CI.CZ organises fine art and design exhibitions and publishes books about art and graphic design. The aim is to present important but often forgotten artists and to show their work in various contexts.
The company also systematically maps and documents Czech corporate visual style.
This exhibition project documents the development of corporate visual style in the Czech Republic after 1990 by showing a collection of the most important commissions. During 2007 and 2008 it was shown in design centres in Prague and Brno and then in Czech Centers in Vienna, New York and Tokyo. In 2014 it was put on in Zlín as part of the Meet Czech Design festival. An eponymous 248-page book written and edited by Michal Richtr and Alan Záruba was published as part of the project.
Stanislav Kolíbal (1925) – the master of Czech abstraction – exhibited his most recent works, namely Black and White Reliefs, Geometric Exercises and metal sculptures. Most of the exhibited works were created specifically for this exhibition so there was perfect harmony between the artist's works and the exhibition space. Stanislav Kolíbal has been a key figure of the Czech art scene from the second half of the 20th century to the present. To call him a sculptor would be inadequate, especially given the extraordinary evolution of shapes and meanings this art form has gone through in the last fifty years. Kolíbal's own artistic evolution from the 1960s to the present day hugely contributed to what we imagine today under labels such as objects and installations. His work certainly contains references to the language of abstraction and geometry, links to minimal tendencies, conceptualism, process thinking or the Arte Povera movement. But it would be a mistake to observe them solely from the formal point of view. The artist's expressive originality lies not only in pure abstract creativity but in his ability to breathe deep meaning into his work. Although highly philosophical and semantically abstract, this meaning gets close to the basic premises of human existence. The small but impactful exhibition was a perfect blend of all the facets of Kolíbal's work.
This exhibition all but rediscovered the work of Radoslav Kratina (1927-1999) for the wider art-loving audience. An exceptional author and proponent of kinetic art whose so-called variables allow the viewer to infinitely modify and change the form of a work of art, Kratina has no parallel even on an international scale. The exhibition showed examples of his work from 1960 to 1990. Kratina came on to the scene in the 1960s. His original interest in geometric, constructivist and kinetic elements gradually developed into a series of unique objects which he dubbed "variables" because it is the viewer's interaction and interplay with the works that makes them what they are. It is the possibility of active transformation of works of art by the viewer that opens a number of ways into the period's study of psychology and art techniques where play was seen is an important tool for developing the individual’s personality and potential. Kratina started his career as a fabric designer but from 1963 onwards he devoted himself fully to art. His early toy designs led him to the creation of his trademark works. His material of choice in the 1960s was painted wood. The colour schemes played and important role in his work from this period. He later opted for metal which enabled him to achieve higher precision and finer detail.
The first joint exhibition of the doyen of modern Czech art, Stanislav Kolíbal (1925), and the most important Czech painter of the day, Jan Merta (1952). The concept of the show was the dialogue and interaction of images and objects created in the early 1990s in various places and from various sources of inspiration. The exhibition Kolíbal Merta vs. Stavba Clipboard brought together Merta's paired down paintings from 1988 and 1989 and Kolíbal's cycles of drawings entitled Buildings and Berlin Drawings from the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. Stanislav Kolíbal went to West Berlin for the annual DAAD Scholarship in 1988. If the previous topics of his work dealt with a certain form of disruption of order or the deconstruction of time and the subsequent visual reflections on the topic of illusion and the denial thereof, the new environment made him realise that he tended towards order and the search for harmony. He did so through the language of geometry whose lines, intersections, circles and squares gave emergence to his Berlin drawings. Some of them later served as floor plans on the basis of which it was possible to expand into the third dimension and actually erect the aforementioned Buildings. At roughly the same time, Jan Merta was completing his belated studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague after he had already entered the Czech fine arts scene through his participation in several underground exhibitions organised between 1984 to 1987. His initial topic was the exploration of symbols in painting. His take on the theme was a careful thought process resulting in a radical shape and color reduction as seen in his various paintings entitled Containers and Packaging. Kolíbal's Buildings reach out to the absolute values through the reductive abstract world of geometry. Merta, on the other hand, senses the absolute and he translates this sensation into abstract reality represented by the radical reduction of the means of expression whose ultimate stage is the drawing on the canvas with nothing but charcoal. The parallels are there in Kolíbal and Merta's world. Buildings and Boxes hide inner spaces which can be revealed. And the juxtaposition or the meeting of their work can help redefine established views on contemporary art.
