focused on present-
                                                                                     ing contemporary classical music, the
                                                                                     Elida project (issued on the epony-
                                                                                     mous CD in 2005) has a song structure
                                                                                     that in places borders on a modern
                                                                                     chanson, a genre in which Bittová
                                                                                     excels not only as a singer but also as
                                                                                     a songwriter.
                                             Today, Bittová appears only occa-
                                           sionally as a guest singer or violinist
                                           for pop, folk or rock and roll bands.
                                           She has appeared on albums recorded
                                                                                       A     s is the case with stars from the
                                                                                     world of classical music, Iva Bittová’s
                                           by the Eben Brothers, JablkoÀ, Mon-       diary is booked up years in advance.
                                           key Business and the singers Richard      In recent times, she has begun to speak
                                           Müller and Anna K. An original colla-     about a need to rest as she has placed
                                           boration came out of Bittová’s work-      the maximum effort into each and
                                           ing in a duo with DJ Javas from Brno,     every concert, guest appearance or re-
                                           where she provided the vocals for mo-     cording session (something that can
                                           dern house-techno club remixes.           be clearly seen in the quality of her
                                             Currently Iva Bittová has only occa-    work). There is not doubt that she de-
                                           sional solo concerts because most of      serves a break, just as there can be no
                                           her time and energy is focused on two     doubt that her artistic restlessness will
                                           major projects. In 2004, New York         not allow her a moment of inactivity.
                                           City witnessed the successful premiere
                                                                                                                      Ondfiej Bezr
                                           of an avant-garde production of Mo-              Photos: Jan Adamec, Bohdan Holomíãek,
                                           zart’s Don Giovanni, with Bittová in                   Indies Records (www.indies-rec.cz)
                                           the main female role of Donna Elvira.

Bittová then subtly introduced what was
for her the previously unknown element
of jazz into the âikori’s repertoire.
  At that time Bittová was regularly
working with important musicians
from around the world. The exception-
al cellist Tom Cora had worked on
the recording of Bílé inferno and the
album Ples upírÛ (Vampires’Ball) came
about in collaboration with the Nether-
lands Blaze Ensemble. Alongside Bit-
tová’s own composition on this latter
disc are her interpretations of com-
positions by Leo‰ Janáãek. At home,
Bittová began to focus more inten-
sively on classical music, especially
works by those composers for whom
folk music was a major source of in-
spiration. These include the previous-
ly mentioned Janáãek as well as con-
temporary composers such as Milo‰
·tûdroÀ and Vladimír Godár. Bittová
includes their compositions on her
“classical” albums, which are most often
recorded with the ·kampa Quartet.


                                                                                                                                       15
     Top Models with Big Hearts
        Eva Herzigová, Karolina Kurková,                      Czech Embassy, and doesn’t know               lena Houdová, founder of the charitable
     Daniela Pe‰tová, Hana Soukupová,                         what’s going to happen. She has been          organization Sunflower Children, was
     Paulina Porizkova, Veronika Vareková,                    arrested for subverting the Cuban             taking pictures in the poor slums of Ha-
     Tereza Maxová: on a per-capita basis,                    revolution. Hidden in her clothes is a        vana in order to document living condi-
     the Czech Republic has a high percent-                   memory chip. Fortunately, the Cuban           tions of the children there and find ways
     age of successful super-models. The                                                                    to help. This petite twenty-six-year-old
     Turkish warriors who invaded the south-                                                                woman works to alleviate misery in
     eastern Moravian border regions in the                                                                 the lives of children in ten countries
     seventeenth century imposed themselves                                                                 around the world. She therefore repre-
     by force on the local gene pool, leaving                                                               sents a grave threat to this dinosaur re-
     behind generations of lovely women                                                                     gime. After eleven hours Helena was
     born of pain. Women with a full body                                                                   released from jail. She managed to save
     line and full lips, with deep eyes set                                                                 the memory card, and then exhibited
     enticingly behind high cheek bones.                                                                    the pictures at Prague’s Langhans Galle-
     Women of mysterious beauty, discover-                                                                  ry; the exhibit was attended by former
     ed after the Velvet Revolution by eager                                                                President Václav Havel, among others.
     modelling agents and invited to the                                                                    The photographs are now being sold
     world’s fashion stages. Besides success                                                                with the proceeds going to the families
     and beauty, Czech models have                                                                          of Cuban political prisoners.
     brought something else to the profes-                                                                     “And now I’m supposed to start be-
     sion: the willingness to help improve                                                                  having myself?” wondered this student
     the lives of those in need. The Czech                                                                  of physical anthropology when she was
     Republic is remarkable for its many top                                                                officially crowned and donned the sash
     models who regard working on behalf                                                                    as Miss Czech Republic 1999. “Am I to
     of others as their life’s mission. Czech                                                               leave everything else behind me now?”
     models are helping to change the world                                                                 wondered the ecological activist as
     for the better. We would like to intro-                                                                she had her picture taken for the
     duce you to a two of them.                                                                             cover of the Czech edition of Cosmo-
                                                                                                            politan magazine. Not at all, then-
                  Helena Houdová                                                                            editor-in-chief Anastazie Kudrnová told
                       Rebel                                              Helena Houdová in Cambodia        her: “Now you have a perfect chance to
                                                                                                            promote everything you think is right!”
        January 2006. In a Cuban prison                       police don’t have a clue about digital        Within two weeks Helena Houdková
     sits a green-eyed, blonde-haired young                   cameras.                                      was driving a Cosmopolitan reporter
     woman. She’s being screamed at in                          Our top model in Cuba was guilty            through the snow and mud of southern
     Spanish. She’s not allowed to call the                   of the crime of taking photographs. He-       Bohemia to a shelter for injured birds




        On her trips, Helen photographs the difficult lives of children (Nicaragua)                    and their beauty and poise (Nepal).
16
                                                                                                                     Society
                                                                                                              “Beauty is as beauty does.”
                                                                                                                                  English saying




of prey, hoping to call attention to the                                                                  didn’t take long for her to realize that
lack of regulations that would prevent                                                                    the key to helping is education. This is
these birds from being harmed by elec-                                                                    why the goal of the non-profit organi-
trical power lines.                                                                                       zation Sunflower Children is to provide
   This blonde rebel is probably the only                                                                 children with access to education, sup-
model in the world to start out working                                                                   ported by health care and nutritional
for charity, only later turning to model-                                                                 assistance. It begins by building schools
ling as a way to make a living. “I’ve be-                                                                 in a selected area. Then programmes
en working in the social sphere since                                                                     for the children’s free time are develop-
the age of sixteen. I learned sign langu-                                                                 ed, including afternoon and weekend
age and visited children’s hospitals,”                                                                    activities. Sunflower has expanded its
says the young anthropologist, whose                                                                      assistance to ten countries: besides the
work with physically and socially handi-                                                                  Czech Republic, the foundation works
capped children led to her starting the         national demand for Helena as a model                     in Cuba, Nicaragua, Peru and Brazil.
Sunflower Foundation, charged with              also grew. More and more she found                        It has undertaken other activities in
helping institutionalized children in the       herself travelling abroad.                                Kenya, Guinea, Nepal, India and Cam-
Czech Republic find lost confidence,               She settled in New York, but as her                    bodia. At the moment it is developing
self-respect and faith in themselves. For       travel itinerary grew, so did her aware-                  projects for helping children in Haiti,
several years she served as a children’s        ness of the many places where inter-                      Romania and Sri Lanka. In Cambodia,
camp counsellor, until the Sunflower            vention on the behalf of children is                      Helena sponsors a young girl who is
name began to resonate. Along with              needed. For two years she travelled                       suffering from AIDS. In the Czech Re-
her successful work with children, inter-       around the world taking pictures. It                      public, Sunflower Children supports


                                            Helena Houdová in advertising campaigns for Cherokee, Tesco
                                                                                                                                                      17
                                                   Petra with one of her “rivals” – the supermodel Tereza Maxová




     education and treatment for orphans                                                                           Republic, a land with only ten million
     afflicted with the disease. The average                                                                       citizens (roughly the population of
     budget for Helen’s project comes to                                                                           London), sent an enormous amount of
     US$30,000 a year, which she helps to                                                                          money that made up 20 percent of the
     raise by selling her photographs or appear-                                                                   entire amount furnished by all the
     ing at benefit fashion shows. Interested                                                                      countries of the world together. And the
     in participating? You can find out how at                                                                     story of Petra Nûmcová is part of that.
     www.sunflowerchildren.org, or by writ-
     ing to info@sunflowerchildren.org.

