Kurt Gebauer

* 1941  

  • “The cleric who taught religion at our school was immensely popular and so the Communists relocated him to some village and replaced him with some dull guy. This one would then draw Biblical stories using a chalk on the blackboard, simplifying the characters; instead of a head he would draw a ball with a halo; instead of the body a shirt... I used to add noses and so on to all those characters. By the end of the year the cleric had found out and told me that I can‘t carry on with it. Instead, I was forced to copy-draw the whole textbook from some less talented classmate. So, that was in effect my first artistic conflict.“

  • “At the time of the Socialist Realism’s rule in art they had rebuilt a bombed-out aircraft in Opava, placing two sculptures in front of it: one depicted a Red Army soldier along with some lady carrying a bouquet while the other was one a worker and a farmer woman. They made the sculptures of sandstone from Hořice which is the softest and easiest shapeable stone. The whole piece of art felt sloppy and I thought that this wasn’t the way to go and that I should learn sculpture myself and show them how it should be done.”

  • “The colleagues who occupied the Mánes, Špálova Gallery and Galerie mladých, gave the secretary of the Association – a secret police officer – the task of printing 150 copes of Charter 77. He said: ‘150 is too many. Twenty will do it.’ They replied: ‘No, print 150.’ So he did.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 20.10.2015

    (audio)
    duration: 02:09:05
  • 2

    Praha, 05.12.2015

    (audio)
    duration: 02:12:54
  • 3

    Praha, 07.02.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 01:15:36
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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I wanted to show the communist sculptors how it should be done

Kurt Gebauer was born on 18 August 1941 in Hradec nad Moravicí. During WW II his dad who was a Bohemian German was drafted to the Wehrmacht and at the beginning of 1942 died under unknown circumstances. Kurt Gebauer grew up in modest conditions. Ever since childhood he was interested in visual art and taught himself the fundaments of drawing, painting and later also sculpture. After finishing elementary school he enrolled to a high school of art crafts in Brno. At the beginning of his second year he transferred to a stone-cutting and sculpture school in Hořice. Because of his bad profile in the eyes of the regime he wasn’t allowed to study at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design and only following the fourth attempt was he admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. In the fall of 1972 he underwent an internship at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1987 he participated in a revolt against the stances of the Association of Czech Visual Artists and helped establish alternative artist groupings. After the Velvet Revolution he served as a board member of the Czech Fund for Visual Arts. For twenty-two years he had served as head of an atelier at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. As of today he still gives consultations, collaborates with several graduate students as a professor emeritus and produces his own art.