Jaroslav Abbé Libánský

* 1952  

  • "Very quickly, I developed an appreciation for Dana Němcová whom I respect the more the more I see the families and clans break apart, go different ways. Dana Němcová with incredible energy, virtua and love held together not only that complicated family of theirs - meaning her husband Jiří, first and foremost - as well as the relationships around them, including with Věra Jirousová and Magor. This was an environment which evades description. Regardless of the time one appeared there, and regardless of the situation - whether there were sixty people or just Dana on her own having a smoke in the kitchen alongside two or three of her children - their flat in Ječná always had a beautiful, open atmosphere. This is a thing that is hard to describe. And it didn't matter how often or when would one pay them a visit."

  • "They arrived at night. We had three small children sleeping in their beds. They searched through the whole house, took along whatever they liked - books, handwritings, negatives, a typewriter. Off they went and in two or three days or a week, they returned in a different hour. It was literally bullying. They must have known there was nothing to find there which would be of interest. It was rather about exerting pressure which then culminated precisely at the time when they attempted to force the people to emigrate."

  • "Bondy is a special story. Bondy was always sick, it was always clear - at least to me - that he was simply nuts, regardless of what he did, wrote or how he acted. He was a hypochondriac not only in the physical sense. He was really a bit crazy. And of course, there were moments when I didn't know what to think about it exactly. For instance, when we found out about the house in Libčice for which we didn't have the money. We decided to marry with my then-girlfriend. I was visiting Bondy in Nerudova street and told him by the way: 'I discovered this house in Libčice. But we don't seem to be able to get the money for it.' Bondy was lying in his bed in that striped pajamas of his as he did all day and told me: 'But Mr. Abbé, such an opportunity cannot be missed. That house has to be bought.' I replied: 'I know, Dr. Bondy, but we just don't have the cash.' He said: 'Well, we have to do something about it then.' He got up, took a bathrobe and said: 'We're going to the bank.' We went to Malostranské náměstí to Československá spořitelna. Bondy withdrew 30 000 or 28 000 Crowns which was a crazy amount of money at that time. He just handed me the money by the cashier and said that we'd have to return it one day. He added: 'I wish you Mr. Abbé to gather the rest of the money without problems.' And then he returned home."

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    Vídeň, Rakousko, 23.02.2018

    (audio)
    délka: 03:26:31
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Fates of Artists in Communist Czechoslovakia
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We all had what we needed and nobody had anything

Picture from ID
Picture from ID
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Jaroslav Libánský was born on 15 May 1952 in Prague. He graduated from schools of forestry in Modrava and in Písek. In 1972, he began attending the Protestant Theological Faculty in Prague but he never finished his studies. For political reasons, he was only able to do blue-collar jobs, working as a stoker in an insurance company or as a guard in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. He photographed Czech underground scene as well as the independent cultural scene in Poland. He also transcribed and distributed samizdat, organized concerts and exhibitions. As part of the operation ‚Asanace‘, he and his family were forced to move to Austria in 1982. He published the photographic monograph My underground, an anthology of Ivan Martin Jirous in German. Apart from photography, he also does collages and land art. He lives in Vienna and in Slavonice where he runs the MASNA Gallery.