                 Petra Nûmcová
                                                                                                                     S    he lay in the local hospital in
                                                                                                                   Hai Yai with a broken hip; morphine
                 A smiling angel                                                                                   numbed the pain. Her lips were pain-
                                                                                                                   fully swollen. The death of her friend,
       A long-haired young woman clings                                                                            British photographer Simon Atlee,
     to the branches of a palm tree. The                                                                           would not be officially confirmed until
     cold, pounding water tries to tear her                                                                        March. The reporters were already des-
     away. She has no idea how long she                                                                            cending on Phuket: the troubles of
     can hang on, no idea exactly what has                                                                         other people raise newspaper circula-
     happened. She is aware of a sharp                                                                             tion. And when one of the victims of
     pain in her pelvis. She tries to keep her                                                                     the tragedy is a famous and beautiful
     legs from being caught in the floating                                                                        young woman who loses her love in the
     debris, and prays, trying to stay calm.           riously injured. Soon the nation was                        disaster and lies injured among crowds
     Through it all she feels a dull sorrow:           told that hundreds of its citizens had                      of orphaned children, that’s a story. The
     just moments earlier she was walking              been vacationing in the affected areas.                     paparazzi went wild for a picture of a
     along the beach with her boyfriend.               Unfortunately, fears that some had                          bruised Petra Nûmcová in a hospital
     They returned to the bungalow five mi-            perished were soon confirmed.                               bed. Finally she agreed to an offer by
     nutes before the killer wave hit, parting            Czechs soon realized that a cata-                        the magazine US Weekly, donating the
     them forever.                                     strophe had occurred in far off Asia that                   money to the tens of thousands of
       On December 26, 2004 the world                  would have a direct affect on their                         children who had lost their parents in
     was informed of a disastrous tsunami              lives. The story of Petra Nûmcová drew                      the ordeal. The photographer expected
     that struck the coastlines of Asia.               attention to conditions in Thailand,                        tears, but instead found a serene smile
     Czechs would soon learn that world-               bringing on a giant, healing wave of                        on the face of Petra Nûmcová. Later
     famous model Petra Nûmcová was                    support for the afflicted country. With-                    she explained to journalists: “A mother
     among the survivors, but was very se-             in a few weeks the people of the Czech                      talks to her daughter about how people


                                            Cover of the book in which Petra describes her greatest challenges in life
18
                                                                   Petra with Thai children




react differently to tragedy. Think about                                                                     afflicted. For twenty orphans who sur-
a carrot, an egg and some coffee, she                                                                         vived the catastrophe on the Indonesian
says. Put these three things together                                                                         island of Aceh, she has arranged to cover
in hot water, and what happens? The                                                                           US$12,000 in costs for food, schooling,
carrot was hard, but now it’s soft. The                                                                       books, accommodation and transporta-
soft egg hardens. But the coffee? In the                                                                      tion. The American magazine Glamour
hot water, that is, in the most trying                                                                        declared her its Woman of the Year for
times, it gives us its aroma and taste.                                                                       2005. She has published a book en-
It becomes something better.” This is                                                                         titled Love Always, Petra, the proceeds
exactly how Petra behaved. As soon as                                                                         of which go to charitable activities.
she had recovered, she went back to                                                                           She travels diligently around the world
Thailand to learn what the orphaned                                                                           gathering support for the Happy Hearts
children need the most. Then she found-                                                                       Fund. She’s looking for money. Want
ed the Happy Hearts Fund, which now                                                                           to help? You’ll find the information at
helps 1200 Thai children. Her founda-                                                                         www.give2asia.org/happyheartsfund.
tion is contributing US$130,000 to build                                                                                                   Sabrina Karasová
a school in Khao Lak and housing for                                                                                    Editor-in-chief, Cosmopolitan magazine
                                                                                                                        Photos: Martin Bandzak, Cosmopolitan,
eighty children. She raised US$38,000                      Petra in a charity campaign for the firm               Sunflower Foundation (sunflowerchildren.org),
to provide psychological help for the                                     Rampage                                                           Happy Hearts Fund




     Happy Hearts Fund foundation donated US$130,000 to build a school            A picture by Jan Saudek going under the hammer at a charity auction of paintings
                        for 80 children in Khao Lak                                                                                                                  19
     1   2   3




     4   5   6




20
                           Art
               Czech women have been among
            the leading lace makers – alongside
            the Italians and Dutch – since the
            very beginnings of this remarkable
            textile’s history. Czech lace makers
            reconfirmed their select status in the
            beginning of the twentieth century,
            when lace found a new role in Czech
            culture.

                         Ludmila Kybalová
                                             b. 1929)
                                        Art Historian


               For centuries, lace has had the
            attributes of decorativeness, sweet-
            ness and filigreed beauty. It both
            pleased and embellished; it was evi-
            dence of nobility and celebration.

                                       Jifií Pilka
                                           (b. 1930)
                             Musicologist and writer


            Works by Milãa Eremiá‰ová
            (opposite page)
            1. Pyramid
            2. Scarlet in Blue
            3. Great Arch
            4. Sydney
1
            5. Gothic Arch
            6. Black-grey

            Centre photo: Madona v kefii

            Works by Svûtlana Pavlíãková
            (this page)
            1, 2, 3, 5. The Elements, flax,
                cotton, silk, metallic thread
                (dracou, lerex), beads, paper pulp
                (4x25x25 cm)
            4. Gryphon, wire, sheet metal
                (122x150 cm)
            6. Garden, metal, flax (122x90 cm)

2   3




        5




4       6




                                                        21
       SoÀa Hlaváãková:
                                        TINITY                                        remote nightclub next to a dock by the
       “My goal is to always have some                                                river on the outskirts of Prague.
        kind of goal.”

        Along the darkened catwalk strides
     one smiling beauty after another, the
                                                                                        S    oÀa Hlaváãková, who became
                                                                                      the first and thus far only Czech fashion
     spotlight shining on clothes so colour-                                          designer to present a collection at the
     ful that a butterfly could hide itself in                                        prêt-à-porter fashion show in Paris, is
     their folds. For a while it seems like                                           showing a part of that collection here.
     the inside of a gaudy Oriental harem;                                            This petite young woman dresses
     the next minute you find yourself on                                             Czech and foreign top models, televi-
     a busy street in a city where the pace                                           sion moderators, singers, actors and
     of life is so fast people need a stream-                                         sports stars. The twenty-eight-year-
     lined cut of clothes for zipping around.                                         old designer makes no secret of her
     Then suddenly the models are inviting                                            goals, judging the situation this way:
     you to a summer resort garden party,                                             “If I can keep up the same working
     full of sparkling sequins on dresses                                             pace I am now, I have a real chance to
     with refined slits. Staring in amaze-                                            make it abroad.” Smiling, she continues,
     ment at the multicoloured review on                                              “My goal is to be one of the world’s elite
     the stage, you know you’re seeing           SoÀa Hlaváãková, founder and owner
                                                                                      designers and break into the fashion
     something special. Something worldly                of the Tinity brand          markets in Europe, the United States,
     that you wouldn’t expect to find in a                                            Japan and the Arab countries. It’s a




22
                                                                                                Fashion
                                                                                           “Empathy is important for
                                                                                         dressing. You can’t make beauti-
                                                                                         ful clothes or even dress well and
                                                                                         tastefully if you’re not in tune
                                                                                         with the world around you.”
                                                                                                          Natálie Steklová
                                                                                                                          (b. 1976)
                                                                                                                  Fashion Designer




big job that has to be approached in                                                     When you watch her at work, you
a step-by-step manner. The world-                                                      realize that in addition to designs,
famous designers of today are mostly                                                   she is also creating and working with
between fifty and sixty years old. So I                                                the atmosphere in the room – flower
have a lot of time yet.”                                                               arrangements or a mix of music from
                                                                                       different genres and with different

