Summary of events and dates in the artist’s life and work

Tomáš Vlček

1924

  • Born 18 October in Holice, at a house by the stream in Staré Holice

1931–1940

  • Primary school pupil in Holice

1939

  • Moves with his parents from Staré Holice to a house near the church in Holice

1940–1945

  • Secondary school student in Pardubice

1943–1945

  • Forced industrial labourer at Junkerswerke, Dvůr Králové

1945–1949

  • Studies “drawing professorship” – art education and aesthetics at Charles University’s Faculty of Education in Prague under professors Cyril Bouda, Martin Salcman, Karel Lidický and František Kovárna; the student dormitory on Haštalská Street is his temporary residence

1949–1950

  • Returns to Holice, where he works at Batana, a shoe company 

1950

  • Accepted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, to the fourth year of special courses led by Professor Vladimír Silovský; from now on Malich lives and works in Prague

1953

  • Graduates from the academy and marries Dagmar Žižková
  • Starts to exhibit at the Hollar Association of Czech Graphic Artists
  • Commences his mandatory military service at a cavalry regiment in České Budějovice; discharged in 1955

1955

  • Divorces and starts to make a living from art work, mainly as an illustrator and graphic designer

1956

  • Marries Hana Hrochová

1958

  • Becomes a regular member of the Hollar Association of Czech Graphic Artists. Represented at the exhibition Umění mladých výtvarníků Československa (The Art of Czechoslovakia’s Young Artists) and in addition to prints, drawings and graphic design, he starts to pursue painting
  • Gets a studio and flat on Nitranská Street in Prague-Vinohrady

1959–1961

  • Exhibits together with the art group Proměna (Transformation), which he co-founded

1960

  • Attends a trip with the Union of Czechoslovak Visual Artists to the Warsaw Autumn exhibition, during which he visits a modern art museum in Łódź. On the way he befriends poets Jiří Kolář and Josef Hiršal, whom he goes on to regularly meet at Café Slavia together with other notable figures in Czech culture

1961

  • Karel and Hana Malich have a daughter, Kateřina

1962

  • Karel Malich’s father dies. This event affects the painter’s work and causes him to move away from the Tachist and Informel motifs of the gouache series Tracks and Traces and the series Figures, and towards a personal, lyrical interpretation of geometry

1963

  • Creates white and black reliefs, sculptures and geometrical drawings
  • First solo exhibition at the cultural centre in Vysoké Mýto
  • Křižovatka (Crossroads) art group established

1964

  • Designs buildings in a storm, projects for diverting lightning to sea currents
  • Reliefs and sculptures – Corridors
  • Křižovatka exhibitions features Karel Malich (reliefs), Vladimír Burda, Richard Fremund, Běla Kolářová, Jiří Kolář, Pavla Mautnerová, Vladislav Mirvald and Zdeněk Sýkora; Jiří Padrta becomes the theory spokesperson for the group
  • Malich also presents his reliefs at the Umělecká beseda exhibition at Prague’s Mánes gallery; he exhibits his drawings, gouaches and collages in a solo exhibition at Prague’s Hollar gallery, with a study written by Jiří Padrta

1966

  • In February Ludmila Vachtová presents Malich’s reliefs, fine art sculptures and drawings at the exhibition hall on Karlovo náměstí in Prague, with a study written by Jiří Padrta for the exhibition catalogue. The exhibition becomes an important event not only in the development of Malich’s oeuvre, but for Czech art of that period. The success of the exhibition is so evident, it was even praised by official Czech cultural circles, naming it the year’s best Union of Czechoslovak Visual Artists exhibition
  • In March he exhibits reliefs and sculptures at the Constructivist Tendencies exhibition at Benedikt Rejt Gallery in Louny
  • In April he exhibits collages from 1962–1964 at the Obraz a písmo (Picture and Letter) exhibition at Prague’s Václav Špála Gallery. Jiří Padrta writes a study for the exhibition. That same year Paderta writes an article in Výtvarné umění entitled Constructivist Tendencies, in which he devotes special attention to Karel Malich and his work

1967

  • Studies cities for a police-free state where it is impossible to shoot or take cover
  • Studies underwater cities and a cosmic city, studies cities on shore breakers and in the desert
  • First suspended Corridor (currently owned by Erste Bank)
  • First Plexiglas sculptures and open metal structures on the dematerialisation of sculpture
  • Malich’s Black and White Sculpture is selected for the exhibition Sculpture from Twenty Nations at the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art in New York. The artist visits the city for the event
  • Attends the sculpture symposium in Hořice (Jičín)

