Šárka Koudelová

  • Czech Republic (b. 1987 in České budějovice)
  • Currently in Prague, Czech Republic.


  • Sum up the main character of your work, your long-term interests and themes.

Altough I choose any media or technique I percieve as the most appropriate at the moment, and I use my paintings in the installations conceptualy and quite unconventially, painting as a medium and more importantly as a way of seeing, is still the main platform of my creative approach. Every exhibition, or even a participation in a group show, is a coherent project, for which I prepare comprehensive situation with inner relations. My goal is to transfer the visual perceptions and emotions, which are, in my perception, connected with the idea I work on.

My diploma from three years ago (Everything What Is at Present And Why Is Quattrocento Seriously Contemporary, 2016) dealt with principles that connect artefacts of Italian quattrocento with current painting trends. However, it was not just a formal parable but a relativization of time flow which I tried to create by removing the so called “airbag” between an image and a viewer. This basic motive, i.e. the polemic over the relationship of man to the flow of time, has stabilized in my thinking over the three years I have spent actively on the art scene. I believe that my distrust of human perception of history has been projected in my creative approach even before the diploma. Even the painting technique I use relativizes the benchmark of human life as our natural timer. Even though this slow way painting did have a specific trigger, it became my natural language after all. My painting form has developed from depicting my own mineral collection that I have had since my childhood. Each thin tier of oil colour that I create by miniscule movements of the tiniest brush possible, leaves behind a layer that initially imitated geologic sedimentation of material. As this method perfectly depicts my philosophical understanding of the world, it has become my natural language. My recent works are often related to historic motives and content links as well. They are not mere interpretations of classical works but rather targeted ignorance of deep-rooted distance. Naturally, this polemic over time distances has spread also to geographic kriteria in sense of cultural origin (like in „hot sand between the sandal and the foot“, 2019, Zahorian Van Espen, Prague or Too Close To Far project, 2020, Prám, Prague). We perceive history and the geopolitical situation as a given reality, but I try to show the audience that time is not just linear and our society concept is not as stable as it may seem.

  • Describe the context of your work – what are your inspirational sources and theoretical starting points, which artists and tendencies do you consider as referential to your work.

In my diploma project mentioned in the first paragraph, I tried to create unusual parallels, which I stated in the theoretical part. There was one I still think of. I found out that there is a connection between the post-Gutenberg acceleration of the dissemination of visual motifs and the current super-acceleration of visual perception thanks to the internet. We all follow the same blogs and instagram accounts. Thus, it is not that suprising that I feel more connected with some foreign art scenes, no matter there is just a virtual connection for now. I guess it is because my interest in borderline between the western and the eastern civilization, that I feel a connection with many Middle-Eastern artists or those with such roots. For example, I appreciate the work of Jordan Nassar, Arghavan Khosravi, Wael Shawky or Michael Rakowitz. I also like the creative strategy of Camille Henrot, David Czupryn, Christoph Knecht and I am grateful for the path established by Kiki Smith, Judy Chicago and the Czech genius and feminist Toyen.

  • Try to characterize what makes your work specific, wherein lies its force, what makes it different from the work of artists with similar approaches and themes.

Besides my own art practice, I also curate shows of other artists. I started to curate in 2012, when we opened gallery with my husband, artist Ondřej Basjuk. Altough our small space focused on works on/of/with paper closed due to the gentrification of Karlin neighborhood in 2015, I actually didn’t have a pause in curating. On a regular basis, I curate exhibitions of foreign residents in Prám studio in Prague (from 2018 till now). My fellow artist colleagues ask me to curate their shows from time to time too. I think, this connection with curating has opened my own creative strategy to new approaches on one hand and on the other it refined my personal focus.

Despite of being labelled mostly as a painter, I don’t feel that usual pressure of the machistic clichés, which are, in my opinion, strongly connected with painting itself. And especially within the Czech art scene. You can often hear that the larger the painting, the better. I think that my focus on small formats on wood or any other minuscule work and a special sense for inner relations, historical links and my ability of working in any media possible and of preparing particular choreography for each project, is something I can rely on.

Recently, I find specific collaborations with other artists very important for my own practice and for the whole art scene as well.

  • What is your work process like? Do you deal with preparation and research? How do you search for your themes? How do you choose the media you work in?

Altough I usually create a whole project with a research behind it and my exhibitions often look like very strictly built compositions, suprisingly, the image of the situation mostly appears quite intuitively on my mind. Since my art practice creates one stream with my life, the topics and motifs of my shows come very naturally. I usually got inspired by something I have red in the news or an ancient artwork connects with some recent emotions in the society. I percieve the art from ancient to baroque as very conceptual. They always used particular materials and colors, which had a specific meaning. I tend to work in the same manner.

