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Homage to Josef Lada

IT HAS been said that while Klement Gottwald, the first president of communist Czechoslovakia, was secretly reading the works of Vladimír Lenin, the rest of the nation was following the adventures of The Good Soldier Švejk.
Written by Jaroslav Hašek and illustrated by his friend Ladislav Lada, the book has been translated into 57 languages and its illustrations have been permanently embedded into people's memories.


BRAWL in a Tavern, as Lada saw it during his time.
photo:

IT HAS been said that while Klement Gottwald, the first president of communist Czechoslovakia, was secretly reading the works of Vladimír Lenin, the rest of the nation was following the adventures of The Good Soldier Švejk.

Written by Jaroslav Hašek and illustrated by his friend Ladislav Lada, the book has been translated into 57 languages and its illustrations have been permanently embedded into people's memories.

"Švejk's pictures are the best known illustrations of Josef Lada," said Jan Kukal.

Kukal is one of those adults who remembers growing up with Lada's books, such as Mikeš The Cat (translated into 35 languages), My Alphabet, and Lada's Cheerful Natural History. To refresh the memories of his peers and introduce Lada's peaceful and humorous art to younger generations, he has opened an exhibition dedicated to this legendary Czech painter, illustrator, and writer (1887-1957).

The exhibition offers over 200 works by Lada, which covers just a fraction of the life's work of this prolific artist, who was admired by Pablo Picasso.

"Lada was born poor, he had no money to study, so he was an autodidact. He was very talented and worked hard - he could paint equally well with his right or left hand. That's why [he has] so many works," Kukal said.



All his works are characterised by his unique handwriting and his specific sense of humour, which could be an inspirational lesson for marketing companies today, Kukal said.

"We want to show how much humour there can be in works like Lada's, as humour is something we are missing these days."

He also said that the exhibition has a good chance of beating Slovakia's visitor record, set by the exhibition of Czech art nouveau painter Alphons Mucha that took place last year. In fact, Slovakia already has a world record connected to Lada: The first statue of the Good Soldier Švejk was unveiled in Humenné in 2000.

The exhibition runs at the Pálffy Palace at Panská 19, Tuesdays to Sundays from 11:00 to 18:00, until April 11. Admission is Sk40 and Sk80. Tel: 02/5443-3627.


2004 exhibitions at Incheba


CURRENTLY running (open only during Incheba events) is the two-part exhibition Homage to Pablo Picasso (Theodor Lugs, Daniel and Mária Bidelnica), and Returns (Agneša Sigetová).

The gallery will be officially opened in March and works by Marián Čunderlík, Rudolf Sikora, and Dan Meluzin will be added to the previous exhibits.

Other displays include the Colourful World of Karol Barón, 100 Years of World Cinema, and an exclusive display of all 20 monumental canvases of Alphons Mucha's Slavic Epic, planned to open just before the end of 2004.

Incheba exhibition hall sits at Viedenská cesta 5. From March, the Art Gallery will run daily from 11:00 to 18:00.

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