It is very easy - I do what I think about - probably as everybody. I create people I think about. During my work I try to clarify my relationship to them and to the world and to better understand myself. I am more interested in what I am doing than how I am doing it. Therefore I do not mind I created everybody differently. I try more to think about the blue sky, sea, wine and stones rather than ruins, abbeys, mould and mechanisms. Therefore I like the Greek mythology. I would be happy If I manage to remind me and the other people that the sea swashes all the time even though we use electricity, the sky above the clouds is always blue, each of us has a piece of Prometheus in himself, each woman has a piece of Goodness in herself.
Tension between the weight and the desire to fly, between the presence and the direction to timelessness, between the taste of material and the effort to deny it, between perfection and inability to achieve it. That all is what makes me exited. To make the sculpture to stand on the ground with its feet and to make it to hitch to the stars.
I could have described here also some other statues by Olbram Zoubek and the impression they made on me - but I am mentioning only one, the Clytamnestre, who impressed me most. Her story is rather simple: it starts when her husband, king Agamemnon, is leaving for Trojan war, to get back Helene, the half-sister of Clytamnestre and legal wife of Menelaes, the brother of Agamemnon. We will never learn if Helene really resisted her kidnapping by Paris, but that is another story. While Agamemnon is out fighting, Clytamnestre found herself a lover, and when her husband came back, they both killed him - including the mistress he brought with him from the war. According to one version, Clytamnestre dressed him in a shirt she made especially for that occasion, with sewed-up sleeves, so he could not put-up any resistance. She was later punished, being killed - together with her lover - by her own children, Orestes and Electra.
All that may look for our contemporaries more like some TV soap-opera, but it was not that simple, as Aischylos already suggested in his play "Agamemnon". Peter Graves (the famous author of the book "I, Claudius") even points to the fact, that Agamemnon killed her first husband and her child, still baby, and forced her to marry himself. He later didn't also hesitate to sacrify the life of their daughter Iphigenie on the altar of war. And we don't even count the lives of ten thousand soldiers, probably the best men Greece ever had, all that in one, nonsensical war. The discontent of Greek population with the rule of tyrant "Agamemnon" was probably quite strong and his death suddenly takes on rather political meaning. Such explanation is also given in Stuart Mc Carrel's drama: "Voices, Insistent Voices", performed recently on New York scene.
Of course, we cannot read all that from the statue of Clytamnestre by Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek, but we can see in her face the tragedy of a woman who finds herself in the center of senseless violence. We imagine her pain when she loses her loved ones and her hate of the man, who caused all that. After difficult period of decision making, whether she should fight violence against violance, she decides to use it as the only way to dispose of the tyrant. And last but not least, we can see from her face even the horror of her act and the fear, hiding in the background. Pushed to the wall, she fights her fate, but in vain. And suddenly we feel our sympathy with her, because she reminds us something we all know rather well.
Yes, in Greek tragedies, people didn't have any chance against the will of their Gods. In our world, we do have it, thanks God.
© Jan B. Hurych
© 2001 Olbram Zoubek, ArtForum / ICZ a.s.