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EVA ŠVANKMAJEROVÁEva-a-Jan-Svankmajer-Chabot-2001

*25.9.1940 Kostelec nad Černými lesy, ✝20. 10. 2005 Prague

Studied interior design at the Prague School of Applied Arts (1954-58), and puppetry at Prague Drama Academy, DAMU (1958-62). Apart from her film design work, she also paints, makes pottery, and writes both poetry and prose. She has worked with Jan Švankmajer as designer on many of his films – The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope, Alice, Faust, Conspirators of Pleasure and Otesánek.
In 1970 she became an active member of the Group of Czech and Slovak Surrealists.

“If Eva Švankmajerová´s images and texts presented only a disintegration of visual or poetic objects; if they merely presented a cynical contempt for artistic craft which is meant to provide a substitute in the form of Beauty there, where human ability to perceive with inner sight falls into the ashes of impassivity, we could hardly, in her case, encounter such an integral expression that necessarily presupposes an integral personality with her creative ideas. E. Švankmajerová´s work is not about an arbitrary theme, even though the form, be it visual or verbal, is agitated by an inner tension as if several meanings were running in parallel. However, this agitated divergence radiates from a particularly significant source, which we begin to comprehend only when it seems impossible to be grasped, in order to perceive it from a different place. Despite the fact that there is no rationalist convention, even if it was the most modern one involved in this process, these imaginative discharges are best communicated when we approach them with a view which is not clouded by expediency.
To see someone´s work does not mean just looking at it but it also means to especially comprehend forms or ideas in their infant states that contain deeper meanings than their final and petrified forms achieve. These states contain their own inner dynamics, their own fixing process of imagination, that uses all means, while not considering any of them to be abominable, to capture the almost incomprehensible but particular sovereign phenomena. So, this inner excess pressure re-appraises both the condemned and the favoured conventions, to run from the simile – whose rational limitation burdens expression – to metamorphose within the sphere of analogy, creating the basis of Eva Švankmajerová´s system of symbols.“

Vratislav Effenberger


2005 – LUNACY (designer), dir. Jan Švankmajer
2000 – OTESÁNEK (artistic direction), dir. Jan Švankmajer
1996 – CONSPIRATORS OF PLEASURE (designer), dir. Jan Švankmajer
1994 – FAUST (designer), dir. Jan Švankmajer
1987 – Alice (designer), dir. Jan Švankmajer
1987 – Laterna Magica: ULYSSES (design for animated passages), dir. Evald Schorm
1986 – JOST BURGI – DEMYSTIFICATION OF TIME AND SPACE (design for animated passages), dir. Michael Havas
1983 – THE PENDULUM, THE PIT AND HOPE (designer), dir. Jan Švankmajer
1976 – Laterna Magica: THE LOST FAIRY-TALE (design for animated passages), dir. Jaromil Jireš
1971 – ON THE RIVER DWELLS A MILLER (designer), dir. Jiří Brdečka
1968 – The Garden (costumes), dir. Jan Švankmajer