Adolf Born (12 June 1930 – 22 May 2016) is one of the best known Czech painters, caricaturists, cartoonists, illustrators, graphic designers, authors of animated films and stage designers. He first studied fine arts at the Pedagogical Faculty of Charles University and later, illustrations and caricature at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 1955.
Born’s humorous drawings and caricatures published in numerous magazines for adults and children bear
his unmistakable mark. In Montreal he was awarded best caricaturist in 1974. He devised a whole series
of darkly humorous drawings called Bornography, which examined the relationship between men and
women from the late 1950s to the 1970s. Born drew inspiration for his graphic works from impressions
he gained while travelling, from his admiration for historic and literary characters and mythological heroes,
from the world of drama and from memories of Prague fun fairs in day past. Initially he devoted his
talent to woodcuts and black-and-white or colour linocuts, while in the 1960s he began to create colour
lithographic works. He also created works using deep-etching, watercolour and pastel techniques.
He has illustrated over 260 books, produced drawings for tens of cartoons. He held more than 100
exhibitions all over the world. He received numerous awards in all spheres of his work both internationally
and in his home country, including the Medal of Merit of the Czech Republic.
This is the first solo exhibition of Adolf Born in Slovenia, and the first in celebration of his 86th birthday,
which he sadly did not live to see.
“Graphics, with its multitude of techniques, is a great adventure. It is very difficult to make corrections to
lithographic stone or etching plate. It is like when an ice-skating couple steps on the ice. Even the tiniest
of details is noticeable on pure ice. In passing conversations with painters, who traditionally see their
métier as the climax of all possible events, I try to make them see the dominant role of graphics by offering
them a deliberately simple explanation: they can paint a canvas over again countless times. This is not
possible on lithographic stone or deep-etch plate. This makes the adventure of entering graphics circles
that much more intense. Most painters violently disagree. That is why we graphic artists join together in
guilds of various sorts, where there is harmony among us. This is our great advantage, because sculptors
and painters do not do this systematically and, for the most part, look upon us with a good measure of
contempt and distrust, which they categorically deny before us graphic artists. The connection between
us also derives from the fact that we regularly meet at lithography and deep-etching workshops, to talk
about our issues. This may sound very classy, but it is quite the same as street vendors standing in front
of their stalls and displaying their goods. The printers we work with and who work with us are absolutely
addicted to their work, and this mutual communication ritual is awfully nice, even though we sometimes
get on each other’s nerves terribly.”
Organised in cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ljubljana.