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The title of this piece, 'Belle Epoch?' means “The Beautiful Era” in French. Use of that word also represents a period in Western history characterized by the flourishing of art in France post World War I, a time of peace, optimism, and prosperity. During 1980 in Czechoslovakia, the winter Olympics were happening and the threat of oppression, although present, was seemingly less imminent. Perhaps through this title, Anderle was questioning whether or not his country was moving into a similar age or if more war and political oppression was just around the corner. In the subject matter of the piece, Anderle employs literal fragmentation to guide and disorient the viewer; for example, a fragment of an insect or unidentified grotesque figure transforms into a human head. He employs a sense of disorientation with many human heads floating without bodies, unfinished, as well as the scene of a tree, a child’s head, and the stoic male portrait in the top left corner; all these images work together but stand apart only to confuse the true narrative and leave the responsibility of interpretation to the viewer.

[Sabrina Piña-McMahon, 'Fragment No. IV (Belle Epoch)' in "Suppression, Subversion, and the Surreal: The Art of Czechoslovakian Resistance," (Los Angeles: USC Fisher Museum of Art, 2019) 16.]

Details

  • Title: Fragment No. IV (Belle Epoch?)
  • Creator: Jiří Anderle (Czech, b. 1936)
  • Date Created: 1980
  • Physical Location: USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, The Dr. Eugene Rogolsky Collection, 2015.13
  • Location Created: Prague, Czech Republic
  • Physical Dimensions: 95.3 x 63.5 cm (37 ½ x 25 in.)
  • Subject Keywords: Black and white
  • Rights: © Jiří Anderle | Photography by Kelly Barrie, Panic Studio LA
  • Medium: Lithograph

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