  H     er fashion collection from the
Paris prêt-à-porter show sold out all
                                                                                       moods at the same time. “This year
                                                                                       I’m working mainly with silk and various
                                                                                       embroideries. I bring out the contrast
over the world. She also gained two big                                                between the roughness and smooth-
customers, a large boutique in Atlanta                                                 ness of the materials. There’s no colour
and one of the most luxurious fashion                                                  I would avoid.”
galleries in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,
where her models will be alongside
of those of Karel Lagerfeld and John
Gallian. “My goal is to always have
                                                                                         S     he continues, “For example, I like
                                                                                       to design outfits for fuller-bodied women
some kind of goal,” says SoÀa.              ing Eurotel, T-Mobile, L’Oreal, Hew-       who often want to conceal more, and
   As a child she was already designing     lett-Packard, Nestlé, Danone, Smirnoff     I help them discover how to present
and sewing outfits for her dolls. She       and Camel.                                 their better points and really look good.
was interested in architecture, grapho-        In discussing the Czech contribu-       My customers become my friends,
logy, sculpture; she studied art history,   tion to design, she says: “The present     which helps me to do my work. Women
drawing and esthetics. In time she          situation still requires Czech designers   in the stores often say to me, ‘It’s
opened her own store, which sold clothes    to rein in their extraordinary inven-      beautiful, but where would I wear it?”
imported from Italy; sometimes she          tiveness. There is no good designing       That’s nonsense! In Czechoslovakia
exhibited clothes that she designed         school in existence in our country;        under the old regime it paid to be a
herself. It turned out that the clientele   people have to go abroad to learn how      little grey mouse and blend in with the
were much more interested in her crea-      to use the technology. They have to        crowd.” SoÀa Hlaváãková believes:
tions than the Italian outfits, so she      discover a lot of things for themselves.   “My customers are different. They like
founded the fashion label Tinity and        Czechs are good at handicrafts: our        to dress well, and there are going to be
started designing full-time. She designed   locally made beads and pearls are          more and more of that kind of people
costumes for the Czech versions of          among the best in the world. But it’s      in this country.”
the musicals Grease and Chicago, and        mainly that we know how to work with
                                                                                                                  Sabrina Karasová
has created company logos for many          them. Things made by hand are somet-               Editor-in-chief, Cosmopolitan magazine
Czech and international firms, includ-      hing we can be proud of.”                                             Photos: www.tinity.cz




                                                                                                                                          23
       Blanka Matragi:
                                  BLANKA          She found herself on the road to finding    first she created designs for evening
       “I stand behind every rag.”                her dream clientele – customers from        wear for a private Lebanese firm, but in
                                                  the highest circles of the Arab world. At   1982 she opened her salon Blanka Haute
        If SoÀa Hlaváãková is the rising star                                                 Couture on Beirut’s main boulevard,
     of Czech design, Blanka Matragi is                                                       Hamra Street. She won a worldwide
     the fixed star – though she shines from                                                  competition for her design of police
     Lebanon. She first studied to be a glass                                                 uniforms for Abu Dhabi in the United
     cutter and then took up fashion design.                                                  Arab Emirates. She not only dresses the
     The link between art and fashion is her                                                  wives, sisters and daughters of kings,
     trademark theme; a big surprise was her                                                  emirs, sheiks and magnates in the region
     1999 comeback in the field of glass and                                                  of the Persian Gulf, but European high
     crystal costume jewellery.                                                               society as well. Her major focus remains
                                                                                              evening gowns, as well as shower and

       B     lanka first became internationally
     known within the Socialist bloc in 1978
                                                                                              wedding ensembles.
                                                                                                 “Everybody wants something extra-
                                                                                              ordinary; everyone wants to be original
     by winning the design competition for                                                    in themselves in order to satisfy their
     the 1980 Moscow Olympics collection.                                                     own vanity. And that’s what fashion is
     At home, she designed costumes for                                                       all about ... Today’s fashion is about a
     television and dressed the Czecho-                                                       feeling of lightness, the butterfly women
     slovak pop stars of the day.                                                             reveal as much as they can of their body.
       The following year she married a                                                       That’s why women are exercising and
     Lebanese engineer, Makram Matragi,                                                       working hard – even all my princesses
     and a few months later moved to Beirut.                                                  have their own private trainers and put




24
                 Blanka Matragi, the leading Czech fashion designer and founder of Blanka Haute Couture, has lived for many years in Lebanon.




a lot of effort into really looking good.                                                                    of the individual mythology of women.
What role is played by the customs of                                                                        She is the master of silence in vogue.
the Middle East? If they don’t want                                                                          The vogue of Blanka Matragi we cannot
their legs to be seen, we sheathe them                                                                       interpret only as a fashion. She creates
completely, but the décolletage and                                                                          artwork.” In 2003, Blanka Matragi was
the arms are bared today, with shawls                                                                        recognized by a proclamation of the
worn over them, made of, say, tulle                                                                          Czech Republic’s Senate and Ministry
or chiffon. And even in those palaces,                                                                       of Foreign Affairs as an “Important
they wear very sexy and very feminine                                                                        Czech Woman in the World”.
clothes.”                                                                                                      A presentation of sixty of her exclusive
   Blanka’s salon is unique not only for                                                                     evening gown designs along with an
the delicate textile that it produces: it’s                                                                  exhibit of past and current designs
also remarkable for the ethnic composi-                                                                      created for various royal families will
tion of the team of women who work for                                                                       be held in September of this year at
her. In 2001 a reporter from Czech Radio                                                                     the Municipal House in Prague. These
found women from Lebanon, Armenia,                                                                           events will be a part of the celebration
Turkey, the Czech Republic, the Phili-                                                                       of Blanka Matragi’s twenty-five years
ppines and one from the Seychelles.                                                                          in the profession.
They are Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox
                                                                                                                                                   The editors
Christians, Sunni and Shiite Muslims –                                                                               Photos: Robert Vano, Via Perfecta Agency,
a total of fifty women in two studios                                                                                          www.tinity.cz, www.blanka.com
who bring Blanka’s highly individualis-
                                                                                                                Who are the next leading Czech designers?
tic concepts into reality. Every customer            In the spring of that year, she was given                  Alice Abraham
here has her own tailor’s mannequin that             the European Art Prize, and that summer                    www.aliceabraham.com
is an exact reproduction of the client’s             this was followed by two more: the Sal-                    Monika Drápalová
                                                                                                                www.modra-fashion.cz
figure; the mannequin is even altered                vador Dali International Prize and the                     Helena Fejková
as people gain or lose weight. “My creed             Franti‰ek Kupka 2002 award from the                        www.helenafejkova.cz
                                                                                                                Daniela Flej‰arová and Eva Janou‰ková
is that I stand behind every article of              Union of Czech Graphic Artists for                         www.edaniely.cz
clothing,” says Matragi.                             “graphic and pictorial vision in clothing                  Tatiana Kovafiíková
   Blanka Matragi enjoyed a symbolic                 design.” When Professor Miroslav Klivar                    www.tatiana.cz
                                                                                                                Klára Nademl˘nská
triumph in 2002 with an exclusive                    of World Distributed University in Brussels                www.klaranademlynska.cz
fashion show in Prague, and the pre-                 gave her the European Art Award, he                        Ivana Novotná
                                                                                                                www.ivn.cz
sentation of her new collection for the              described her contribution to design in                    Libûna Rochová
twentieth anniversary of her Beirut salon.           this way: “Blanka Matragi is a master                      www.studio-lr.com




                                                                                                                                                                 25
     The Muses of Photogenie
        The nine Muses have been passed                   The oldest portrait of a woman
     down to us from the ancient Greeks.               shown here dates from the early twen-
     The depiction of their attributes has             tieth century. It was in 1903 that Fran-
     evolved through history to the point              ti‰ka Plamínková helped found the
     where we can barely recognize them.               Czech Women’s Club, the mission of
     Figuratively this foreshadows the                 which was the cultivation and enligh-
     democratization of the portrait,                  tenment of society. The picture by not-
     its mass distribution and trivializa-             ed traveller and photographer Fran-
     tion, most of which took place in the             ti‰ek Krátk˘ is one of significance.
     twentieth century.                                For a while Krátk˘ bore the torch of
                                                       idealization, seeing that his mission

         T he authors of the photos print-
     ed here are exclusively men. They
                                                       was to glorify the model in the spirit
                                                       of the times. In the thirty years that
                                                       I have been scouring the used book
     are an illustration of how the stronger           stores for photographic portraits, I had
     sex views humanity’s more delicate                never seen a photographic depiction
     half. From old-fashioned souvenir                 of a halo that was not circular but rec-
     photographs the range of genres ex-               tilinear – until last year. It should be
     pands to encompass the dreams that                understood that I have seen innumer-
     contemporary artists harbour and                  able circles and ovals engraved on
     communicate about women.                  1       photographs as haloes.