  • What is your vision for the future? How do you want to develop your work and continue your previous projects/realizations? What is your long-term goal/dream?
In this weird year, when humanity was hit by a pandemic whichmade it impossible to realize many events, I managed to carry out the exhibition project I: Too Close To Far. I am convinced that a complete change in the atmosphere, a change in the perception of state borders and the relativity of our lives have significantly affected the development of tmy work too. The exhibition project I: Too Close To Far ( the first chapter of a three-part series in which I try to entitle current burning issues and at the same time present my understanding of art as an interconnected stream of consecutive acts. I use my active artistic practice and connect it with my own parallel curatorial work. I thus provide a condensed report on societal issues, seek new ways of cooperation and subconsciously work against the sharpened competitive environment of the Czech art scene.
The second chapter called The Meek One will take place at Karlin studios, Prague in the last quarter of 2021. In the case of the second chapter I complete my selection of local established and young guest artists with foreign authors whose exhibitions I have curated in the past during their residency stay in Prague. All participating foreign artists recently experienced a residency at the Prám studio, where the first chapter of the series, I: Too Close To Far,  took place in June 2020. As for the first chapter, a catalogue with contributions from individual authors will be created for The Meek One exhibition, which will thus become the second part of the edition that has already begun.
Each of the chapters is ideally internally interconnected result of the cooperation of all invited authors, exceeding its current location and time of the event.
A clear reference to Fjodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky's iconic short novel evokes the idea of ​​a young woman for whom her own emotions become a fatal fate. The name thus foreshadows a certain feminist context of the exhibition, which, however, is not meant to be just a schematic activism. The Meek One project, with its emotional charge, includes authors whose are characterized by material softness, unstable form or fragility, as well as authors who express themselves with almost self-destructive care, scrutiny and attention. The Meek One represents the elusive subtlety and hysterical inability to break out of the submissive position. It symbolizes the romantic archetype of a young girl who realizes herself in her misunderstanding and suffering, and it also represents the still unequal position of female authors in the international and especially Czech art scene. However, this feeling of lack of attention and neglect often affects not only female artists, but also artists whose way of working or fragile formal expression easily becomes difficult to see in the competitive environment. The Meek One highlights irrationality and chaos as well as the opposite consistent care, almost butterfly fragility and transience, as well as self-destructive darkness, conscious seclusion and demonstrative hysteria.
The third chapter on the dream about sustainable life on Earth is also in the planning process and it will happen during 2022.
My long-term goal is to still have the opportunity to devote infinite time to my paintings, then to use them in thoughtful or unexpected conceptual contexts and to fight for a more feminine Czech painting scene with my own intensive work. Besides that, I consider any media division of art to be superfluous archaism. I dream of an art scene that will be a parallel to an utopian society - cooperation, the end of patriarchy, the support of projects with a long overlap and the supremacy of sincere expressions over trends.


Catalogues, publications:

Otto M. Urban, ed. Blanka Čermáková: Vanity Fair – Diplomanti Akademie výtvarných umění v Praze 2016

Radek Wohlmuth: Prism, GAVU Cheb, 2016

Lenka Sýkorová: Nezávislé kurátorství ve volném čase, FUD UJEP, 2016

Petra Mazáčová: Inventura, Galerie Klatovy Klenová, 2016

Eva Skopalová: Ananké, Holešovická Šachta, Praha, 2018

Julia Lara Gerke, Julia Carolin Kothe: Chains, CCA & Kunsthochschule Mainz, 2019

ed. Nika Kupyrova, Salon Goldschlag: Your Delicious Dreaming, Vídeň, 2019

Laura Amann: Our Bodies So Soft, Our Lives So Epic, Fait Gallery, Brno, 2019

ed. Šárka Koudelová: Too Close To Far, Studio Prám, 2020

Koudelová's own texts (selected 2013 - 2020):

Memento Me – Ondřej Basjuk, catalogue text, published by Galerie U Betlémské kaple, 2019

Too Close To Far, Koudelová's exhibition project with 7 guests artists, catalogue published by Studio Prám, 2020

Media (selected 2014 - 2020):

Wohlmuth, Radek: Šárka Koudelová, In: Art & antiques 10/2014, str. 75.)

Kašparová, Bára Alex: Šárka Koudelová a Ondřej Basjuk , In: Artikl 7/2020, str. 1

Pecháčková, Mariana: Nový Salon – Současná česká a slovenská malba bez mužů, In: A2 č. 15/2020, str. 15