ASIA Travel
Tue, 6 October 2015

Anna Chromy to Exhibit at China’s National Museum in Beijing

For an artist with 60 sculptures in public places across Europe, it is somewhat surprising that many people in the English-speaking world have never heard of Anna Chromy.

A hugely talented painter and sculptor, Anna was born in Bohemia, raised in Austria, lives in Monte Carlo, works in Italy, and is now about to showcase her work to the Chinese.

 Anna is being honoured with her own exhibition at the prestigious National Museum which fronts onto Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

The exhibition will run 12 - 25 October 2015 and features 15 of her large sculptures, 20 small sculptures and 30 drawings. A few of the sculptures on display will be Musicians, Dancer, Europe, Eurydice, Chronos, Alcyon, Sisyphus, Prometheus, Ulysses, Cloak and Heart.

Curator of the exhibition, Wang Chunchen, said, “At the first sight of Anna Chromy’s sculptures, I was instantly attracted by the elegance of her works, which remind me of the European classic sculpture. However, Chromy’s works are not repetitions of classical sculptures, but they are endowed with new distinctive life elements by the artist ... She is seeking the meaning of life; she is looking for the strength of conscience, a divinity originating from the soul. This is learning beyond the realm of techniques. We have to encourage such spiritual enlightenment and care in the Chinese context of sculpture creation and practice, which is the root to and is necessary for rebuilding Chinese new culture and civilization. Concerning the current situation in China, this is our most urgent mission facing the mourning sighs ... Without an open and broad mind, there will be absolutely no arts of life value.”

The exhibition follows on from a previous Chinese visit where Anna was the Guest of Honor of the Guangzhou Arts Fair. Her sculpture, the Violinist Player was displayed on all official announcements, posters and programs.

Anna Chromy said, “My work starts with respect for the classical sculpture of Greece and Rome as well as that of Michelangelo and Bernini, the spirit of humanity and our relationship to nature that is central to their work is what drives my own creative process. So it was with interest and fascination that I saw the same principals embodied in Chinese art as I began to understand it. This has encouraged by belief in my artistic mission and has made me so grateful and humble to be acknowledged in China by this distinctive honour of a solo exhibition at the National Museum of China. I hope with all my heart that my work will in some way help to build cultural bridges between east and west. That would be the most wonderful legacy.” 

Anna Chromy

One can crisscross Europe and never be far from an Anna Chromy sculpture. They range from Farnham in Surrey to Luxembourg, Stuttgart, Prague, Salzburg, Munich, Monaco, Milan, Menton, Pisa, Florence and Bologna and for two months in 2005 her works dominated the prestigious Place Vendome in Paris. In Portofino, Italy, her “Dancer” graces the famous yacht harbor, and in Pisa the Myth of Sisyphus stands as the symbol of the university.

In 2012 the President of the British Olympic Committee, Lord Moynihan, invited Anna to design the sculpture for the athletes Olympic village which was thought by many athletes to be lucky and as such was much touched during the games. It stood in front of the Team GB accommodation.

Anna is the quintessential European, a Czech who grew up in Austria and is now based on the Mediterranean in Monte Carlo. She is perhaps best known for a monumental 50-ton work in blinding white Carrara marble titled ‘The Cloak of Conscience’, so big that admirers can walk inside it and use the space for contemplation. The marble comes from the same quarry that produced the five-ton block from which Michelangelo produced his famous statue of David. This huge ‘Cloak of Conscience’ is now seeking a permanent home and Jerusalem has been mooted as one that would be appropriate given its association with three world religions.

Another of Anna’s well known public works is of the Austrian Conductor Herbert von Karajan which stands in front of his birthplace in Salzburg. It was unveiled in 2001 in the presence of his widow Eliette von Karajan, the President of the Salzburg Music Festival, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Ricardo Muti.

Her artistic awards include the Prize Salvador Dali, Kafka and Masaryk, and the much coveted Premio Michelangelo, the first time it was awarded to a woman.

As a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris, Anna met Salvador Dali. Speaking of the experience, Anna said, “One day our class was invited to meet the Master at Hotel Meurice, in order to show our first works. There he was sitting next to his wife Gala, my undisputed hero and example to follow in my art. When it was my turn to show a painting to the Master he took it in his hands and disappeared for a moment into another room. When he reappeared he commented the work with the words: “You are not a women. This is the first time I see a woman paint like a man. Knowing his opinion that women were lacking creativity, I took this as an enormous compliment.””

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