I was lucky to catch the retrospective of Karel Nepraš at DOX Center for Contemporary Art on one of its last days. Considered an overdue examination of an important figure in Czech sculpture, the curators place Nepraš as an artist whose work contributed to the resurgence of visual cultures in the 1960s and who influenced Czech sculpture today. His artwork existed alongside and responded to the political changes of the past decades, often responding with absurdity to the perceived inconsistencies and oddities of life. Machines that look like people could so easily be kitschy or sentimental, but Nepraš’s dark humor prevents that.
It is precisely because his sculpture of machine parts, kitchen utensils, and other common objects are dark and disjointed creatures that I felt they inspired great affection. Clunkily, endearingly humane, his sculptures root in his early years as a cartoonist became clear in this exhibition. The exhibition continues up, floor after floor, culminating in the more complex works like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as a Fountain 1 (at top of page).