1968

  • Participates in the Klub konkrétistů (Concretists’ Club) exhibition held at the Vysočina Regional Art Gallery in Jihlava and an expanded group exhibition of Křižovatka titled Nová citlivost (New Sensitivity) at the Brno House of Arts, Regional Art Gallery in Karlovy Vary and the Mánes in Prague
  • Sculptures, architecture projects
  • Visits the United States in the autumn: New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
  • Vladimír Burda’s interview with Karel Malich is published in Listy on 19 December

1968–1971

  • Set of etchings and screenprints featuring motifs of surfaces and lines

1969

  • Výtvarné umění publishes Jiří Padrta’s extensive study devoted to Karel Malich

1970

  • Exhibits in the Czechoslovak pavilion at the Venice Biennial with Jiří John, Zdena Fibichová and Jiří Kolář
  • Creates a bronze signing table and a model of the Earth on a cube for the Czechoslovak exhibition at Expo ‘70 in Osaka, Japan
  • Gets a flat at the housing estate in Prague-Kobylisy

1972

  • Exhibition of Malich’s sculptures and projects opens at the Benedikt Rejt Gallery in Louny. The exhibition is organised by Jan Sekera
  • Malich’s works are exhibited by German curators Dieter Mahlow and Hans-Peter Riese at the exhibition Konstruktive Kunst aus der Tschechoslowakei at Galerie im Erker, St. Gallen, Switzerland

1975

  • In the summer he and Zdeněk Sýkora travel to southern Bohemia for an open-air painting course as part of Sýkora’s programme at Charles University’s Faculty of Education in Prague

1976

  • Malich’s array of studies of energy in space lays the groundwork for reflections on the tension of the visible and invisible applied in the sculpture Another Beer?

1977

  • Moves from the studio in Vinohrady to a new house in a colony of fine artists in Prague-Podolí
  • By analysing the relationships of the see-er and the seen, he has visions, discovers the inner light and penetrates layers in space and the state of existence shown in the sculptures Inner Light and Crack in Space

1979

  • Starts to write his prose poetry Od tenkrát do teď tenkrát (From That Time to That Time Now); he completes it the following year

1980–1985

  • Pastel and tempera period – records of inner visions
  • Ban on exhibiting Malich’s work ends, numerous exhibitions open in the former Czechoslovakia

1980

  • From 1980 he continues to develop the theme of the relationships between the see-er (see-ers) and the seen in his series of drawings and sculptures on the subject of Me and the Other(s), Behind the Table and Who(m) I Meet

1982

  • The Jazz Section publishes Karel Srp’s book dedicated to Karel Malich titled Vědomí a kosmické energie (Consciousness and Cosmic Energy)

1983

  • Malich’s sculptures are exhibited in Munich as part of the exhibition Acht Künstler aus Prag in München, arranged by Hans-Peter Riese

1984

  • Organised through the initiative of collectors of his works in Brno, an exhibition of Malich’s drawings is held at the Small Gallery at the University of Veterinary Sciences in November 

1986

  • Exhibition of Malich’s new work at the National House of Vinohrady features his wire sculpture Landscape with Eternity
  • In the autumn, a samizdat anthology titled Dech kosmu: práh věčna (The Breath of Cosmos: The Threshold of Eternity) devoted to Malich’s art and literature is published

1987

  • Meda Mládek presents Malich’s sculptures Landscape with Eternity and Inner Light II at the exhibition Expressiv at Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts in Vienna. The exhibition was brought to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. the following year

1988

  • Retrospective exhibition of Malich’s oeuvre is held at the Art Gallery in Karlovy Vary and travels to the regional galleries in Cheb and Roudnice nad Labem. The exhibition and catalogue are arranged by Karel Srp and Tomáš Vlček

1989

  • Retrospective exhibition of Malich’s oeuvre opens at the Palace of the Lords of Kunštát in Brno and continues to the East Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice. The exhibition texts are written by Hana Mandysová and Jiří Valoch
  • Malich’s pastels are selected for the exhibition Magiciens de la terre at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris

1990

  • Meets and starts to work with gallery owner Zdeněk Sklenář in January, preparations start on the fine prints album Česká grafika I (Czech Prints I). Published by Zdeněk Sklenář in 1993, the album features Karel Malich, Václav Boštík, Milan Grygar and Zdeněk Sýkora
  • Malich’s work is presented in a retrospective exhibition at City Gallery Prague’s House at the Stone Bell. The authors of the exhibition catalogue are Karel Srp and Tomáš Vlček
  • Karel Malich is named a professor and appointed head of the Drawing – Object Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. He remains at the academy until 1992

