Adéla Babanová | Let’s Talk about Eva

Curator: Tereza Stejskalová | Black Cube

How are an artist’s life and the ebb and flow of her work connected? How does art intersect with interpersonal relationships? To what extent does gender influence an artist’s “career” and the fortunes of her work? Why do we still buy into the romantic myth of the genius whose incomparable work is inevitably derived from an existential struggle and suffering? How does this myth inform cultural relations and shape social contours, i.e. the bedrock out of which all art grows? What role does the media play in the forging of such heroic myths? These and other fundamental questions are posed by Adéla Babanová’s Let’s Talk about Eva (Promluvme si o Evě).

An exhibition presenting the work of an artist who has long explored the moving image in the borderland between film and contemporary art. She is a key figure in both contemporary art and Czech experimental film. The centrepiece of the exhibition, housed in the gallery’s Black Cube, is Zurich, a video installation from 2008 that was added to the collections of Hradec Králové Gallery of Modern Art in 2021.

In making Zurich, Adéla Babanová took inspiration from a 1973 Artforum interview conducted by the American curator and critic Lucy R. Lippard with husband-and-wife artists Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt.

Adéla Babanová (*1980) is a Czech artist who works with the moving image, film and video installations. In 2006, she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. She has been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Jindřich Chalupecký Award (2012), the 333 Prize awarded by the National Gallery in Prague (2011), and the German Dorothea von Stetten Kunstpreis (2014). She has exhibited solo at venues such as Prague City Gallery (Return to Adriaport, 2014) and Zahorian & Van Espen in Slovakia (Neptune. Adéla Babanová & Guests, 2019). Examples of her many group exhibitions include The Travellers (Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia, and Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland, 2017), No Art Today? (2022, Prague City Gallery, 2022), and Shifted Realities (Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, 2023). Babanová has also been featured at numerous film festivals, among them Karlovy Vary IFF, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Febiofest IFF in Prague, and LOOP Barcelona. She devotes herself mainly to short feature films, straddling the line between video art and movie, in collaboration with her brother Džian Baban, who pens almost all the scripts and music. Her films frequently draw on actual controversial or mysterious events from recent Czechoslovak history. In her oeuvre, the artist explores archival footage, which she manipulates and reworks into a completely new story. Her films allude to ideologies and disinformation, the rewriting of history, and the politics of memory. Adéla Babanová’s works can be found at FRAC Normandy, Prague City Gallery, Hradec Králové Gallery of Modern Art, and in private art collections. She lives in Prague.