Magdalena Jetelová

Magdalena Jetelová

Born June 4 1946, Semily
Lived in Bergheim (1989)
Lived in Munich (197)

Significant Czech sculptress and author of spatial installations, she is a world-renowned personality on the contemporary visual scene. She was one of the first artists from the post-totalitarian countries to work with new technologies, such as laser light, and she has used GPS coordinate code language as well as the current robotic systems. She saw the possibilities of the ever-improving technology for new media and for a regeneration of communication, with the aim of perceiving other inter-layers of time and space. She did not forget social aspects such as human rights and the environment.

sculpture, performance, new media, object, land art, installation, show in map


She studied sculpture at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts under professors Karel Hladík and Jiří Bradáček, and in Milan at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in 1967 and 1968 (under prof. Marino Marini). She entered the scene of fine arts during the atmosphere of normalization, however, her work still preserved moments typical of past decades, especially the opening of limits and interferences of individual artistic fields and the shift from materially a formed object into its articulation in the form of an idealistic concept.


Portrait (group exhibition, Prague)


Cupboard (sculpture)


Table (sculpture)

Sculpture Symposium (work in wood) (public program, Poněšice)


Chair (sculpture)

Magdalena Jetelová (solo exhibition, Prague)


She participated in several group exhibitions outside official galleries (Sochy a objekty na malostranských dvorcích / Sculptures and Objects in Malá Strana Backyards, 1981


Her Židle / Chair was placed on the stairs of the Prague Museum of Decorative Arts as part of an exhibition Židle ve 20. století / A Chair in the 20th Century. She worked on an underground garden centre project in the Prague suburb Jižní město, entitled Underground City, where the undulating landscape was intended to break the drab austerity of the surrounding reinforced concrete blocks. Glass walls of hotbeds resembled mobile periscopes that emerged when it rained. Together with slanting walls of the greenhouses they formed a system of ingeniously incorporated elements which brought light to the underground space and added specific details to the artificially modelled landscape. The project was never implemented and only a plaster model of its superterranean part was preserved. Although it was documented in photographs, it mysteriously disappeared after the artist's emigration and it was discovered during the preparation of the artist's exhibition in the Muzeum umění Olomouc – Muzeu moderního umění / Olomouc Museum of Art – Museum of Modern Art in 2013.
Underground City
Underground City (architecture)

Paintings and Sculptures (group exhibition, Prague)
Chairs in the 20th Century (group exhibition, Prague)


She was the only artist from the Eastern bloc to hold an exhibition at New Art in the London Tate Gallery.
In her studio in Tichá Šárka as well as urban spaces of various abandoned and dilapidated houses, she organized events of Značení rudým kouřem / Marking with Red Smoke, consisting of letting red smoke rise in direct reaction to the experienced lack of freedom, strict control and strong manipulation in the communist Czechoslovakia. Her symbolic call for help was also intended to bring attention to the growth of "red" conglomerations on the political map in the form of an expanding number of satellite states under the Soviet sphere of influence. A video from one such event shows red smoke coming out of holes in roofs and windows of houses whose dynamically changing aerial forms are interrupted with views of a child's hand gradually painting the whole world red. The strong message and significance of such an event is documented in later years with a number of other drawings and projects which also used smoke.
Delimination (installation)
Marking by Red Smoke
Marking by Red Smoke (performance)

Hop fields in Mutějovice (public program, Mutějovice)
8 Artists from Prague in Munich (group exhibition, Munich)
New Art (group exhibition, London)
Boxes (group exhibition, Kostelec nad Černými lesy)


Magdalena Jetelová (solo exhibition, Munich)


The gradually worsening situation forced the artist to emigrate to West Germany. Her studio in Šárka, Prague, was destroyed and hardly anything survived. A difficult beginning in a new land did not weaken her unassailable endeavour. Jetelová started to intensely engage in architecture and the relationships between object and space. Her artistic tendencies were indicated already in her enlarged wooden sculptures.
Biennale des Friedens (group exhibition, Hamburg )
Magirus 117 (group exhibition, Ulm)
Magdalena Jetelová (solo exhibition, London)
Magdalena Jetelová (solo exhibition, Bristol)
Art in the Self-sense: Contemporary Art by Women (group exhibition, Vienna)