A joint project of the Regional Gallery of Fine Arts in Zlín and CI.CZ on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Antonín Horák's birth. Antonín Horák (1918-2004) was a photographer, cinematographer and film director who worked at the Baťa Film Studio in Zlín since its opening in 1936. He started his career as a still photographer but he later fell in love with the movie camera. He worked as trick photographer on Karel Zeman's famous film Journey to the Prehistory and he was behind the lens on almost all films by Hermína Týrlova – the celebrated Czech director of animated films. He went on to direct several films of his own in the 1960s. Experts have always rated highly his photographs depicting the life and atmosphere of Baťa's Zlín in the 1930s and 1940s. He took these photos under the influence of the world renowned photographer Josef Sudek who he had collaboarated with earlier. Antonín Horák loved to experiment and the scope of his work was enormous. He was a sensitive man, a dreamer and a keen talker. This exhibition presents the full picture of his life and work for the first time and it is accompanied by the publication of a book edited by Vít Jakubíček and Michal Richtr.
A joint project of PPF Art and CI.CZ on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Antonín Horák's birth. The exhibition at the Josef Sudek Studio in Prague presented a selection of works by the photographer and filmmaker Antonín Horák (1918-2004). From the late 1930s to the early 1950s he focused his attention on the city of Zlín in the then Czechoslovakia. Using a poetic visual language he managed to turn the fast-growing industrial metropolis in his pictures into a magical dreamy environment. The style which bears marks of the work of Josef Sudek, who Horák had collaborated with earlier, helps us forget, at least for a moment, that the city was driven by the spirit of productivity and performance. One part of the exhibition also showed Horák's experimental work made under the influence of the New Objectivity style. This photographic exhibition was part of the Antonín Horák 100 project, which maps the life and professional career of the artist whose later work as a moving picture photographer hugely contributed to the visual style of dozens of Czech animated and trick films.
Jan Kubíček's diptych Divided circles and semicircles, two dimensions was the central piece of the exhibition which also showed period photographs, posters and catalogs. Although small, the show presented the personality and significance of Jan Kubíček in an essential form. The work was originally exhibited in the House of Arts in Brno in 1992 at Kubíček's retrospective exhibition Principles, Systems, Constructions, curated by the legendary artist and curator Jiří Valoch. It then appeared in 1993 in the artist's exhibition at the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany, before being divided into two private collections. The reunification of the work's two parts for this exhibition thus took place after 25 years. Even in the then communist Czechoslovakia, the 1960s were the time of fundamental changes and an unprecedented artistic upsurge. In addition to the internationally better known Czechoslovak literature and film, great things happened in the area of painting and sculpture, too. At that time, an unprecedented number of artists entered the art scene, trying not only to express their own artistic preferences but also to react in their own way to what was happening in the European cultural space. Jan Kubíček (1927-2013) was very much part of this development. Appearing on the scene in the mid-sixties with minimal and geometric works, he became, together with Zdeněk Sýkora, Radoslav Kratina, Karel Malich and Stanislav Kolíbal, one of the key figures of his generation. From the very beginning he attracted attention by his conceptual approach to artistic creation, which often evolved in the form of carefully structured series of paintings.
The book presents a carefully curated selection of the best corporate visual style commissions created in the Czech Republic between 1990 and 2007. Michal Richtr and Alan Záruba, the editors and co-authors of the book, selected projects that have paved the way of modern corporate identity in the country and gained model status over the course of time. These are not only commissions by large Czech companies, banks or financial institutions with an international reach but also projects of visual presentation of smaller companies, non-profit organizations, public institutions, as well as Czech cities and regions.
In the introduction, the book presents a historical study of the subject and detailed methodology. The title filled a big gap and it contributed hugely to the knowledge and understanding of this specialist area of graphic design.
Antonín Horák was a photographer and later director of photography at the Film Studio in Zlín, Czechoslovakia.
Several authors contributed their texts to this title, edited by Vít Jakubíček and Michal Richtr. The book takes us through the individual stages of Antonín Horák's work, from his photographic beginnings, through his collaboration with directors Karel Zeman and Hermína Týrlová, to his own film work and collaboration with other directors. In an effort for it to be as complete as possible, the publication also includes materials dug up from the archives, as well as personal memories of his children, friends and co-workers, which vividly describe Horák's multi-layered creative personality.