Mine is a story of an immigrant, cultural fusion, ongoing, never complete. I was born and educated in former Czechoslovakia, today’s Czech Republic. At that time the country was a part of the communist block and all aspects of culture, visual arts in particular, were subject to political dogma and tough censorship. My natural inclination towards sculpture seemed unrealistic in such environment, desires had to be put aside, postponed, silenced and reduced to dreams. I chose Natural Sciences (math, computer science) as a practical survivor’s way. I graduated in 1974 from Palacky University, Olomouc with MS and began my career as computer programmer.

As happens with totalitarian regimes, oppression spawns underground subculture where individuals live and create in seclusion, hiding from the society rather than seeking meaningful communication with others, except those who are in similar predicament – “internal emigrants”.

But, dreams are weaving their fabric in their realm, spontaneously, beyond rational and practical considerations. As a way of spiritual survival, I was seeking expression in visual arts, first drawing and terra-cotta sculptures, then wood-carved, figurative ones.

Most of the early figures are now in various private collections in Europe, others here in US, reminders of a period of still evolving style. Several exhibitions in the old country were recognized and appreciated mostly by people tied to the subculture by similar inner gravity.

The conditions in former communist regime eventually led to emigration in 1985. Exposure to highly technological, concept-driven civilization manifested itself in transformed perception, changed themes, materials used, aesthetic values. After the “Velvet revolution” in Czechoslovakia, when we all sighed with some relief, my sculptural expression was of rather intimate, lyrical nature. I gained a lot when I studied sculpture at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA in 1989-1992.

Relatively peaceful 1990’s produced array of spatial metaphors, still readable in language of classical abstract modernism, bearing the seal of European heritage. But things are not going “velvet” in contemporary world, recent years profoundly changed our ways of thinking about the world, anxieties yet unknown are now common particles of everyday experience. I feel it as my inner choice to respond to this traumatized social and cultural milieu.


-Milan Klic