Photograph by Bob Brink
by Vladimir Kompánek and Vladimir Janoušek
Joseph R. Smallwood Arts and Culture Centre, Gander
155 Airport Blvd., Gander, NL A1V 1K6
This pair of abstract bronze sculptures mounted on the ground outside the Gander Arts and Culture Centre are by two Czechoslovakian sculptors; the smaller one on the right is by Vladimir Janoušek, and the other is by Vladimir Kompánek. Both sculptures were part of the art exhibition at the Czechoslovakian Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. How they got to Newfoundland is a story of its own.
The story begins with the Czechoslovakian Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. The Pavilion was designed by Czech architects Miroslav Repa and Vladimir Pycha as a temporary structure that could be disassembled and reassembled. The Smallwood government purchased the Pavilion and divided the building into two parts: the restaurants and small theatre were reassembled in Gander and became the Arts and Culture Centre there; the exhibition area was rebuilt in Grand Falls, which became the Grand Falls Arts and Culture Centre.
Vladimir Kompánek was born in 1927 in Rajec, Solvenia. He studied at the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava. His wooden sculptures draw ideas from the rural environment. Kompánek also creates the concept of "protective deities", symbols which appear in his works. A frequent motif he uses is a woman and field characters and carnival masks. He is also a maker of wooden toys.
Vladimir Janoušek was born in 1922 in Podkrkonoší in what was then Bohemia. He studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Brno and the School of Applied Arts in Prague. His sculptures, most often composed of sheets of aluminum sheet and connected by screws in parallel layers, sometimes fixed in the background with an imaginary landscape and framed, offer the viewer his own interpretations in accordance with the sculptor's wish to involve him as a potential creator.