Torso Of A Walking Woman

(Vila Tugendhat, Brno)

The installation of the Torso of a Walking Woman in the Tugendhat villa emerged at the instigation of sale of Lehmbruck’s original bearing the same name. The sculpture, which was returned to the former owners’ family, ended up at Sotheby’s auction house in London later in 2009. This event outraged the architectural and artistic community in the Czech Republic, with the auction evoking public debate on the adequacy of a similar act.

Over a large number of years, the villa, designed by architect Mies van Der Rohe, has found itself in a condition significantly requiring adequate rehabilitation. In the territory of the Czech Republic, besides its artistic legacy, the Tugenghat villa represents the only modern UNESCO-listed sight. Despite this, the political representations, as well as the specialist community, have failed to agree on a mutual approach to its renovation since the beginning of the 1990s. The villa has thus clearly shown a post-communist social stigma of property belonging to everyone and consequently no-one.

Using deer antlers in the villa’s interior reflects the given state. The installation leaning against the onyx wall represents a substitute for the original Lehmbruck’s work of art. Inside the house, the antlers themselves become a “visual parasite” disturbing not only the clear functionalist architecture, but also a distinguished, collectively share idea of its original dwellers.