Fotograf Magazine

Jan Ságl

From the Špála Gallery to a Village Dance

In the late 1960s, the Václav Špála Gallery was headed by the theorist and critic Jindřich Chalupecký, who introduced to the Czech public the Japanese art group Gutai (1967) as well as Marcel Duchamp (1969), among other artists. In August 1969, this eminent Prague gallery held a joint exhibition of Zorka and Jan Ságl and Běla and Jiří Kolář, entitled Někde něco (Something Somewhere). Jiří and Běla Kolář occupied the ground floor and upstairs, while Zorka and Jan Ságl were assigned the entry, stairwell and basement, where Zorka Ságlová placed her installation Seno/sláma (Hay and Straw), an interactive piece that was unique in the context of the Czech art scene at the time, inviting visitors to personal intervention – depending on the weather, hay was piled in heaps or scattered across the gallery space. The exhibition’s closing party featured a concert by the then newly-formed band The Plastic People of the Universe, which in turn sparked a series of photographs by Jan Ságl of the band frolicking on bales of straw. Even earlier, the Plastic People had taken part in an art happening by Zorka Ságlová (Házení míčů do průhonického rybníka Bořín / Throwing Balls in Bořín Pond in the Průhonice Gardens, 1969), having been invited to participate by Jan Ságl, and it was there that they met the members of another band whom we shall discuss presently – The Primitives Group.

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