     2                                         3       4




     5                                             6




26
7




    8                                                                                    10



       The lady in the picture was probably                                              civic self-awareness. A new nation had
    Bohumila Bloudilová, to whom Fran-                                                   been founded and now the inalienable
    ti‰ek Krátk˘ taught photography in                                                   dignity of man and woman was not
    Kolín. In the spring of 1906, she open-                                              just for the elites, who had cultivated
    ed her own studio in that same town.                                                 the portrait for centuries. With inex-
    Because Kolín is so much smaller                                                     pensive photography available to the
    than Prague, her efforts to compete       9                                          masses, now even a typical day labourer
    in what was then, in the tradition of                                                could be immortalized. The earlier deco-
    nineteenth-century morality, a man’s      sion to fill the role of First Lady. Her   rativeness fell by the wayside: a realistic
    profession, are all the more admirable.   father TomበGarrigue Masaryk was          likeness was now sufficient to convey
       In the 1920s the women’s liberation    the first President of an independent      human dignity.
    movement was burgeoning. European         Czechoslovakia, a democracy built             Though Alice Masaryková was a
    men returned from the Great War to        on the ruins of the Austro-Hungarian       figure close to the ruling circles, here
    a different world. The clear growth       Empire. When he visited the legendary      she poses unpretentiously. Her portrait
    in women’s self-awareness required        photographer Franti‰ek Drtikol, it was     has not yet assumed the Art Deco mood,
    some adjustments. Nor could it be         Alice who accompanied him.                 but is no longer Art Noveau. With
    ignored in photography. Chairwoman          Drtikol is known today for his nudes,    Euro-American emancipation, women
    of the Czechoslovak Red Cross Alice       but his archives contained many times      are discarding their prudish attire.
    Masaryková was also called on occa-       more portraits. They seem to exude a       Skirts are shortened by one-third, and


                                                                                                                                       27
     more and more women                     self. But that is a differ-
     are allowing themselves                 ent chapter in the demo-
     to be seen in natty, close-             cratization of art.
     fitting swimwear. More                     Only the one anony-
     and more, women feel                    mous photo may have
     comfortable in front of                 been taken by a woman.
     the camera.                             This is, however, quite un-
        The illustration of Ví-              likely: if it was the case,
     tûzslav Nezval’s poetry                 it would be a surprising
     by Karel Tiege crosses                  exception. It would mean
     the line into the modern                that the male ideal of
     conception of women.                    women was a concept
     According to this inter-                that could be put forward
     pretation, a picture in the             by women themselves.
     true service of the inter-              But in this exhibit we
     national avant-garde must               follow women through
     be socially committed                   the male photographer’s
     and critically decipher-                various angles of motiva-
     able. The idealistic depic-             tion. In any case, it is ob-
     tion of women (often in                 vious that women remain
     the genre of the nude)                  a welcome source of inspi-
     was to be confronted                    ration, one that can give
     with their actual status in             the photographer’s vision
     society during the era of               a surprising set of wings.
     global economic crisis in                  To a certain extent it is
     the 1930s. The presenta-                often obscure whether a
     tion of this conflict re-               picture was staged for the
     mains on the photogra-                  photographer or came his
     pher’s agenda to this day.              way by happenstance and
     In the end it would be                  serendipity. The arrange-
     up to the female artist to              ment from the studio of
     seize portraiture for her-    11        the contemporary photo-




     12                                 13




28
14



grapher Ivan Pinkava is extremely                                                     Men themselves have other things in
old-fashioned in stylization. But the                                                 mind. To be happy in life they don’t
vignette of war by Tibor Honty almost                                                 need a woman out of a picture!
gives the impression of having been
                                                                                                                         Josef Moucha
composed as well: it would be hard to                                                                                  Fotograf magazine
stage a more pathos-inducing scene
                                                                                      The Changing Image of Women in Photography
with an entire film studio and crew!                                                  – captions
                                                                                      1. Franti‰ek Kratk˘ (Kolín): unititled


     P
     avel Mára casts art historian Anna
Fárová in an extraordinary dual role.
                                                                                          (early twentieth century)
                                                                                      2. Franti‰ek Drtikol: Alice Masarykova, 1919
                                                                                          (Collections of the Museum
                                                                                          of Decorative Arts, Prague)
                                                                                      3. Karel Teige, illustration for Abeceda,
In one stroke he pays double tribute                                                      a collection of poems by Vítûzslav Nezval, 1926
to her legacy as a multi-faceted artist                                               4. Eva Fuka, Straw Head, 1958
                                                                                      5. Jan Lukas, Refugees from the Sudetenland following
on the one hand and as a specialist in                                                    the Munich Agreement, early October 1938
photography on the other. Her older                                                       (Property of the author)
colleagues on the academic art scene                                                  6. Miroslav Hák, Mask, 1938 (Collections of the
                                                                                          Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague)
regarded the medium as unworthy.          15
                                                                                      7. MiloÀ Novotn˘, Model, 1964 (Collections of the
But her younger colleagues instead                                                        Moravian Gallery, Brno)
                                                                                      8. Vilém Reichmann, from the cycle Magic:
chose to follow her example.              nonsense, but are believable”. As an            Sexbomb, 1964
  Our review can hardly fail to mention   example he says: “No girl is going to           (Collections of the Moravian Gallery, Brno)
seventy-one-year-old Jan Saudek, one      hold her blouse in her teeth to reveal      9. Alexander Hammid, Maya, around 1943
                                                                                          (Collections of the PPF Group)
of the most famous Czech photogra-        her breasts. I did it, and it works.”       10. Jaromír Funke, Sisters, 1942 (Collections of the
phers ever. With his bold sense for          Careful readers will surely have             Moravian Gallery, Brno)
                                                                                      11. Tibor Honty, Killed in the war’s last seconds.
dramatic contradiction he declares:       noticed that no attention has been given        Funeral of Colonel Georgij Sacharov in front
“My photos are purely decorative, and     here to the kind of beauty that submits         of the Rudolphinum, Prague, 10 May 1945
people should hang them on their          itself through various competitions to           (Collections of the Moravian Gallery, Brno)
                                                                                      12. Ivan Pinkava, Salome, 1996 (Property of the author)
walls. I want them to be enjoyed.         a collective-minded band of judges.         13. Tono Stano, Sense, 1992 (Property of the author)
After all, they speak of eternal human    All these queens of the catwalk some-       14. Bohdan Holomíãek, Trutnov, 1967
                                                                                          (Collections of the PPF Group)
problems”. The author creates, in his     how look alike ... poster-quality, you      15. Jan Saudek, Marie no. 142, 1972
own words, “things that are complete      might say ... but nothing like the Muses.       (Property of the author)