Table (sculpture)
Table and Chair, Baldenay see
Table and Chair, Baldenay see (performance;photography)

The Sixth Biennale of Sydney: Origins, Originality + Beyond (group exhibition, Sydney)
Kunstpreisträger ʼ86 (group exhibition, Munich)
Dimension V – Spannungen/Skulptur Heute (group exhibition, Cologne)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Baden-Baden)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Berlin)


Project Room (solo exhibition, New York (NY))
documenta 8: Music which Passes the Building (group exhibition, Kassel)
documenta-Auslese (group exhibition, Munich)
Das andere Medium (group exhibition, Dortmund)
Standort 1987 (group exhibition, Berlin)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Frechen)
Expressive – Central European Art since 1960 (group exhibition, Vienna)


Chair (sculpture)

Worked at Academy of Fine Arts in Munich
Received award from Overbeck Art Prize
Received award from Glockengasse Prize
De Verzameling (group exhibition, Antwerpen)
11 Künstler 11 Räume (group exhibition, Leverkusen )
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Hamburg )
Contemporary Art in Czechoslovakia: Selections from the Jan and Meda Mladek Collection (group exhibition, New York (NY))


Thorr (photography)

Ausstellung der Overbeck-Preis-Träger (group exhibition, Lübeck)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Lübeck)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Salzburg)


Through new media she entered natural as well as urban spaces and confronted the look of the places with her own experiences across time
TSWA Four Cities Project (group exhibition, Plymouth)
Uit het leven – in de kunst (group exhibition, Antwerpen)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, New York (NY))
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Göppingen)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Schwäbisch Hall)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Frechen)


Light Drawings
Light Drawings (installation;drawing)

Received award from Max-Lütze-Preis
Three Rooms (group exhibition, Berlin)
Inheritance and Transformation (group exhibition, Dublin)
Sowers of Myth (group exhibition, Chicago (IL))
Skulpturale Ereignisse (group exhibition, Düsseldorf)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Halifax)
(Magdalena jetelová) (solo exhibition, Manchester)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, New York (NY))
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Munich)
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Ljubljana )
(Magdalena Jetelová) (solo exhibition, Londonderry)
Grey Brick 78/1991 (group exhibition, Opava)


She executed a monumental project entitled Domestikace pyramid / Pyramid Domestication, consisting in relocation and confrontation of various cultures across time. Placing a pyramid with a lava surface inside the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna in 1992 was the most famous act (next it was Dublin, 1993
Iceland Project
Iceland Project (performance;photography)
Iceland Project
Iceland Project (photography)
Iceland Project
Iceland Project (photography)

Domestication of a Pyramid (solo exhibition, Vienna)
Double Room (solo exhibition, Vienna)
Finger-Tips Linking Parallels (solo exhibition, Nuremberg)
Drawn in the ’90s (group exhibition, Katonah (NY))


Worked at Prague Castle
Iceland Project (solo exhibition, Prague)
Mediale – Feuer, Erde, Wasser, Luft (group exhibition, Hamburg )
Archetypes (group exhibition, Prague)


In the Havana Project she revealed the bizarre beauty of the destruction of the Cuban metropolis in her own choreography, in which she re-erected the blasted residential blocks out of a cloud of dust.
In Hanover and Darmstadt in Germany she made spatial installations working with a motif of a spatial and time shift (Translocation I, Hannover
Atlantic Wall
Atlantic Wall (photography;performance)
Havana Project
Havana Project (performance)

Translocation I (solo exhibition, Hannover)
Praelocation (solo exhibition, Paderborn)
Iceland Project (solo exhibition, Milano)
Naturally – Nature and Art in Central Europe (group exhibition, Budapest)
Sculptors’ Drawings (group exhibition, Manchester)
Zwischen Zeit Raum I (group exhibition, Düsseldorf)
Europe, Europe. The Century of the Avant-garde in Central and Eastern Europe (group exhibition, Bonn)
The Fissure in the Room: Positions in Art since 1945 in Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic (group exhibition, Berlin)


