Jiří Anderle

* 1936

  • “Once, Bohumil Hrabal was at our place; he used to come every Tuesday. Suddenly, a mailwoman showed up and brought a telegram. I read it, passed it to Bogan (Bohumil) and told him: ‚Somebody is probably kidding me. It is impossible that I would have won the Grand Prix at such an important biennale. Especially since Adriena Šimotová won here last year.‘ He replied: ‚Well, let’s go to the post office and ask whether it is possible to falsify a telegram.‘ We walked across the Hradčanské square, passing those canonical houses. I remember Bogan telling me: ‚Whenever I go this way past this gate and corner I have an angst, waiting for a leg to appear and kick me. You are in the same situation as me. My books get published... The King of England was published in Swedish and Italian. But nobody talks about it here. Remember that we live in a country which doesn’t forgive somebody’s success. We must learn to mute our gloss.‘ I remember these exact words. We entered this post office and he asked at the counter: ‚We’ve gotten this telegram, please check whether it is genuine or whether someone is just making fun of us.‘ It was this tiny office right across the entrance to St. Vitus cathedral. The lady had a look at it and said: ‚It all fits, it is genuine.‘ And he replied: ‚See, dude, congratulations!‘“

  • “Right at the beginning of the war, Pavlíkov suddenly filled up with an incredible amount of people since the Germans were throwing the Czechs out of the Sudetenland and the Czechs were moving inland. We’ve had so many new friends among those boys and girls. Pavlíkov was so crammed that those coming from the Sudetenland would have to live in pear drying rooms. But for us kids, this was fantastic because it broadened our game territory. Small kids, our friends were living in the pear drying rooms. In front of the rooms were fields, hop gardens, orchards… So we played with them in there. It was not for us to realize that it was a tragic consequence of war. Children have their own very intense world, filled mostly with children’s games.”

  • “Those were sad experiences. I was still going home for the weekend back then. In the end, it only took an hour by bus or an hour by train and fifteen minutes by bus from Prague. I saw those beloved cows being taken out of the barns and to the collective stabling. My grandpa, who was long retired by then, worked in the collective stable as a night guard. I often used to bring him coffee there. I saw my neighbors slowly gathering in there, visiting their beloved cows which they cared about greatly. They would always grab the cow’s head, weep and said: ‘Aren’t you homesick in here? Aren’t your feet cold? Would you fancy an apple?’ They would pull apples out of their pockets. Those were emotional scenes. ‘Don’t you want some bread? You used to love bread crusts so much!’ Now, those cow eyes… I will never forget it in my life. It was terrible.”

  • “I created a series of graphic works and when one of my colleagues from the Academy saw it, he said: ‘This can’t just lay here. Art historians must see it.’ Such a selfless peer he was, without grudge or envy: ‘I like it so much, I have to show it to Dr. Mašín. And to Kotalík.’ These two saw it and told about it to professor Míček who included me in a breakthrough exhibition which took place here in 1966 on the occasion of the International Association of Art Critic’s congress. The topic was clear – current tendencies of Czech fine arts. Furthermore, the catalogue started with the sentence: ‘The exhibition is framed from the youngest to the oldest generation. From A to Z, from Anderle to Zrzavý.’ At that instant I lost all of my friends from the arts world. I was holed up with the Black Light Theatre when suddenly I crawled up as a snake out of the hole with such a glorification. Anyone would be annoyed by that. Moreover, I was travelling the world.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Praha, 23.06.2015

    délka: 02:05:55
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Fates of Artists in Communist Czechoslovakia
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    Praha, 27.06.2015

    délka: 02:12:58
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Fates of Artists in Communist Czechoslovakia
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A painter can only paint based on profound experience

portret.jpg (historic)
Jiří Anderle

Jiří Anderle was born on 14 September 1936 in the village of Pavlíkov near Rakovník. His dad, a Chod („Walker“, a historical minority in Bohemia) by origin, died of tuberculosis when Jiří was six years old. His mum later married a local barber and hairdresser whom Jiří assisted in his shop. As a child he witnessed allied airstrikes on Rakovník as well as the passage of a German army to American captivity. His grandparents initially expected him to take over their farm when he grows up but after the 1948 communist putsch, he was about to become a miner. Instead, thanks to an elementary school teacher who recognized his talent for arts, he was admitted to an arts school which predetermined his following life. As a fifteen-year-old he moved to Prague, both studying fine arts techniques and gaining general education. In 1953 he became a drummer in a big bang and for the next eight years travelled local village parties. In 1955 he was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Following graduation he accepted the offer of Jiří Srnec to become a member of his Black Light Theatre ensemble. The theatre soon became internationally renowned and in the cominh years, Jiří Anderle toured the world with it. In 1964 he married Milada, another ensemble member, at a consulate in Australia. After a lengthy creative crisis he began working on graphic images. In 1966 his works were included in a ground-breaking exhibition Current Tendencies of Czech Fine Arts. After 1968 he left the Black Light Theatre and focused on independent arts work. His works soon won global acclaim. He was awarded the Grand Prix at the Ljubljana Biennale and his graphics called Cruel Game for a Man was proclaimed the most significant graphics works of the 1970s decade. However, the communist regime censored any news about his international successes. During the 1970s and 1980s, Jiří Anderle became friends with Olga and Václav Havel, Pavel Kohout or Bohumil Hrabal. After the Velvet Revolution he founded his own gallery located in Prague‘s Pellé Villa. In 2014 it had moved to his hometown Pavlíkov. Ever since 1997 he has produced a weekly show for the Czech Radio, called Love for Love. At present he is working on his retrospective exhibition which will be held in Prague‘s Municipal House.