1992

  • Participates in the exhibition Reduktivismus: Abstraktion in Polen, Tschechoslowakei, Ungarn, 1950–1980 , museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien, Vienna; the Czech section is curated by Jana and Jiří Ševčík
  • Malich’s pastels are selected with works by Rembrandt, Dalí, Klee, Picasso, Nolde, Miró, Chagall and others for Hans Heller and Hans Biesenbach’s book Die Nacht leuchtet wie der Tag: Bibel für junge Leute 1992, Verlag Moritz Diesterweg, Frankfurt, 1992, second edition: 1994, third edition: 1999

1994

  • In the early 1990s Malich creates pastels, records of inner visions that summarise the picture into powerful fields of colour and expressive, eventful shapes
  • Malich’s drawings and paintings are presented together with Rudolf Steiner’s blackboard drawings at an exhibition in the Prague Castle Riding School; the study for the exhibition is written by Karel Srp and Jiří Ševčík
  • Trigon publishes a book of Malich’s prose poetry Od tenkrát do teď tenkrát (From That Time to That Time Now)

1995

  • Karel and Hana Malich move from their home in Prague-Podolí to Prague-Uhříněves
  • Represents contemporary Czech art at the Czech-Slovak pavilion at the 46th Venice Biennial, curator: Jiří Ševčík
  • Extensive exhibition at Museum Fridericianum in Kassel and Kunsthalle Krems; exhibition catalogue authors: Karel Srp and Jiří Ševčík

1996

  • His mother, Anna Malichová, dies; creates a series of pastels and temperas named Mother

2000–2013

  • New pastels, temperas and sculptures

2001

  • The Czech TV documentary series GEN features a programme on Karel Malich (directed by Jaroslav Brabec)
  • Represented at the exhibition Die Sammlung, museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien, Vienna

2002

  • An exhibition titled Contrastes is held at Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpêtrière in Paris; Czech curator: Jan Sekera

2003

  • The first in a series of twelve Karel Malich solo exhibitions at the Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery, Smetanovo nábřeží, Prague, are held between 2003 and 2012

2004

  • On 20 September Karel Malich is made an honorary citizen of Holice
  • Retrospective exhibition at the City Gallery Prague, curator: Karel Srp

2005

  • Retrospective exhibition titled Karel Malich is held at Olomouc Museum of Art, curator: Michal Soukup
  • The Academic Research Centre of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague publishes a listing of wire sculptures titled Wires / Dráty written by Jiří Ševčík, Dagmar Svatošová, Eva Krátká and David Kulhánek

2006

  • Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery publishes a monograph titled Karel Malich by Karel Srp
  • Wire sculptures at the Freeing the Line exhibition, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

2007

  • The Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic presents Karel Malich with the State Award for Fine Art

2008

  • First new Wall Sculptures

2010

  • Represented at the New Sensitivity exhibition at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Beijing
  • Creates the pulpit, altar table and altarpiece for the New Brethren Evangelical Free Church in Litomyšl
  • Joint exhibition of Karel Malich and Zdeněk Sýkora, Lines and Wires – A Dialogue, is held at Museum Kampa – Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation, Prague

2010 – 2011

  • Hanging Sculptures at the exhibition On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century, Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, New York City

2011–2012

  • Represented in the exhibition Museum der Wünsche, museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien, Vienna

2012-2013

  • Represented in the exhibition Verführung Freiheit. Kunst in Europa seit 1945, German Historical Museum, Berlín
  • Illustrates a book of Wang Yi’s poetry, translated into Czech by Oldřich Král as Odvážné srdce píše vzletným štětcem

2013

  • Illustrates David Sehnal's new translation of Laozi into Czech
  • Premiere of the film Prostě se to děje (It simply happens) – a cinematic portrait of Karel Malich directed by Martin Dostál
  • Retrospective exhibition at Prague Castle Riding School (exhibition concept: Tomáš Vlček, Federico Díaz and Zdeněk Sklenář); critics hail it as “the event of the year”
  • Přišedší odjinud (Arrived from Elsewhere), Petr Volf's interview with Karel Malich on his life and oeuvre, is published 
  • Audio book released featuring excerpts from Od tenkrát do teď tenkrát (From That Time to That Time Now) is read by actor Jiří Lábus 

2014

  • Karel Malich Cosmic exhibition at Ludwig Museum Koblenz, curated by Beate Reifenscheid in conjunction with Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery
  • Current work focuses on pastels, drawings, wall reliefs and hanging sculptures
  • Recapitulates and completes several projects he had never finished from throughout his artistic career, primarily from the 60s and 70s

To be published by Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery:

  • Tomáš Vlček, Vlček o Malichovi (Vlček on Malich), essay
  • Tereza Bruthansová, Karel Malich - Skicáky (Sketchbooks)
  • Zdeněk Sklenář, The Graphic Works of Karel Malich 
  • Karel Srp, Zdeněk Sklenář, Karel Malich - Pastels

 

 
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