Mines (drawing)

Bunkerprojekt (solo exhibition, Lemvig)
Risarcimento. Artisti contemporanei per gli Uffizi (group exhibition, Florence)
Magdalena Jetelová (solo exhibition, Stuttgart )


In Dislocations, MACBA (Museu d´Art Contemporani de Barcelona) she embedded the original architectonic structure of the building in a different environment in the same city and this also involved monitoring the reactions of the inhabitants. She used the same principle of relocating parts of a facade in the later project in Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, San Sebastian, in 2003.
Crossing King’s Cross
Crossing King’s Cross (photography;performance)
Dislocation Barcelona
Dislocation Barcelona (installation)
Translocation I, II
Translocation I, II (installation)

Translocation II (solo exhibition, Darmstadt)
Dislocations (solo exhibition, Barcelona)
Freedsculptur (group exhibition, Aachen)
Miradas (sobre el Museo) (group exhibition, Barcelona)
Sculptural Summer ’96 (group exhibition, Rožnov pod Radhoštěm)
In the Area of ​​the 20th century. Czech Art from the Collections of the City Gallery Prague (group exhibition, Prague)
Art when Time Stood Still. Czech Art Scene 1969-1985 (group exhibition, Prague)


Zwischen den Stühlen (solo exhibition, Karlsruhe)
Para Heiner Müller (group exhibition, Lisbon)
Museum Imaginaire (group exhibition, London)
Ungehalten (group exhibition, Esslingen am Neckar)
Licht, Sculptur, Raum (group exhibition, Duisburg)
Augenzeugen. Die Sammlung Hanck: Papierarbeiten der 80er und 90er Jahre (group exhibition, Düsseldorf)
Kunstmeile Gürtel (group exhibition, Vienna)
Kunst der Gegenwart - Blickwechsel (group exhibition, Karlsruhe)
International Workshop Teacher and pupil (public program, )


Songline 75°36’52”, Construction in Process 6, in Melbourne, represented the artist's search for the possibility of connecting two distant places on the Earth using current localisation technology, and also using the imagination surging from the local tradition of the indigenous people. The connection of two places on Earth enabled audiences to perceive the global space as well as the transience of time.
The spatial installation at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh entitled Translocation, was based on the possibility of influencing an overall situation with a source of light. By changing the intensity of natural and artificial light the artist introduced an installation in the strength of the Earth, which, apart from the two mutually separated spaces, opened a third, previously unseen one which also appeared to be endless.
Magdalena Jetelová: Robert Jacobsen Preis der Stiftung Würth 1997 (solo exhibition, Künzelsau)
Crossing King´s Cross, London (solo exhibition, Pollença)
10 Intensità in Europa (group exhibition, Prato)
El Ojo Escénico – Artes Visuales y Teatro (group exhibition, Santiago de Chile)
Der Vogel Selbsterkenntnis (group exhibition, Innsbruck)
Sculpture, Drawings (group exhibition, Duisburg)
Magdalena Jetelová (solo exhibition, Londonderry)


Received award from Jill Watson Award
The Scenic Eye (group exhibition, Copenhagen)
Connection 75°03’52” Songline (solo exhibition, Stuttgart )
On-site Installation Photographs/Sculptures (solo exhibition, Pittsburgh (PA))
Spore. Arti contemporanee nel transito epocale (group exhibition, Cassino)
Landshapes: Record of an Action (group exhibition, Daytona Beach (FL))
Illusion/Illumination (group exhibition, Poznań)
Aspects / Positions. 50 Years of Art in Central Europe 1949-1999 (group exhibition, Vienna)