                                                                                                                                                29
                             Eva Fuka
                         It’s my world...
       “I haven’t been influenced by                Eva at an exhibition opening in the office of J. Funke      She was introduced to photography
                                                              in Brno. Photo: Emanuel Frynta
     anybody, and it never occurred to me                                                                    at an early age by her father Franti‰ek
     to try out any new techniques. I just                                                                   Pode‰va, an academic, painter, and
     created my own world. Sometimes                                                                         editor-in-chief of the journals Rozkvût
     the results may have been a bit clum-                                                                   and Salon. His wife Marie was an
     sy, but it was my world, and no one                                                                     author and a translator who spoke
     could enter but me. I never really                                                                      several foreign languages. Perhaps it
     cared about any international trends                                                                    was Eva Fuka’s inherited verbal
     – I didn’t even know about them, and                                                                    talent that inspired her to give voice
     didn’t miss them, either.”                                                                              to her memories. All quotations used
                   Photographer Eva Fuka                                                                     in this article are taken from her auto-
            in her biography Fragments of a                                                                  biography Fragments of a Life.
            Life: A Photographer’s Memoir.                                                                      The Pode‰va sisters spent their pre-
                                                                                                             school years living in a large, well-

       L    ast year’s made-for-television
     film Vracím do zemû labryntu (Return
                                                                                                             lighted flat with a glass ceiling in a
                                                                                                             building on the main street in the Vino-
                                                                                                             hrady district, one of Prague’s better
     to the Land of the Labyrinth) was di-                                                                   quarters. The flat served as a studio
     rector Ale‰ Kisil’s tribute to the life                                                                 and as a meeting place for artists,
     and work of Eva and Vladimír Fuka.                                                                      photographers and literati, including
     The pair left Prague and settled across        lives in Prague. Art has become a                        frequent visitors from abroad: “There
     the ocean, then back to the old conti-         way for her to keep impressions                          was an orange rug with a white ele-
     nent, then from Germany back to New            fresh and alive, a way of maintaining                    phant in the middle covering the hall’s
     York. Today Eva Fuka (born in 1927)            direction.                                               parquet floor – a gift from a friend in




                           Time Stood Still, 1957                                                             Final Journey, 1953
30
                                                                                               Portrait




China – that never ceased to fascinate                    Pork Fat, 1953              began to disappear from our play-
me,” recalls Eva Fuka.                                                                ground and from school benches.”
  Eva Fuka has been photographing
sculptures and pictures in an attic                       Shadow, 1952                        Retracing her steps
studio of New York’s Metropolitan
Museum since the 1960s, a space with                                                     “My photographic experiments at
the same nourishing light as the light                                                the age of twelve were not too bad,”
that poured down on her childhood                                                     reckons the author of two monographs
through the glass ceiling.                                                            and many exhibitions and catalogues.
                                                                                      “I became more and more interested

  H     er parents brought up the girls
with Spartan discipline. Her father
                                                                                      in photography; I made several pass-
                                                                                      able pictures, and started my ‘studies’
                                                                                      at the studio of Miro Bernat, and at
probably missed having a boy, so he                                                   the School of Graphics.” Even during
dressed the girls in pants, had their                                                 the war, young novices in the art of
hair cut short and taught them to box.                                                photography were taught there by
  “A regular visitor would often frighten                                             Josef Ehm and Jaromír Funke, who
us, saying that war was coming and if                                                 had been inspired by Surrealism. A
we misbehaved we could be sent to a                                                   like-minded photographer and future
concentration camp. In my childhood                                                   film director, Miro Bernat, assigned
imagination this abstract term filled                                                 selected literature to his student for
me with unimaginable horror. I did                                                    her to study and had her recite poetry.
not like that man.”                                                                      The Second World War ended for
  Then came a raw and cold March                                                      Eva with the beginning of the Prague
1939 and German soldiers occupied                                                     Uprising on 5 May 1945: “On that
Czechoslovakia. “We all cried over          blackest night, where people were         day I celebrated my birthday: I was
our betrayal by our allies. Our pa-         bumping into one another in the dark.     eighteen years old. I’ll never forget
rents hung a poem by Svatopluk âech         As the days went by, yellow stars be-     the ninth of May, when the tanks fin-
on the wall: ‘Believe no one in this        gan to appear on people’s clothes, and    ally appeared on the horizon to liber-
wide world we haven’t a single friend       I, in desperate protest, always rode in   ate Prague from the last clutches of
there ...’ Prague was darkened; the         the rear tram cars, because Jews were     the Germans. At five in the morning
trams shone like blue fireflies in the      not allowed in the front cars. Friends    we were awakened by the growl of


                                                                                                                                31
                           Autumn Leaves, 1953                             Just Three, 1962




     motors. Soon, faint hopes that we                                   illegal. Just like during the occupa-
     would be seeing American tanks dis-                                 tion, one could only dream of the
     appeared: ‘This means the end’, said                                streets full of lights, and cafés where
     my dad quietly, standing on the balcony                             people could talk freely among them-
     watching the lumbering giants go by,                                selves. The new dictatorial regime
     their red banners fluttering.”                                      ushered in decades of arms races and
                                                                         economic absurdity. Shadows lurked

       I   n the early summer of 1945,
     this graduate of a graphics secondary
                                                                         behind closed-up storefronts of busi-
                                                                         nesses that had been nationalized and
                                                                         then abandoned. The cinema and the
     school and trained photographer app-                                theatre were overrun with propa-
     lied to the Academy of Fine Arts in                                 ganda. Prague Castle loomed forbid-
     Prague. All Czech universities had been                             dingly over the Vltava, while Prague’s
     closed for several years and there was                              narrow streets and romantic houses
     a rush to sign up for newly-opened                                  crumbled from a lack of maintenance.
     classes; even so, she was accepted.                                 Façades were streaked with leaking
        There she met a classmate who                                    water from rusty gutters. While the
                                                 Silver Necklace, 1962
     would become her life-long partner:                                 graphic and impromptu artist Vla-
     Vladimír Fuka (1926-1977). Their                                    dimír Boudník exploited the cracks
     youthful beginnings were interrupted                                in the walls right there on the houses,
     by the Communist takeover in Fe-                                    Eva Fuka altered the contours of
     bruary 1948, which was followed by                                  reality in her photographs. She usual-
     a regime of parades, lines in front of                              ly worked with a simple idea – for
     empty shops and the kitsch of Socia-                                example, reversing the negative when
     list Realism.                                                       developing it.
        In the 1950s Eva Fuka explored
     Prague with a camera around her neck
     and her daughter Ivana on her back.
     At that time she began to build the
                                                                           T   he Fukas were artists who drew
                                                                         on the subject of life in society. Once
     foundation of her life’s work. She was                              a week they and their young friends
     cut off from the outside world by an                                shared with one another the contents
     impermeable wall of censorship: the                                 of their “diaries”. During the difficult
     borders were vigilantly monitored                                   years of Stalinism they issued a pri-
     by the police; group activities were                                vate magazine that became the intel-


                                                  Self-portrait, 1962
32
                        In the Woods, 1958                                               Jifií Koláfi, 1954




lectual foundation for their                                                                                To be continued
further work. The Cold War
era produced a shift in the                                                                         After thirty-five years
lyrical imagination towards                                                                       of exile Eva Fuka returned
irony, towards absurdity:                                                                         to her native Prague. The
“We formed an inseparable                                                                         apartment of this scholarly,
group, and we saw each                                                                            classically-educated artist is
other pretty much every day.                                                                      more than tastefully furnish-
We were all poor; none of                                                                         ed; it is an environment in
us produced anything useful                                                                       the artistic sense. Of course
to the regime. Our common                                                                         the spirit of Vladimír Fuka
plight in those years bound                                                                       is ever-present in his paint-
us tightly together. Of course                                                                    ings, drawings and graphics.
we didn’t dare sit around                                                                         Eva Fuka divides her time
in a coffee shop: the spooks                                                                      between Prague and trips to
were always right behind us;                                                                      America and Paris, where
sometimes they hung around                                                                        her grandson lives and where
under our windows. During                                                                         her daughter runs a success-
the political trials there was                                                                    ful graphics studio.
a ban on group meetings,
so we went to see friends
one at a time.”                                                                                      E va Fuka is prepar-
                                                                                                ing a retrospective for her

  T   he atmosphere of su-
spicion and a targeted cam-
                                                                                                eightieth birthday in a
                                                                                                year’s time. This look back
                                                                                                on her life’s work will re-
paign against intellectuals                                                                     quire a thorough review
cost artist Jifií Koláfi nine months                                                     of the surviving archives of nega-
                                                            Hotel, 1952
in pre-trial detention. He was jailed                                                  tives, many of which have never
just before Christmas, 1952. “Luckily                                                  been developed.
the trial was interrupted by Stalin’s         head out to tell me of Stalin’s death.
                                                                                                                    Josef Moucha
death. I remember it well: I used to         In the streets the loudspeakers                                      Fotograf magazine
walk with the baby carriage beneath          were playing funeral music but our
the window, and Vladimír stuck his           hearts rejoiced.”


