Stage Designer Ladislav Vychodil

Ladislav Vychodil (28 February 1920, Hačky na Morave – 20 August 2005, Bratislava) was the most prominent Slovak stage designer and pedagogue

Portrait, Ladislav Vychodil (1975/1980) by © Magdaléna RobinsonováThe Theatre Institute

Following his studies at the Czech Technical University (ČVUT, 1945), Ladislav Vychodil attended the School of Arts and Crafts in Brno (1941–1942). After 1945, he worked as the chief production designer at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava.  Between 1953 and 1983, he was the Head of the Department of Stage Design, which he established at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava.

Portrait, Ladislav Vychodil (1975/1980) by © Magdaléna RobinsonováThe Theatre Institute

At the same time, he headed the Department of Stage Design at the Theatre Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (1969–1971). He is the co-founder of OISTAT, the global professional organization of stage designers.  
 In 1965, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the President of the Republic of Brazil for Best Stage Design Exhibition at the Biennale in Sao Paulo. In 1987, he won the Gold Medal at the Prague Quadriennale.

Portrait, Ladislav Vychodil (1975/1980) by © Magdaléna RobinsonováThe Theatre Institute

Ladislav Vychodil’s stage design is the fundamental building block of twentieth-century Slovak stage design.

Stage design, William Shakespeare: As You Like It (1946) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

William Shakespeare: As You Like It

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 12 October 1946
Directed by Jozef Budský

Model of the stage, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Eugen Onegin (1952) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Eugen Onegin

Vychodil placed the story of the four young people - Olga, Tatiana, Onegin, and Lensky - in a classical interior space dominated by large crystal chandeliers. It is remarkable that even the model features the chandeliers with the tiniest details and a sense for realism.

Stage design, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Eugen Onegin (1952) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Eugen Onegin

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 8 March 1952
Directed by Nikolai Severianovich Dombrovsky

Stage design, Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav: Herodes and Herodias (1955) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav: Herodes and Herodias

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 28 May 1955
Directed by Janko Borodáč

Stage design, Vsevolod Vishnevsky: An Optimistic Tragedy (1957) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Vsevolod Vishnevsky: An Optimistic Tragedy

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 9 November 1957
Directed by Jozef Budský

Stage model, Bertolt Brecht: Life of Galileo (1958) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Bertolt Brecht: Life of Galileo

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 11 January 1958
Directed by Tibor Rakovský

Stage design, Karel Čapek: The White Disease (1958) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Karel Čapek: The White Disease

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 18 May 1958
Directed by Jozef Budský

Portrait, Ladislav Vychodil (1970/1975) by © Magdaléna RobinsonováThe Theatre Institute

Ladislav Vychodil with the model for the production The White Disease.

Stage model, Arthur Miller: A View from the Bridge (1959) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Arthur Miller: A View from the Bridge

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 14 February 1959
Directed by Tibor Rakovský

Stage design, Arthur Miller: A View from the Bridge (1959) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Arthur Miller: A View from the Bridge

The stage is unified in a structure made of graphic lines shaped like a spider's web.

Stage design, Juliusz Slowacki: Balladyna (1960) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Juliusz Slowacki: Balladyna

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 22 October 1960
Directed by Mikuláš Huba

Stage design, Vítězslav Nezval: Atlantis (1961) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Vítězslav Nezval: Atlantis

Vítězslav Nezval's poetic surrealism was confronted by Ladislav Vychodil's visual surrealism. A real object placed in an unreal space offers new metaphorical meanings.

Stage design, William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night or What You Will (1962) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night or What You Will

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 27 May 1962
Directed by Tibor Rakovský

Stage design, Eugen Suchoň: The Whirlpool (1965) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Eugen Suchoň: The Whirlpool

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 7 May 1965
Directed by Karol L. Zachar

Stage design, Vítězslav Nezval: Manon Lescaut (1972) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Vítězslav Nezval: Manon Lescaut

Štátne divadlo Ostrava, 8 January 1972

Directed by Bedřich Jansa

Stage model, Leoš Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen (1973) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Leoš Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen

The measurements of the model make it the tallest and heaviest in the Museum of the Theatre Institute. Its magical character relies on the spectacular lighting of the rear transparent foil.

Stage model, Leoš Janáček: The Makropulos Affair (1973) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Leoš Janáček: The Makropulos Affair

The main stage space consists of an imaginary globe made from the bent lines of parallels and meridians.

Stage model, Henry Purcell: Dido and Aeneas (1974) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Henry Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Ladislav Vychodil created the effect of the reflection of a slant plane on a mirror foil.

Stage design, Tibor Frešo: Martin and the Sun (1975) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Tibor Frešo: Martin and the Sun

Tibor Frešo's successful production Martin and the Sun was set in a blue landscape - in the style of folk art blueprint. Blueprint is a technique used to dye cotton fabrics using indigo-printed patterns.  The circular hole was intended to evoke a child's narrowed view through a telescope. The design was made using encaustic painting: hot wax painting combined with watercolour and tempera paints.

Stage model, Franz Kafka: The Trial (1976) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Franz Kafka: The Trial

Stadsteater, Stockholm, 1976
Directed by J. Håkanson

Stage design, Franz Kafka: The Trial (1976) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Franz Kafka: The Trial

Stadsteater, Stockholm, 1976
Directed by J. Håkanson

Stage model, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov (1977) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov

The stage space for M. P. Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov represented the tsar Boris's prison. It was made as a semicircular arena and an ascending staircase in gold colour. Gold dominated both the stage and the tsar's costume.

Stage model, Leoš Janáček: Káťa Kabanová (1978) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Leoš Janáček: Káťa Kabanová

Surrealist approach helped build the stage for the production of Leoš Janáček's Káťa Kabanová. Vychodil bared the back part of the stage, where he then placed specific fragments of Russian folk architecture.

Stage design, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Magic Flute (1986) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Magic Flute

National Theatre, Prague, 1986
Directed by Karel Jernek

Stage model, Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1986) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

R. L. Stevenson: The Strange Case of Dr. Hyde

Stage designer and pedagogue Ladislav Vychodil was the most eminent personality of Slovak theatre stage design. As a pedagogue, he educated three generations of scenographers. In sixty years of work, he created stage design for nearly 600 productions. The six decades of his artistic creativity is astonishing not only because of the extent of his work, but also because of its artistic quality. In his work, Vychodil always highlighted the following principle: use minimal means to achieve maximal effect. 

Stage model, Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1986) by Ladislav VychodilThe Theatre Institute

As a scenographer, he was inspired by the interwar avant-garde, Czech poetism, and surrealism. He developed the principles of montage and collage as the starting point for his stage design style that relied on a simultaneous vision of the world. The selection of Ladislav Vychodil’s stage models and designs presents his most outstanding works to highlight the broad scale of visual art techniques and approaches he used in his work.

Credits: Story

Stage designer Ladislav Vychodil
Author: Miroslav Daubrava
Slovak proofreading: Mária Kvaššayová
English translation: Ivan Lacko
Editors: Vladislava Fekete, Dominika Zaťková
Production: Zuzana Poliščák Šnircová, Marko Popović

In cooperation with: LITA - Society of Authors

The Theatre Institute has made all possible efforts to identify the authors of the graphic or photographic works used in this publication, as well as to obtain legal permission for their use. If you are the holder of the rights to any of the works used herein, please contact the Theatre Institute: du@theatre.sk.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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