Atlantic Wall (solo exhibition, )
Conversio (solo exhibition, Alfeld (Leine))
Iceland Project, Atlantic Wall (solo exhibition, Nuremberg)
Himmelfahrt (group exhibition, Freising)
Skulptur. Eine Backstein Interventionen (group exhibition, Basel)
Arche. Jahresausstellung (group exhibition, Bodenburg (Bad Salzdetfurth))
Landschaften in der Zeitgenössischen Fotografie (group exhibition, Oldenburg)
Projektionen (group exhibition, Berlin)
The End of the World? (group exhibition, Prague)
Actual Infinity (group exhibition, Prague)


Atlantic Wall (solo exhibition, Brno)
Urban Landscape – 14°25’01”E Connection 50°05’15”N (solo exhibition, Prague)
Venceremos - Projekt Havana 1999 (solo exhibition, Stuttgart )
Making Nature (group exhibition, Sollentuna)
Das Plateau (group exhibition, Berlin)
Artist-Wood Cards from the Hussong Collection (group exhibition, Darmstadt)
Ascensions: Myth, Ritual and Religion in Contemporary Art (group exhibition, Düsseldorf)
Contacts: International Open-air Symposium (public program, Klatovy)


She participated in the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea in 2004 with the topic of A Grain of Dust, A Drop of Water, with a spatial installation based on an interaction with a viewer. Homework of Being consisted of several environments. In the first room visitors could watch projections of news and a finding by the philosopher Jan Rynda on the deterioration of the current ecological situation and its future consequences. When leaving the room they obtain a sheet with an invisible message that is intended to appear later. Apart from quotes from letters by Václav Havel that he sent to his wife Olga from prison, it also included topical news on the condition of human rights around the globe. The acute character of texts used in various contexts and conditions (hand-written, printed, appearing under an ultraviolet light) echoed with the visitors' own perceptions. Here, Jetelová also called attention to the huge amount of information that people come across at work, both locally and globally, with the aim of mediating a specific and particular interpretation. Sensitivity in different parts of the world is the key to the solution of global problems and possibilities of protection of the whole planet.
LichtRouten 2004 (group exhibition, Lüdenscheid)
Passing Boundaries (group exhibition, Bochum)
Magdalena Jetelová (solo exhibition, Munich)
Il buco nella rete (group exhibition, Rome)
Punktleuchten (group exhibition, Basel)
Interior - Exterior / Six Positions - Three Dimensions, Robert Jacobsen Winners of the Würth Foundation (group exhibition, Crailsheim)
Behind the Glass. From the Collection of Jaroslav Krbůšek (group exhibition, )
5. Gwangju Biennale: A Grain of Dust – A Drop of Water (group exhibition, Gwangju)
Illuminated Cities – Illuminated Art (group exhibition, Duisburg)


Stair (sculpture)
Silent Šárka
Silent Šárka (drawing)

Architektur mobil (group exhibition, Ludwigshafen)
Europäische Kunst in der Südwestkurve (group exhibition, Karlsruhe)
Czech Photography of the 20th century (group exhibition, Prague)
Essence of Life – Essence of Art (group exhibition, Budapest)


Implants represented architectural designs of spaces which changed according to the movement of visitors.
Implants (sculpture)

Received award from Lovis Corinth Prize
Notstand (solo exhibition, Duisburg)
Implants (solo exhibition, Stuttgart )
Magdalena Jetelová: Lovis Corinth Preis 2006 (solo exhibition, Regensburg)
Venceremos / Sale (group exhibition, Regensburg)
What is Plastic? 100 Years - 100 Heads. The Century of Modern Sculpture (group exhibition, Duisburg)


In the exhibition project Der Neue Raum (Kunsthalle Recklinghausen) she had an unused bunker flooded with water. The newly created water level and its reflections on the surrounding walls showed the magnified text of the Lecture About Nothing by John Cage.
Stalin (performance)


