Kája Saudek

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Extended untill the 1st of November 2015

Kája Saudek couldn't study any art school in communist Czechoslovakia due to his origin and that is why he found a job as a draughtsman and a stagehand at the Barrandov Film Studio. His fine arts talent did not pass unnoticed and in a short time Kája Saudek created the visual part of the comics movie "Who Wants to Kill Jessie?", in which his fiancée Olga Schoberová played a part. She later became the first Czechoslovakian playmate for the Playboy magazine in the USA. His later career and also the whole aesthetic of the Western culture was mercilessly trampled on by the Soviet army when they invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia.

 

In the subsequent political process of "normalization" directed by the Moscow Protocol all art displays contradicting the socialistic-realistic principles were strictly punished. That was when Kája Saudek was accused of endangering children's morality and paradoxically he was sentenced to 6 months of prison for propagation of Nazism. The distaste went both ways. Communist leaders were very contemptuous towards Kája Saudek's art and they declassed him to a creator of rubbish and kitsch. While official magazines were being filled with picturesque and poor creations of the loyal comrades, Kája Saudek was slowly moving towards the underground scene and was trying to survive. In his own house he created a world of fine arts, where he daily and diligently created tens of detailed sophisticated drawings and comics. In his comic stories he made fun of the governing dull freak show and on the pages of ingeniously worked out comic strips he fully let his uncontrollable fantasy go. Fantastic beauties with D-cup breasts are being saved by muscular heroes form the claws of disgusting villains, while in the background of the dramatic plot and hardly hidden eroticism there is an inexhaustible amount of hidden metaphors and ambiguous wordplays. Kája Saudek was not only an excellent cartoonist but also a brilliant letterist and last but not least an author of articles. A lot of people took liking in his creation and they helped him to publish his comic strips in a black and white edition as a not for sale amateur print. Some of these people were members of the Czech Speleological Association so a large part of the stories take place underground or in caves.

 

Because of the constant fear of the communist regime, a large part of original drawings irretrievably disappeared - Saudek was hiding his pieces of work among his friends and acquaintances, who never gave them back. Experts and amateurs both have unanimously acknowledged Kája Saudek as the "King of Czech Comics"; the title by right belongs to him to this day.

 

Visitors have the chance to eyewitness the greatest comical talent of the whole Eastern Bloc.

 

Quote: Jan Saudek (twin brother):

"He could be as famous as Walt Disney, if he hadn't lived in the communist Czechoslovakia." 

 

curator of exhibition: Berenika Saudková, David Kalina

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