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Lot #50 

Běla Kolářová

Razor Blade I

assemblage on paper
90 x 60 cm
Estimate: 1,500,000 CZK - 2,000,000 CZK
Starting price: 1,300,000 CZK
Hammer price:
1,300,000 CZK
This brilliant artwork by Běla Kolářová represents a very characteristic example of this unique artist’s work. She developed her own distinctive expression based on the women’s world with its intimacy and close relationship to home. Her work is based around trying different expressive and technical possibilities, and it reflects everyday encounters with the most ordinary objects. Běla Kolářová is one of the most original Czech artists of the second half of the 20th century, yet this remarkable author was not fully appreciated until the revolution of 1989, after which her artwork started to be presented at foreign art fairs, and subsequently institutions such as MoMA and Tate Modern bought Běla Kolářová’s works for their collections. The increased interest in her work is also related to the appreciation of the importance of female artists in post-war art, which has become a phenomenon in recent years.
As early as the 1960s, Běla Kolářová devoted herself to three series of assemblages, in which she used snap fasteners, stationery (e.g. pen tips), and razor blades to create captivating optical reliefs on the base of white paper. Moreover, this assemblage of perfect form, Razor Blade I, bears a metaphorical message on human sensitivity and vulnerability, adding a deeply symbolic level to Kolářová’s work. This artwork was exhibited in the National Gallery in Prague in 2006 at the artist’s monographic exhibition, in the catalogue of which it is published in full page (J. Valoch: Běla Kolářová, Prague 2006, p. 66). It was also exhibited in 2013 in the Raven Row Gallery in London. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. J. Machalický. From the attached expertise by prof. M. Klimešová, Ph.D.: “[…] Razors thus represented not only something completely banal in themselves, but the banality was also emphasised by the fact that it was a trash of banality. A trash provided with dangerous sharpness, but also strictly formalised into a minimalist totem, a sign of possible vulnerability, one of the variants of the ‘new sensitivity’. […]”