Zorka Ságlová (1942-2003) is one of the most interesting artists of her generation. In 1966 she completed her study of textiles with Antonín Kybal at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (VŠUP). Above all she took away with her from this time a knowledge of texture – certain rules and arrangements – which during the stages of her artistic career she has applied to various media. To begin with she concentrated on the geometrising current of art and co-created what became known as the “new sensitivity” [the exhibitions Constructive Tendencies (1966), New Sensitivity (1968)]. Like Běla Kolářová, Hugo Demartini and the pioneer Zdeněk Sýkora she meticulously planned the structure of the work, and the organic or personal items with which she filled the structure were not the main message of the work.
In 1969 she organised her first eventen titled Throwing Balls into Bořín Pond in Průhonice, which combined elements of land-art with a happening. In the then Czechoslovakia she was the first to follow in the footsteps of Smithson, Heizer and Oppenheim. An exhibition followed in Špála Gallery. The gallery curator at that time, Jindřich Chalupecký, invited two married couples, Jiří and Běla Kolář and Zorka and Jan Ságl, to contribute. In the work entitled Hay-Straw a method of controlled errors appeared which would later feature more frequently – Ságlová set up a framework and allowed various factors unknown in advance to interweave their way through it. Of other important events in a natural setting Laying of Sheets at Sudoměř (1970), Homage to Gustav Oberman (1970) and Homage to Fafejt (1972) were fundamental.
During the period of “normalisation” she was forbidden from showing her works, and her exclusion from the art scene led her back to textiles and painting. At that time she began to use the symbol of the rabbit as the bearer of cultural and personal returns and reconstruction. First she wove the image of the rabbit, later she made stamps out of it, and then she painted the living creature, cut out its outlines, and drew it in sand so that the sea would wash it away. After a long silence she created an interactive work called Dear Friends (1995-96), in which she and asked her friends to draw a circle on the correspondence slip she sent them and to return it to her. The attempt to find the presentin cultural memory culminated in a work reacting to archaeological sites entitled Pavlov (2001-03).
ZORKA SÁGLOVÁ, Hay–Straw, 1969, view of the instalation in Václav Špála Gallery, Prague.