                                                                                                                                      33
                                                       signed for large architectural spaces
          Two Queens of                                are less well known because they are so
                                                       difficult to display.
                                                                                                       Fashion show supports the
           Czech Lace                                                                                      ·koda Roomster
                                                         The artistic world of Milãa Eremiá-
                                                       ‰ová has many of the characteristics of
                                                       the Czech artistic tradition: to contain a
                                                       spiritual message, to unify horizons, to
                                                       tune nature and people, past and present,
                                                       the friability of tragedy with the desire
                                                       for life’s beauty, into a personal and
                                                       perspective creative gesture. Women are
                                                       often blessed with the gifts of wisdom
                                                       and harmony. Milãa Eremiá‰ová is able
                                                       to transform these into the strong langu-
                                                       age of artistic expression.
        Milãa Eremiá‰ová (b. 1938)                                                                     Recently, models and dancers dres-
        Milãa Eremiá‰ová was born in Prague                                                          sed in silver gowns by the Czech fash-
     and following her secondary school                                                              ion designer Hana Havelková enticed
     studies, she attended the Academy of                                                            visitors at the automobile show in
     Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague,                                                        Leipzig, Germany to look at the new
     where she studied lace and embroidery.                                                          ·koda Roomster car, which had its
     She was a teacher at an arts and crafts
                                                                                                     German premiere at this show.
     institute and in 1990 she began teaching
     at the private Master School of Artistic                                                          The designer noted “A team of top
     Design in Prague. Currently she is                                                              Czech models and professional dan-
     teaching both at home and abroad. Since                                                         cers try to get the attention of the visi-
     she completed her studies, she has been                                                         tors, with more than thirty models ap-
     an active artist and she first exhibited her                                                    pearing in a single performance. This
     works in Sweden in 1967 her first solo                                                          year we had the great fortune to work
     domestic exhibition was in 1973.                                                                with Michal ·típa, a soloist for the
        In his essay “The Secret Touch in the             Svûtlana Pavlíãková (b. 1954)              National Theatre Ballet in Prague. In
     Lace of Milãa Eremiá‰ová”, Jifií Pilka                Svûtlana Pavlíãková was born in the        addition to a traditional fashion show
     writes: “Milãa Eremiá‰ová found her               eastern Bohemian city of Hradec Králo-        presentation, the models adjust the
     world in the fragility of all types of thread.    vé. She studied bobbin lace making at
                                                                                                     steering wheel, adjust the seats and
     Her lace creations leave the two-dimen-           the Artistic Production Institute in Vam-
     sional world behind, moving into a three-         berk. She then worked there as a lace         load a mountain bike into the car,
     dimensional space that combines a wooden          maker and designer for a lace making          all with grace and a smile. Havelková
     torso with a tree-like structure. The spiritual   artistic cooperative. Since 1992, she has     adds, “I designed the clothes to go
     world is a powerful source of inspiration         devoted her energies to both decorative       with the design of the new car.”
     in her work, manifesting itself in pietas,        and non-decorative arts. She has exhibit-                             Photo: Max Tsiu
     crucifixes, and innumerable variations            ed her works since 1978 and currently
     of representations of the Virgin Mary and         they may be found in the collections
     Jesus. What is remarkable for work                of the Vamberk Lace Museum, the Pra-            Headquarters for
     thus inspired is a dance-like quality. The
     Virgin Mary is not represented in tradi-
                                                       chatice Lace Museum and the Museum
                                                       of Jewish Culture in Prague.
                                                                                                        EU Presidency
     tional brave figurations, but joy glows              She says about herself: “Something
     from within her, she is flowing, in motion.       fundamental draws me towards textiles.           Our country is continuing in its pre-
     Emphasis is placed on feeling rather than         It was fate that introduced me to bobbin      parations for the 2009, when the Czech
     description or naturalism.                        lace making and allowed me to develop         Republic should host the presidency of
        We can find natural motifs in a wide           within it. This limitation is not a limita-   the Council of the European Union. Jan
     range of the artist’s works; the world of         tion. Embracing and breaking the bor-         Kohout, the Czech Republic’s ambas-
     music (Janáãek, MartinÛ, Stravinsky) is           ders of this technique’s possibilities is     sador to the European Union, has already
     a frequent source of inspiration. Nature          almost impossible for one person. One         signed a lease for four floors with offices
                                                                                                     for 120 people in a building next to the
     is often an independent element in many           deals with many other textile and non-
                                                                                                     seat of the Czech Republic’s Permanent
     of her creations because Milãa Eremiá-            textile techniques that either are derived    Representation to the EU. This complex
     ‰ová feels very close to it. Suggestive re-       from lace making or that naturally assi-      of buildings is located not far from the
     presentations of the sea in a wide range          milate with it. The boundlessness of the      seat of the European Parliament.
     of variations are often dominant; the             technical possibilities is a challenge, an       The Czech Republic will hold the ro-
     artist joyfully and repeatedly sets out on        adventure and a space for personal ex-        tating presidency from January to June
     a journey to that ancient element that is         pression. I am searching for both the         2009. The costs associated with the pre-
     the source of all life on this planet.            philosopher’s stone and myself in the in-     sidency that must be covered will be ap-
        Eremiá‰ová’s monumental works de-              numerable branches of this living tree.       proximately 2 billion crowns.


34
                                                                                                                     Mosaic

                                                                                          Toronto, Canada. In addition to their own

        Trends 2007                                Kurková wins                           literary works, the duo of ·kvoreck˘ and
                                                                                          Salivarová focused on the publication of
                                                      award                               Czech literature for more than two decades
                                                                                          during their Canadian exile. Beginning in
                                                                                          1969, their publishing house Sixty-Eight
                                                                                          Publishers issued more than 220 literary
                                                                                          and historical works banned by Commu-
                                                                                          nist Czechoslovakia.
                                                                                             During the presentation of the award,
                                                                                          the eighty-one-year old ·kvoreck˘ noted
                                                                                          that the good name of the Czech Republic
                                                                                          in Canada has primarily been spread by
                                                                                          local Czech businesspeople.


