"Any lie in art is counterproductive," says artist František Skála at the beginning of the first episode of the new documentary series Art in Isolation, in which the stories of artists during the period of totalitarianism are recounted by Kunsthalle Praha in collaboration with Memory of Nations.

Skála remembers his inspiring child's world, which also served as a gateway to his own artistic work. He reveals how he resigned himself to the role of an illustrator who could only publish under official sanction, and how, in the end, despite all the obstacles, he attained the inner freedom that is so important for being an artist

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 current situation with its limitations is, of course, not completely comparable with life before 1989 in Czechoslovakia. The reasons for the isolation experienced in each case are quite different – yet certain parallels are evident. For example, today, as then, much of the art being created is not being exhibited and the chances of direct interactions with colleagues, viewers, and the rest of the world have been curtailed.

The thematic series will also recount the stories of Květa Pacovská, Kurt Gebauer, Inge Kosková, Tomáš Císařovský, Václav Stratil and others.

František Skála (b. 1956): one of the most famous artists of the generation that established itself on the Czech art scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s through unofficial exhibitions. The poetic quality of his playful installations and objects is rooted in absurdity, fictive worlds, an emphatic contempt for contexts and, above all, the exclusive use of "non-artistic" materials and techniques. Since the fall of the communist regime, he has become one of the most well-liked artists in the country and his work has taken on an almost folk popularity. In 1993 he represented the Czech Republic at the Venice Biennale and an extensive retrospective exhibition of his work was organized by the National Gallery in 2017.

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.