Anna Hulačová: Faire essaim

Anna Hulačová: Faire essaim

At the exhibition Faire essaim, Anna Hulačová will present a series of new sculptures created during the artist's residency at Moly-Sabata in 2021, made possible with the support of the Jindřich Chalupecký Society.

Sculptor Anna Hulačová held an artist residency in Moly-Sabata from mid-April to mid-June 2021 with the support of the Jindřich Chalupecký Society and the Czech Center in Paris. She presented the works she created during the residency at the "Faire essaim" exhibition. 

In 2017, the Jindřich Chalupecký Society had already initiated a dialogue with the French Albert Gleizes Foundation / Moly-Sabata in Sablons near Lyon with the intention of facilitating the presentation of Czech artists in the local context.  Curator Joel Riff had already shown great interest in Anna Hulačová's work, but it took almost four years to organize the collaboration between Hulačová and Moly-Sabata. This year, the artist spent several months at Moly-Sabata in creative residency to prepare works for the Faire essaim exhibition.

This annual exhibition is focused this year on Hulačová's newly-created works. The Faire essaim exhibition reflects the unique history of this place, where an artistic community has been developing for almost a century. The central motif of the exhibition, then, is the concept of the hive. As curator Joel Riff explains, "The Faire essaim exhibition strives to be a celebration of the craftsmanship of each piece on display, while also highlighting Moly-Sabat's role as a hive - a place of cooperation and coexistence. The artists involved are also united by a shared philosophy of work -their passion for the process of creation and their critical stance regarding the alienation of people from the products of their work."

The theme of the beehive has recurred and been organically incorporated into Anna Hulačová's sculptures for many years. For the exhibition at Moly-Sabata, Hulačová created a series of outdoor sculptures that are also beehives.

The artist describes her intention: 'When I think about sculptures in public outdoor spaces, hives present the perfect challenge. While sculptures can beautify and cultivate public space, they could also benefit the environment. In Moly-Sabata, I established partnerships with the local beekeeper and potter. I also support the historical traditions of beekeeping and alternative African practices using ceramic hives, which are not as cost-effective as the current standard but are more friendly to bees and nature. I am inspired by Josef Volejník, Roman Linhart and Maurice Chaudière, and their very progressive approach to alternative beekeeping. After last year and with the current climate crisis, I sense a general desire in society to move from indoors to outdoors and breathe cleaner air. Creating hives doesn't have to be seen as just a revitalization of folklore or rural aesthetics - I believe that making sculptures as hives has untapped potential, especially with today's contemporary methods in art."

Anna Hulačová's approach draws from Greek mythology (e.g. Aristaeus and Eurydice) among other things, but is especially relevant in relation to the highly topical issues of ecological sustainability. The challenge of insect loss is very much related to monocultural agriculture. Many paradoxes also appear in today's landscapes. For a bee, for example, a city is currently a purer environment than a landscape surrounded by pesticide-treated fields.  

Beekeepers who have apiaries on the roofs of urban houses show that the chemical composition of honey from the city is better than that from rural areas. With today's industrial agriculture, the rural landscape seems to be turning into an inhospitable space. Bees, bumblebees and other pollinating insects are indicators of the cleanliness of the environment, which is essential for our life and health. If we take care of the bees and the environment they live in, we are also taking care of ourselves. In her work, Hulačová addresses the alarming fact that, according to a number of studies, approximately 75% of insects have become extinct over the last 20 years. If pollinators were to die out completely, the landscape would be transformed into an inhospitable sci-fi universe. Anna Hulačová's hive-sculptures at Moly-Sabata, formally inspired by the "futuristic" design of Brutalism, are likewise a reaction to this potential.