                                                At the age of only 22, the top Czech
                                             fashion model Karolina Kurková has                  RADIO PRAGUE
                                             found herself in the company of women
                                             such as the former American First Lady,
                                             Hillary Clinton and Jordan’s Queen Ra-       WHEN AND WHERE YOU CAN HEAR US
                                             nia. In New York City, the non-profit
                                                                                           UTC (GMT)              Frequency (kHz) Metre Band                            Target Area
                                             organization Women Together recogniz-         0700 - 0727                    9880                      31             N.W. Europe
                                             ed Kurková for her contributions to the       0900 - 0929
                                                                                                                         11600
                                                                                                                         21745
                                                                                                                                                    25
                                                                                                                                                    13             W. Africa/S. Asia
                                             struggle for women’s rights. This pres-       1030 - 1057                    9880
                                                                                                                         11615
                                                                                                                                                    31
                                                                                                                                                    25
                                                                                                                                                                   North Europe
                                                                                                                                                                   N.W. Europe
                                             tigious award was presented this year         1300 - 1329                   13580
                                                                                                                         21745
                                                                                                                                                    22
                                                                                                                                                    13
                                                                                                                                                                   N. Europe
                                                                                                                                                                   S. Asia
                                             to ten women who are helping women            1600 - 1627                    5930                      49             N. W. Europe
                                                                                                                         21745                      13             E. Africa
                                             in the developing world. Others to be         1700 - 1727                    5930                      49             N. W. Europe
                                                                                                                         21745                      13             C. Africa
                                             honoured were the Hollywood star              2000 - 2027                    5930                      49             N. W. Europe
                                                                                                                         11600                      25             S. & E.Asia/Australia
                                             Angeina Jolie and the Columbian pop           2130 - 2157                   11600                      25             S. & E.Asia/Australia
                                                                                                                         15545                      19             W. Africa
                                             singer Sharika, who heads the children’s      2230 - 2257                   11600                      25             North America
                                                                                                                         15545                      19
                                             aid foundation Barefoot.                      0000 - 0027                    7345                      41             North America
                                                                                                                         11615                      25
                                                In receiving the award, Kurková said,      0100 - 0127                    5915                      49             North America
                                                                                                                          7345                      41
                                             “People have to help each other, without      0300 - 0327                    7345                      41             North America
                                                                                                                         *7385                      41
                                             regard for skin colour, nationality or re-                                   9870                      31
                                                                                           0330 - 0357                   11600                      25             Mi. East/S.W. Asia
                                             ligion. Mutual toleration is incredibly                                     15470                      19
                                             important. I think that they chose Sha-       Transmitters at Litomy‰l 16E10 49N48
                                                                                           *Relayed via WRMI Miami, Florida 80W22 25N54 – Live Transmission via Internet http://www.radio.cz
   A show of works by the fashion de-        rika and me, so that we can help to
signer Helena Fejková’s work entitled        spread information about the needs of         SATELLITE TRANSMISSIONS VIA WORLD RADIO NETWORK
“Trends 2007” was organized by the           women to the younger generation.”             UTC (GMT)             SATELLITE
                                                                                           0900 - 0930           Hotbird 5, Transp. 94, 12.597 GHz                               Europe
Czech Centre in Paris and the Lucerna                                  Photo: Mango                              Vertical, Symbol Rate 27.500 Mbaud
                                                                                                                 FEC 3/4, MPEG2 DVB, Select WRN English
Prague Fashion Gallery, together with                                                      0200 - 0230           Galaxy 5 3.820 GHz                                              North
the National Theatre Ballet.                                                                                     Transponder 6; V-Polarization
                                                                                                                 Audio Subcarrier 6.8 MHz
                                                                                                                                                                                 America

   The fashion show was held on 21                Prize for the duo
April at the newly-opened arrival terminal
of the Eurolines Bus Company, which           ·kvoreck˘ and Salivarová                        For details of other Radio Prague transmission on
                                                                                                 WRN see: http://www.wrn.org/tuningin.html.
is located in La Défense – the most                                                           Radio Prague is the international service of Czech Ra-
modern district in Paris. Eurolines set                                                   dio. Our aim is to keep the world informed about the Czech
up some four hundred seats around                                                         Republic. We offer the very latest news and current affairs,
the twenty-five-metre long catwalk,                                                       as well as programmes devoted to the Czech economy,
                                                                                          sport, culture, society and history. You can hear Radio Pra-
which was the stage for a dance crea-
                                                                                          gue’s 30-minute broadcasts on shortwave and via satellite –
tion choreographed by Jan Kodet and                                                       see table below. Radio Prague’s broadcasts are also available
directed by Lenka Vinická.                                                                in text and sound on the Internet at www.radio.cz. Radio
   This shows premier had been held                                                       Prague also offers free daily of news bulletins by
earlier on 18 April at the Czernin Pala-                                                  e-mail. If you want to have the latest news from the Czech
ce, the seat of the Ministry of Foreign                                                   Republic in English, German, French, Spanish or Czech
Affairs in Prague. Among the guest was                                                    delivered to your mailbox every day, please subscribe
the Foreign Minister, Cyril Svoboda.                                                      at cr@radio.cz or write to Radio Prague, Vinohradská 12, 120
                                                                                          99 Prague 2, Czech Republic, tel. +420-2-2155 2901.
Money raised from the sale of tickets
was donated to the People in Need              Josef ·kvoreck˘ and Zdena Salivarová
                                                                                                                      TUNE IN TO US ON FM!
Foundation for orphan-focused projects       were presented the Gratias Agit Prize for
in Namibia. This fashion show, in co-        spreading the good name and reputation of        In Prague, we can be heard on FM. Tune in on
operation with the Czech House, should       the Czech Republic abroad by the Foreign     weekdays at 9.45 and 21.30 local time on 101.1 FM
also be held in Moscow in May.               Minister Cyril Svoboda during his visit to   (in association with the BBC World Service).




                                                                                                                                                                                               35
         Vítûzslava Kaprálová
                                              An Exceptional Composer
        She was only twenty-two and yet she                                                                        Czech, she loved the (Bohemian-Mo-
     had only a few short years to live. She                                                                       ravian) Highlands, his native region,
     had just boarded the train to Paris, having                                                                   and as a composer she was like his soul
     received a scholarship to a local music                                                                       mate. It would have been enough to add
     school. She departed in 1937 as a promis-                                                                     his experience to her miraculous talent
     ing composer and original conductor.                                                                          and he would not only have created a
        The composer Bohuslav MartinÛ, who                                                                         great artist but a sort of continuation of
     by this time was already very famous                                                                          his own being. MartinÛ, who had lived
     and had been living primarily in France                                                                       for many years with the kind but wholly
     since 1923, had convinced her to apply                                                                        disinterested Charlotta – a good, mother-
     for the scholarship. MartinÛ had met                                                                          ly housekeeper but no source of inspira-
     Vítûzslava Kaprálová during one of his                                                                        tion, had no children and Vitka (as she
     trips to Boehmia. She caught his eye,                                                                         was known to friends) awoke within him
     both as a student composer and most                                                                           both a father’s pride and an inspired
     certainly as a woman. Once in Paris,                                                                          love for an ideal being. This is why he
     she found support in MartinÛ – they                                                                           initially was afraid to caress her other
     played together and he advised her on                                                                         than through words, looks and thoughts.
     her compositions. MartinÛ – who was                                                                           MartinÛ was all to conscious of how
     a quarter of a century her senior – fell                                                                      little, aside from his artistic talents,
     in love. The student and ward was trans-             lives were impacted by Vítûzslava                        he had to offer a girl so much younger
     formed into a friend and lover.                      Kaprálová in Paris, wrote in his book                    than himself, someone who appeared
                                                          Podivné lásky (Strange Loves): “It was                   to him as an inconstant, mercurial pixie.
               They all fall for her                      no surprise that MartinÛ’s relationship                  He would have given her everything.
                                                          with her changed. Everyone fell in love                  But there was one thing he couldn’t and
      Jifií Mucha, son of the painter Alfons               with her quite readily, but for MartinÛ                  it was the most important.” Just who
     Mucha and one of the other men whose                 there were even more reasons. She was                    was this “mercurial pixie”?




