Bela Kolárová

Solution for Clips


In Tate Modern
Bela Kolárová 1923–2010
Original title
Svorková tajenka
Paperclips on board
Unconfirmed: 1060 x 770 mm
Purchased with funds provided by the 2008 Outset / Frieze Art Fair Fund to benefit the Tate Collection 2009


Solution for Clips 1969 is an assemblage of paperclips on board. Kolárová arranged the clips in regular columns, but made slight alterations so that the outline of a large paperclip can be detected in the arrangement of paperclips. In this way the usual distinction between image and medium – in this case both paperclips – is playfully collapsed. The paperclips are attached to the board by glue and the support board of the work is signed and dated by the artist. The black cloth-covered frame was made specifically for the work and designed by the artist.

Kolárová began to make assemblages of this kind in the late 1960s, using everyday objects such as snap fasteners, razor blades and paperclips. In the slightly earlier Five by Four 1967 (Museum of Modern Art, New York), for instance, paper fasteners are arranged in a grid of twenty rectangles. In these works Kolárová created minimal or geometric constructions encoded with personal or cultural-political messages. Solution for Clips shows how, through small, almost imperceptible, changes to the placement of items, new images can be created. In this respect the work relates closely to op art, though here it is also imbued with wit.

Kolárová was one of only two female members of the Krizovatka (‘Crossroads’) group in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. The group was known for the disparate artistic standpoints of its artists. Her husband Jirí Kolár was also a member of the group and known as a leading intellectual authority on Czech culture in the second half of the twentieth century. Kolárová work engaged with a personal as well as constructivist aesthetic. Her use of everyday materials also links her work to contemporaneous nouveau réaliste works, while her concern with the tangible textures of her materials echoes the work of artists like Eva Hesse (1936–1970). Kolárová was included in Documenta XII in Kassel in 2007 and had solo exhibitions in Veletrzini Palace, National Gallery, Prague and the Muzeum Umeni, Olomouc, in 2006.

Further reading
Bela Kolárová: Experiment, Order, Intimacy, exhibition catalogue, Muzeum Umeni, Olomouc 2006, reproduced p.85.
Documenta 12, exhibition catalogue, Kassel 2007.

Kyla McDonald
November 2008

Display caption

Kolárová has arranged paperclips in regular columns, but has made slight alterations so that the outline of a large paperclip can be detected, wittily conflating her chosen material and the object it represents. She began making assemblages of this kind in the late 1960s using everyday objects such as snap fasteners and razor blades. As in this work, through small, almost imperceptible changes to the placement of the items, a new image is created within an otherwise minimalist composition.

Gallery label, January 2016


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