Pavel Karous (1979) studied at the Arts and Crafts School of Glassmaking under Rony Plesl, followed by one year at Ústí nad Labem under Ilja Bílek at the Studio of Glassmaking, and also at the AVU under Aleš Veselý at the Studio of Monumental Art. At the VŠUP under Marián Karel he studied at the Studio of Spatial Art. He then worked there as a fellow assistant of glassmaking. Currently he leads the Studio of Sculpture at Scholastika.

Karous, as one of the few visual artists, usually focuses on complex understanding of public space. The artist has become familiar through his long-term, unique project Vetřelci a volavky (Aliens and Herons), which maps and supports art in public space, This project, however, is not limited purely to disappearing sculptures and objects in former Czechoslovakia, but also poses the question why there have been only 56 artistic realizations from the 90s to the present day. Yet Pavel Karous is not known only through this project. The artist expresses himself through the medium of monumental sculpture and commits himself to engaged, political topics, that are innate to him, predominantly to public space interventions, or site-specific installations. He has exhibited at Ostrava’s public space art festival Kukačka, which he also supports. His other activities include theatre scenography, architecture of exhibitions, or design.
Together with Helena Sequens and Adam Stanek, he is part of the artistic group Nová věčnost (The New Eternity), which, for example, in 2015 reacted to the squatter situation in the Czech Republic, creating posters with slogans, commenting on particular real estate, which were formally similar to anti-Vietnam war posters from the 60s and 70s. They were exhibited under the title Nebe vysoko nad námi je naše! (The Sky High Above Us is Ours) in the public space of the Artwall gallery. At the start of 2016, the group has attracted attention by its performance, which took place in Drahonice, in Louny district. The artists put up a sign over the entry to the refugee camp which read Happiness is a Choice, which resembled the slogan Arbeit macht frei above the gate of Auschwitz concentration camp. The work was exhibited in form of documentary photographs at the HateFree? exhibition, curated by Zuzana Štefková. The artistic trio also presented their work at the Fascism and figuration exhibition at the Lørenskog cultural center in Norway, with Lena Charlotte Tangen as the curator. The exhibition reacts to increasing racist sentiments, the issues of the refugee crisis, and the freedom of personal opinion, which does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with political situation.
Karous’s art generally focuses on relationships in human society, which, through his artistic language, he expresses by means of simplified geometric shapes formed into the mentioned objects, sculptures, and installations. In the summer of 2016, he created a site-specific installation for Boskovice festival, a tribute to Jewish left-wing sociologist Bruno Zwicker, born in Boskovice. The author had studied his personal story in the archives and was inspired by it for the creation of his monument.

Tereza Záchová

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