                 Since 2001, the Venus Quartet Prague has been known as the Kapralova Quartet (with the permission of Mr Josef Kaprál and in association
36                                                               with the Kapralova Society in Canada)
Vítûzslava Kaprálová in a drawing by Rudolf Kundera
                                                                                                             Personality
                                                                                                           “All we can do is look for the
                                                                                                         good with open eyes and steel
                                                                                                         ourselves against the evil, be
                                                                                                         grateful for the beauty that sur-
                                                                                                         rounds us and for the pain.”
                                                                                                                   Vítûzslava Kaprálová
                                                                                                                          (1915-1940), Composer
                                                                                                                      (from a letter to her mother)




        She came from Brno, her father was                                                             Conservatory, where she developed her
     a recognized composer and was the di-                                                             interest in composing to the full. She
     rector of a music school; her mother was                                                          completed her studies in 1935 with a piano
     a singer, meaning that her talents were                                                           concerto that she herself also conducted.
     inherited. Her parents set about try to                                                           Music critics began to write about a girl
     develop these talents. It is quite possible                                                       with an exceptional musical talent. But
     that they saw in her a child prodigy. They                                                        Vítûzslava Kaprálová wanted more – she
     encouraged her piano playing, when                                                                wanted to attend the composing master
     she started to compose, they didn’t try                                                           school in Prague, where the composer
     to stop her. Nor did they when she wanted                                                         Vítûzslav Novák taught. She moved to
     to leave Brno for Prague and then for                                                             Prague and discovered a new cultural en-
     Paris. From a very young age she was                                                              vironment: concerts, exhibitions, theatres.
     small and fragile and yet at the same                                                             Here for the first time, she was comple-
     time stubborn and independent.                                                                    tely independent and had to watch each
                                                                 A very talented girl                  and every crown piece in her purse. She

        S   he was able to read without diffi-
     culty at the age of five and she spent
                                                         After completing primary school, Ka-
                                                      prálová chose to study at a conservatory,
                                                                                                       was sometimes forced to make a choice
                                                                                                       that only someone with a similar passion
                                                                                                       would be able to understand: buy new
     many long hours at her father’s music            but she unexpectedly chose the combina-          sheet music or perhaps something to eat?
     school learning to read music and play-          tion composing and conducting. At the            However, she would write home things
     ing four-handed on the piano with him.           time it was normal that if a woman want-         like: “I’ve settled in and it’s pretty good
     She composed her first longer work               ed to make a living in music, she could          here. I don’t even have to use the heat be-
     at the age of nine. This was also the            either be a teacher in a music school or         cause the kitchen is in the next room and
     time when she first became seriously             a répétiteur in opera or operetta. As her        they always let some of the heat into my
     ill and was sent to the tuberculosis             father had a good knowledge of the pro-          room. My piano playing is very good and
     sanatorium in Star˘ Smrkovec. From               fessional possibilities in the field, he tried   all in all it’s less expensive than last year.
     that time, she constantly had an elevat-         to talk her out of it. But – as has already      My breakfast is cacao and two large bread
     ed temperature a signal that something           been said – she was a stubborn young             rolls that I spread some butter on. I have
     in her body was not well.                        girl. She was accepted to study at the Brno      mum’s morning snacks, lunch for about


                                                                                                                                                        37
                                                      Vítûzslava Kaprálová conducting the Brno Radio Orchestra

     six crowns from the lady a-                                                                                               spring, she began to see Jifií,
     cross the hall. In the evening,                                                                                           son of the painter Alfons Mu-
     it’s a cup of tea that I make                                                                                             cha. They quickly became
     myself using my iron.”                                                                                                    close friends. In France, Jifií
                                                                                                                               Mucha took advantage of his
                In Paris                                                                                                       father’s previous acquaintan-
                                                                                                                               ces to organize social events
       Kaprálová completed the                                                                                                 for Czech refugees and was
     master school in 1937 and                                                                                                 in contact with other artists
     applied for a state scholar-                                                                                              who had remained outside
     ship to go to Paris, where                                                                                                Czechoslovakia. They would
     MartinÛ was waiting for her.                                                                                              meet at the well-known café
     She was introduced to the                                                                                                 Les Deux Magots; another
     Paris cultural scene and in                                                                                               place where the Czech com-
     one of her letters home she                                                                                               munity would gather was the
     wrote, “Yesterday I was at a                                                                                              Café de Flore. This is also
     concert by Triton, where they                                                                                             where figures such as Picasso
     played Bach, Honegger, Bar-                                                                                               or Jean Cocteau were regu-
     tók and someone else, but I                                                                                               lars – exclusive company for
     just can remember who. We                                                                                                 a young artist.
     then went to meet them (I guess
     they always do that here) and                                                                                                  A wedding without a
     ·afránek introduced me to a                                                                                                        honeymoon
     lot of people just to mention a few – Ho-
     negger, Milhauda, Flor. Schmidt (is that                                                                       While she would sometimes stay at
     how it’s spelled?), I can’t remember who                                                                    Jifií Mucha’s, she was still correspond-
     else. Schmidt was very kind to me and                                                                       ing with Rudolf Kopec. Bohuslav Mar-
     said that it’s quite charming that I’m                                                                      tinÛ hopes were also still alive – she
     composing, I said ‘Of course’ and ‘You’re                                                                   had promised him that they would tour
     just saying that’ and otherwise limited                                                                     America together.
     myself to ‘oui’ and ‘enchantée’.” The letter                                                                   Jifií Mucha tried to resolve this strange
     is good evidence of her growing self-                                                                       situation by offering his hand in marriage
     confidence, which was of course entirely                                                                    to Vítûzlava. But because he was to be-
     justified. The premier of what is today                                                                     come an army officer, he had to leave for
     her most famous composition, the Mili-                                                                      military training in the south of France.
     tary Sinfonietta, was held in November                                                                      He returned on a brief leave in April
     1937. Kaprálová dedicated the piece to                                                                      1940, when he married Vitka, as he
     Edvard Bene‰ as the supreme comman-                                                                         called her. Jifií, however, had to return
     der of the Czechoslovak military and for           away. Vítûzslava Kaprálová continued to                  immediately to his military camp and
     this the president personally thanked her.         compose and experienced more romantic                    he waited there for his wife to arrive.
     The composer was quite proud of herself            interludes. In March 1938 she wrote her                  She kept putting off the journey and
     and her compositions were now being                parents that she had received two offers                 what’s more in one letter, she wrote that
     played at home and abroad. At Christmas            of marriage. One of her suitors was a cer-               she had been to see a doctor, who had re-
     of that eventful year of 1939, she conduct-        tain Dr Hauner, who she wasn’t really                    commended surgery. As a former medic,
     ed her Prélude de Noël for French radio.           interested in. The other was from an en-                 this seemed strange to Jifií and so he
     She received standing ovations at the Con-         gineer named Rudolf Kopec. They had                      once again asked for a leave and went
     temporary Music Festival in London. Her            met at a singing club for Czech compat-                   to see his wife. He found her in hospital.
     Military Sinfonietta opened the festival           riots. He was much more suitable for her                 He then took her south with him, where
     to thunderous applause as the audience             in terms of age and in contrast with the                 she was hospitalized in Montpelier –
     called this young conductor back for eight         tender MartinÛ, was not so demonstra-                    hospitalized but not treated. No one seem-
     curtain calls. Bohuslav MartinÛ, who had           tively emotional. In the end, it was politics            ed to know why she had an elevated tem-
     accompanied Kaprálová, sent her parents            that came between them. After Munich,                    perature, suffered pain and seemed to be
     the following telegram: “Concert went              Kopec treated Bene‰ as a traitor, while                  wasting away before their eyes. Eventu-
     very well. Vitulka conducted like a cham-          Kaprálová still considered him to be the                 ally the doctors decided to operate, but
     pion and it was a great success, will send         president of the country and she took the                they were unable to find anything. It was
     newspaper articles, my congratulations             occupation of Czechoslovakia quite                       said that the tuberculosis had probably
     and warmest regards.”                              hard. She returned home briefly, but                     spread throughout her entire body. She
                                                        MartinÛ continued to write her from                      was only twenty-five years old.
                    All her men                         France and arranged a further scholar-
                                                        ship for her. She left Czechoslovakia in                                           Barbora Osvaldová
                                                                                                                                                Instinkt magazine
       The clouds of the protectorate were              January 1939. She then composed an                               Photos: ArcoDiva, www.opusmusicum.cz,
     drawing over Czechoslovakia, but in                elegy dedicated to the memory of Karel                                Podivné lásky (1988) by Jifií Mucha,
     France the nightmare of war seemed far             âapek as well as other works. In the                            Vítûzslava Kaprálová (1958) by Jifií Macek



                             Front (l to r): Václav Kaprál, Líba HouÏviãková, Mrs Kaprálová Back: Vítûzslava Kaprálová, Bohuslav MartinÛ
38

								
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