Experimental Journey – An Artist in Three Countries
Adam Dutkiewicz and Gaynor Sadlo
Moon Arrow Press 2007
ISBN 9780977545513 (pbk)
72pp full colour, 280 x 200mm, lock-bound paperback, 100mm flaps
The artist of Czech-origin Alex Sadlo worked in several media, ranging from painting in oils and other media to enamels, jewellery and ceramics. A particular interest was creating Three-Dimensional illusions with abstract forms. In much of this work he operated close to the Optical Art produced by luminaries such as Briget Riley, Victor Vasarely and Yaacov Agam. He had a liking for using carefully articulated and graded coloured stripes in many of these paintings, a device he also employed in many of his realistic figurative and semi-abstract compositions.
In terms of Australian art, he was a pioneer of this kind of activity, and his presence in Adelaide and at the Contemporary Art Society had an osmotic effect on a later generation of painters who emerged from the South Australian School of Art and are now credited with bringing Hard Edge, Colour Field and Op Art to the fore in Australian art. Sadlo was also a pioneer of Pop Art in Australia, and used collage extensively in some of his work from the 1960s, concurrent with a second-wave of Australian collage artists (after the 1940s surrealists), such as the Annandale Imitation Realists. Sadlo was also a pioneer of modern enamelling and jewellery in Adelaide, and his influence has been recognised on a later generation of successful jewellers in Australia.
He lived in London, Slough, and Brighton in the United Kingdom from the early 1970s, and represented Britain at 4th Biennale International de l’Art de l’Email, Limoges, France (1976); the 13th Exhibition of International Enamelling Art, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (1979); at the 5th Limoges Biennale (1980); and won the prize for enamel picture at the International Exhibition, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (1987). He also exhibited at 3 Internationales St Gallener Festival der Kuenste in Austria and held major survey exhibitions in Buckinghamshire, UK (1997) and Zapadoceska Gallery, Plzen, Czech Republic (2006). ‘A Wonderful World’: Alexander Sadlo – A Retrospective of work spanning more than 60 years was held from 25 May-24 June 2012 at Life – the Gallery, Hewetts Kilns, Tongham Road, Farnham, Surrey GU10 1PJ, United Kingdom.
In 2017 the Gallery @ The Curve in Slough invited Sadlo to show A Concert in Canvas: a collection of works inspired by the way musicians move, and the way musicians move us, as their inaugural exhibition. This exhibition was opened by the Czech Ambassador to the the UK and Ireland His Excellence Libor Sečka, and their young friend Lucie Kañková sang Dvorák. Following the Curve exhibition the Ambassador awarded Alex the Jan Masaryk Honorary medal for his contribution to Czech culture in the UK.
Also in 2017 Sadlo’s 90th birthday was celebrated with a pop-up show in Eastbourne of all of his works in all media that were in his possession—because one of his greatest joys was looking back at his earlier art. His website at http://www.alexsadlo.co.uk now presents his work comprehensively.
Alex died at home in Eastbourne, England, in December 2021, aged 94, after a very short illness. In 2022, at Devonshire Collective’s gallery VOLT in Eastbourne, an 8-week show planned with Alex during 2021 became a posthumous exhibition.
Copies of the monograph (2007) may still be available through Wakefield Press: