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Dec 11, 2003 12:00 AM - Feb 6, 2004 12:00 AM

Day by Day

Lukáš Rittstein Exhibition continues. The Czech Center New York presents an exhibition of work by young sculptor Lukáš Rittstein, the 1999 Jindřich Chalupecký Prize laureate.

Czech Center New York

1109 Madison Avenue (at 83rd Street)
Subway 4, 5, 6 to 86th Street

Opening Thu, December 11, 6:30-8:30 pm
On view through January 22, 2004

Tue, Wed, Fri 9 am-5 pm
Thu 9 am-7 pm

Czech Center New York

On view thru January 22
Exhibition extended February 6


Lukáš Rittstein (b.1973) graduated in 1999 from the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague, and is another of the notably talented sculptors who have recently appeared on the Czech scene.  Despite some natural initial searching for his own style in the broader context of both contemporary and historic art, the works of this young sculptor are marked by a very individual conception edging on a sort of self-willed character of the pieces themselves.  This relates to their anchoring in Rittstein’s own emotional world, in some personal (one almost would like to say motherly) emotional basic pattern.  The fact that he is the son of an important painter, Michal Rittstein, did not, however, ease his way towards his artistic individuality.  Nevertheless, the example of his father’s own artistic endeavors functioned as a great incentive for him.  From this familial artistic background, he inherited his interest in ordinary day-to-day life and stories.

Rittstein’s sculpted objects can be seen as one of the possible types of reaction to the conceptual approach of dematerialization, which asserts that a work of art is a mere documentation of the artist’s idea.  Moreover, his works also seem to be a reaction to the Minimalism of the sixties, when content and emotions were eliminated from the realm of creativity.  In his work, Rittstein reacts to the whole sum of manifestations art has exhibited over at least a thirty-year-long development.  He neither rejects the notion of an original idea nor the concept of a strictly contemplated structure, yet at the same time he is able to open himself up to expression, emotionality, and imagination.  Moreover, in the process of creation he can’t do without an intimate and profound knowledge of his materials, without accomplished technical skills.  The construction and material elements actually play a very important role for him, because the precision with which he is able to express his message is greatly dependent on their very shape, form and treatment.

On one hand, Rittstein’s work persuasively correlates with the current developments, but on the other, it remains almost utterly oblivious to generally given experience.  The artist relies purely on the empiricism of his own life and of his own artistic methods.  His works combine various materials without a sign of prejudice:  they bear geometric as well as biomorphic shapes, feature abstract and pragmatically concrete elements alike, and even contain places molded from scratch by the artist just as some other areas of the work hold found objects (ready-mades).  Rittstein’s permanent dreaming is resolutely confronted with sensory reality.  The never-ending thought process, which takes place within the human body shell, where one association chain links to another, is at a certain point penetrated and glimpsed.  A “scrap of memory” gets revealed and embodied in the medium of a sculpture or objects.  The artist calls these scraps “snapshots” or the “crystals of memories,” or even “surgery of the memory.”


Lukáš Rittstein is a “sculptor of objects” that reflect both the rationally reflexive and the expressly irrational types of approaches to life.  Rittstein's epistemologically sharp perception of his own self, together with his frailly subversive humor, cuts the edges of the naively uncritical adoration of the world of ambiguity and mysteries.



Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


From: Dec 11, 2003 12:00 AM
To: Feb 6, 2004 12:00 AM


Czech Center New York

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