Anna Zemánková

1908 to 1986, Czech Republic

Anna Zemánková was born in Olomouc, an industrial town in southern Moravia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy; its culture and architecture are characteristically late Gothic in style, and the town is rich in tradition and history.

The family lived from trade – her father was a hairdresser. Despite her early interest in an artistic career, her parents pragmatically encouraged her to train for a more secure occupation and from 1926 to 1933 she worked as a dental technician. In 1933 she married Bohumir Zemànek and moved with him to Brno, where their two sons were born. A daughter was born in 1948, in Prague. During the 1950s she suffered with depression. In 1960, aged 52, as a self-taught artist, she found an outlet in drawing, which opened up an appealing new world for her in parallel to the real world around her. She accessed this fantasy world in a way that explains her closeness to creative spiritualists and mediumistic artists. She felt that she was able to harness imperceptible magnetic forces. This state of ecstasy was not something she could control, but usually occurred in the pre-dawn hours, between four and seven o’clock. Afterwards she would resume her everyday commitments, making breakfast for the family and return to work obsessively on her art later in the day. At the centre of her artistic creations are wonderfully varied, exotic plants and flowers that seem to come from another planet. This is her own visionary botanic universe, her fantasy world. The subject of each work emerged and grew in the process of creating it. At first she worked with watercolours and ink, and then she developed her own technique, using various objects that gave her work a three-dimensional character. Later she also included textiles in her works.

Art pieces by Anna Zemánková were already included in Jean Dubuffet’s collection.
Her works were also exhibited at the 55th Biennale in Venice in 2013 and can be found in all the major Art Brut collections all over the world.

 

Selected works