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Jiri Ladocha


  • born in 1942 in Prague, Czech Republic
  • immigrated to Canada in 1968
  • studied at Karlova University, Prague (1961-1966)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

Tracing his artistic roots back to central European philosophy and aesthetics, Jiri Ladocha focussed in the 1970s on painting and printmaking, showing abstract expressionist works that combined the warm rich colours of Prague with symbols such as roses, vines, circles, and repeated faces. By the 1980s he had moved on to paintings that were expanses of grayish plaster studded with gilded stars, pyramids and lines like medieval depictions of comet tails. The change was evidenced by works such as Synthesis Series (1980) and Triptych (1980). As Ladocha admitted to John Bentley Mays at the time, it was a return to the images that initially inspired him in the Czech Republic: "I grew up surrounded by the Baroque . .  . and I was fascinated by the churches, the metal leaf and plaster, and the ikons in them" (1980). The use of plaster as a paint changed into an incorporation of moulded plaster forms on the flat surfaces of his works, and this in turn grew into a fascination with the moulds themselves. Ladocha began to borrow from the Italian sculptural tradition which he encountered first-hand on a series of visits to Italy in the second half of the 1980s. Since then his work has revolved mainly around the use of broken plaster casts that capture the classical human forms of antiquity. In the 1990 show ISORO, he combined his paintings with broken plaster casts, sometimes sitting them on stone or a bed of nails, perching heads on tops of tripodal stands. Gary Michael Dault commented: "It is as if he aligned his own history and this history of his mother country and rendered those congruent histories . . . fetishistic, forced them to bend together in the plus-minus, push-pull ambiguities that come to some synthetic resting place in the work" (1990). Ladocha used similar imagery in the sculpture for the series Dreaming of a Story, the Story of a Dream (1991), using replicated Roman statuary pieces to twine his own history with that of a larger history. In 1992 he returned to Prague to show Time After Dusk at the Galerie Pecka, a show that revolved around the artist’s use of a plaster cast of Voltaire’s head in Cubist sculptural arrangements. In 1995, Ladocha began to use test tubes and syringes as sculptures in his series, The New Alchemy, and in 1996, he took part in Diaspora, a group show held in Prague in the Zipovska Synagogue as a 50th Anniversary tribute to the survivors of the Holocaust. In the synagogue Ladocha installed a wooden armoire with glass sides and back, and glass shelves containing plaster heads and wax heads, as well as three tables with drawers open to reveal small plaster heads inside. Born in Therezn during the Second World War, Ladocha also underwent a personal journey on his return to Prague for the exhibition, visiting his birth place for the first time since he had left Prague in 1968. Rick Kardonne wrote of his pieces for Diaspora, in particular the armoire with its bolted front doors,"this sculpted construction epitomized the stereotypical diasporic concept of perilous rootlessness, often masked behind veneers of illusionary security, symbolized by the bolted front doors, which in the final analysis, offer no protection at all" (1996).



1996 Jiri Ladocha: Time after Dusk
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario; Galerie Pecka, Prague, Czech Republic


1991 Ústrední kulturní dum zeleznicaru, Prague, Czech Republic


1985 Jiri Ladocha -- Madagascar
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario


1990 Jiri Ladocha: ISORO
Evelyn Aimis Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1989-85 Evelyn Aimis Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1981-79 Artforum, Toronto, Ontario


1980-79 Factory 77, Toronto, Ontario


1980 New York University Art Gallery, New York, New York


1978 Oakville Centennial Library, Oakville, Ontario

Galerie Evelyne Delian, Paris, France


1976 Kunstkreist, Munich, Germany


1975 Lillian Marcus Studio, Toronto, Ontario


1974 Learning Resources Centre, Toronto, Ontario


1973 Galerie de Sfinx, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


1972 Theatre-in-Camera, Toronto, Ontario


1972-71 Jiri Ladocha
Science Wing, Scarborough College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario


1970 Forde Gallery, Toronto, Ontario



1995 Diaspora
Libenska Synagoga na Palmovce, Prague, Czech Republic


1991 Art Miami, Miami, Florida


1990 International Gallery Invitational, Chicago, Illinois

Arte Contemporaneo, Madrid, Spain


1990-88 Los Angeles Art Fair, Los Angeles, California


1988-84 Evelyn Aimis Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1979 Factory 77, Toronto, Ontario


1978 Hamilton Studio 3, Hamilton, Ontario


1977 Colour Form Society, London, Ontario

Ontario Now 2: A Survey of Contemporary Art
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario

Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario

Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Harbourfront Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Professional Art Dealers' Association of Canada (PADAC), Toronto, Ontario

Peterborough Public Art Gallery, Peterborough, Ontario


1976 Ontario Society of Artists, Toronto, Ontario

On View
(traveling throughout Ontario)


1975 Artery Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1972 Gallery Artists
Aggregation Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Toronto Dominion Centre, Toronto, Ontario


1969 Edith Israel, Toronto, Ontario

Casa Loma, Toronto, Ontario

Collector's Cabinet, Toronto, Ontario

Adams and Yves Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Athet Israel, Toronto, Ontario

International Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1967 Group of Young Artists
Prague, Czech Republic


1966 City Hall Gallery, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

National Young Artists Show
Brno, Czech Republic


1965 Divadlo na Zabradli, Prague, Czech Republic



Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario
Bramalea Development Limited
Cadillac Fairview
Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, Ontario
Canada Permanent Trust
Eaton Family Collection
Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York
Hippodrome Gallery, Long Beach, California
Kunstmuseum, Dordrecht, Netherlands
Kunstmuseum, West Germany
MDC Corporation, Toronto, Ontario
Phillip Morris Co. Inc.
Telegenic Programs Inc., Toronto, Ontario
Toronto-Dominion Bank, Toronto, Ontario
Tridel Development Corporation, Toronto, Ontario



The Canada Council Art Bank Catalogue, 1972-1987. Ottawa, Ontario: The Canada Council, 1987.

Cumming, Glen E. Jiri Ladocha -- Madagascar. Hamilton, Ontario: Art Gallery of Hamilton, 1985.

---. Ontario Now 2: A Survey of Contemporary Art. Hamilton, Ontario: Art Gallery of Hamilton, 1977.

Dault, Gary Michael. "Jiri Ladocha - Interventions." Canadian Art (Winter 1989): 62-63.

---. Jiri Ladocha - ISORO. Toronto, Ontario: Evelyn Aimis Gallery, 1990.

Diaspora. Prague, Czech Republic: Libenska Synagoga na Palmovce, 1995.

Genereux, Linda.  "Linking history to modernism." Metropolis 2, no. 46 (5 April 1990): n.p.

Kardonne, Rick. "Jiri Ladocha: Return to roots." Artfocus 4, no. 2 (Winter 1996): 10-13.

Klimes, Jana. "Jiri Ladocha at Factory 77." Artmagazine (September/October 1980): 35-36.

Manisco, Lucio. Jiri Ladocha. New York, New York: Factory 77, 1980.

Mays, John Bentley. "Ladocha abandons Ab-Ex for chaste plaster and gilt." Toronto Globe and Mail, 24 April 1980, n.p.

Pánková, Marcela. Jiri Ladocha: Dreaming of a Story, the Story of a Dream. Prague, Czech Republic: Vladimír Tuma, 1991.

Sculpture/Toronto: An Illustrated Guide to Toronto's Historic and Contemporary Sculpture with Area Maps. Toronto, Ontario: Leidra Books, 1994.

Tiley, Jim. "Jiri Ladocha at Factory 77 and Christian Kiopini at Ydessa Gallery." Artists Review 3, no. 7 (May 1980): n.p.


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