Looking at Sounds, Listening to Pictures ——Czech Artist Milan Grygar’s soon to take the stage for his first exhibition in China


At 4 PM on May 27, 2012, the official opening for “Light, Sound, Movement,” the solo exhibition of works by Czech master Milan Grygar, will be held at the Today Art Museum in downtown Beijing. The opening will be prefaced by a performance of the piece “Blue Sheet Music, 1972,” played on two pianos.

The show is being planned by the renowned curator Huang Du, and is yet another extremely important solo exhibition of an international-level master’s works presented by the Today Art Museum, following in the footsteps of “Art Povera” master Jannis Kounellis’ exhibition, held here in 2011.”Light, Sound, Movement” marks Grygar’s first show not just in China, but anywhere in Asia, and will present a collection of his most representative works and pieces.

The majority of China’s lovers of literature are of course no strangers to Czech literature, yet unfortunately few here are as familiar with modern Czech art. In fact, just as with its literature, the Czech Republic offers a modern art scene boasting a veritable parade of impressive talents and which has produced a number of legitimate masters of irreplaceable value and significance for the entirety of the history of modern art worldwide. Milan Grygar himself without doubt can be counted among those artists whose influence has played a crucial and decisive role in the flow of modern Czech art history- a position which indeed expands beyond the borders of his home country to his undeniable place in the history of modern Western art in general. We are able to hold him in such high esteem because of the categorically unique character of the concepts, language and form of his works- because of his path breaking, visionary and prophetic ‘acoustic drawings.’

Czech artistic master Milan Grygar’s solo exhibition “Light, Sound, Movement” is mainly concerned to present the artist’s most crucial discovery- that sound and drawings can be combined into a single integrated piece. After making this innovative discovery of a new mode of creation in 1963, Grygar immediately gave up his work with oil painting and began to focus on an exploration of the relationship between sketching and sound. By 1965, after a year and a half spent in a preparatory stage, he had created an entirely new method of drawing, making use of materials like ink, wooden sticks and reeds. In the process of producing his distinctive approach to artistic creation, Grygar found that the rhythms of how we draw- the sound that we produce- are uniform and identical, and he began to make sound recordings of the drawing process. In this way, Grygar’s acoustic drawings came into being. These acoustic drawings are made of two components- the visual and audio factors, the drawing and the recording. The recordings are recordings of the process of the creation of the work. Milan Grygar has uncovered an entire world of sounds for us, a world for which there has been no previous trace throughout the history of the visual arts. Later, he would expand the sonic factor of sketching and drawing- through the aspects of the sense of touch as related to drawing, going from there to songwriting and on to the music through which these songs are expressed. Grygar’s artistic discoveries are by now established as classics in the west’s world of new music.

This exhibition presents the most representative examples of Grygar’s acoustic drawings, which are accompanied by sound recordings. In addition to this, we will be showing three documentaries discussing Grygar’s works. Pieces on display will include works from the “Acoustic Drawings” series as well as a photo exhibition showing the making of “Acoustic Drawings” and “Tactile Drawings.”

About Milan Grygar
Milan Grygar was born in Zvolen, Slovakia in 1926. Since he was deeply influenced by Hungarian Bauhaus master Moholy Nagy’s concept in early years, his works are minimal and unadorned. After the Second World War, he studied in the College of Applied Arts in Prague where he studies art from the famous Czech cubism artist Emil Filla which initiated his interest and analysis to sensory experience in creation. Since the 1960s, he began to participate various exhibitions. As early as in 1974, he was honorably invited by the renowned curator Riszard Stanislawski to hold his solo exhibition in the Museum Sztuki. In 1986, he participated theChambre d` amisexhibition which was planned by the famous curator Jane Hoet in Belgium and in 2001 he participated the The Drawing Center in New York, and also accepted the invitation from Lyon Biennial in France in the same year. Except for the art creation, he awarded many prizes for graphic design of books, such as the Grand Prix of the third Wroclav in Poland. Now he lives in Prague to create his works. Most of his works are collected by many world famous galleries and museums, for instance, the Centre National d´Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou in Paris, National galerie in Berlin, The National Museum of Art in Osaka, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and National Gallery of Art of Washington D.C., etc.