“I always felt we were needed more here than abroad. I didn't think so much about myself but the guys I played rock'n'roll with,” remembers artist Václav Stratil, who almost died during his last interrogation by the Czechoslovak State Security in the 1980s. His work remains unclassifiable, philosophicaly inward.

Where does one look for inspiration in times of limitations? How does one create art freely and how does one come face to face with the world? Questions like these come to the fore during a pandemic crisis. And the past can serve as a place to seek – and find – answers. The stories of artists during the period of totalitarianism called Art in Isolation are recounted by Kunsthalle Praha in collaboration with Memory of Nations.

Watch all the episodes of Art in Isolation.

Václav Stratil (*1950) is a “multi mental” artist, expressing himself with total freedom. During the Communist era in Czechoslovakia, he operated within the unofficial scene and went through a number of manual occupations. His work defies categorisation: aesthetic, abrasive, philosophical. In his early work, Stratil became famous for his monumental hatched drawings and self-questioning photo-portraits of himself.

Art in Isolation: This series of short documentaries focuses on the phenomenon of artistic creation in isolation. A joint project of Kunsthalle Praha and Post Bellum, it draws on interviews recorded for the Memory of Nations archive. Individual episodes can be watched each month on the websites and social networks of both institutions.