She implemented spatial installations working with a change to the existing space of a gallery, propagating it with the use of mirror foils, and thus creating the impression of a new time and space experience. Mirror walls placed at various locations directly responded to the movement of people by fluttering. The amount of vibration depended on their proximity to the mirror wall which was covered with compound lexemes and quotes. However, these were motionless and perfectly legible in contrast to the surroundings. This moment was a discovery for the artist herself and she decided to apply it next to Abflug, H2 – Zentrum für Gegenwartskunst im Glaspalast, Augsburg, 2008 (the first spatial installation of this kind), and to other spatial installations in future years. One important element was the emphasis on the interaction with visitors, who directly influenced the created spatial situation through their own presence and so they re-discovered their new selves.
Abflug (solo exhibition, Augsburg)
Prospects and Interiors: Sculptor's Drawings (group exhibition, Leeds)
Nikolaus Gerhart / Albert Hien / Magdalena Jetelová (group exhibition, Munich)


Silent Spaces (group exhibition, Augsburg)
Sculptures in the Streets / Brno Art Open ʼ09 (group exhibition, Brno)
Traces of Fire (group exhibition, Ostrava)


She used the same principle in an interactive multimedia installation on human rights and man's self-awareness in Kunsthalle Mannheim in Germany. Landscape of Transformation created a complex environment (a projection of news on the violation of rights and their loud inaccurate reading by children, individual articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a pile of paper visible only under UV light), including large-size mirrors complemented with short quotes.
Landscape of Transformation (solo exhibition, Mannheim)
New Home - Between the Worlds (group exhibition, Friedrichshafen)


Jetelová freely continued this project with an installation entitled Místo zločinu / Crime Scene, within the exhibition Luciferův efekt / Lucifer's Effect in the Prague Centre of Contemporary Art DOX, where she drew attention not only to the crimes of the past totalitarian regime, but also to the subtle practices of manipulation to which people are exposed even today. Before visitors could enter the Crime Scene they were confronted with their rights written in 30 articles in the same type of ink used on banknotes, which reacts to ultraviolet light. People could set out for the "criminal" places at least holding their rights. A corridor filled with documents from the Secret Police archives led to a room which showed in full force the absurd theatre of our past, in the light of jittering mirrors. A quote by Václav Havel: "Those who are afraid to face their own past, must necessarily fear the future" was complemented with a quote by Eliot: "Time future contained in time past". The installation was closed with a third inscription „(ne)zájem?“ /"(un)concern?" with which the artist turned to the visitors with an imaginary question. After they were asked to return the sheet of paper, they either submissively obeyed and waived their rights or refused to hand them over, even though they could no longer see or read them. At the Glasstress exhibition in Palazzo Cavelli Franchetti at the 54th Biennale in Venice, she presented an oscillating mirror with the inscription (DES)ORIENTATION, which transferred an image of the water level from the outside to the inside. The purposeful shift of the angle of view evoked by mirroring the exterior space was illustrated with an inscription on the mirror, as well as a spatial installation in the exterior of the dockyard in the form of a set table which the visitors coming to the opening ceremony had to step over, embarrassed. She presented a spatial installation under the same name in 2013 at the Biennale in Poznan.
Crime Scene / Prague
Crime Scene / Prague (installation)

Glasstress 2011 (group exhibition, Venice)
The Lucifer Effect: Encountering Evil (group exhibition, Prague)



Her individual exhibition was held at the Olomouc Museum of Art – Museum of Modern Art titled (DES)ORIENTATION? Projekty z let 1982–2013 / Projects from 1982–2013, and it presented the artist's spatial installations that had been created especially for the Olomouc Museum. The installations worked with dynamics, light and the visualisation of hidden energies. She also included her newest works with text or smoke referring to the recent common history of the post-totalitarian countries. For the first time she presented her project of the underground garden centre, which the artist designed as a contrast to the dominating stream of unified housing estate development of the Prague suburb Jižní Město. With her smoke happening during the opening ceremony, she invited other artists from Central and Eastern Europe to actively participate in an open call during the exhibition.
aPEL (performance)
(DES)ORIENTATION? (installation)
Crime Scenes / Olomouc
Crime Scenes / Olomouc (installation)
Translocation Olomouc
Translocation Olomouc (installation)

Received award from Gratias Agit


Magdalena Jetelová – Touch of Time (solo exhibition, Prague)


Artspace Germany (group exhibition, Brno)


Muzeum umění Olomouc 2011-2022