Anna Zemánková was raised in a family dominated by a very authoritative mother. Her father was a hairdresser. Her sister, who died prematurely, was always cited as exemplary. Anna married an officer in 1933 and gave up her job as a dental assistant in order to devote her time to her children. She gave birth to two sons and, later on, to a daughter. Her first son died in 1939, the same year in which the German army occupied Moravia. After the war, her family settled in Prague. In the fifties, Anna experienced several longer episodes of depression. Suffering from diabetes, she had to have one leg amputated, then the other one. When she passed her fiftieth birthday, Anna Zemánková, the perfect grandmother, started to paint, to draw and to glue elements that looked like plants and disturbing carnivorous flowers. Every morning she used to draw from 4.00 a.m. until 7.00 a.m., in a state of trance, then took up the drawing again in the afternoon to add details. Her unusual world is filled with flowers, plants, crocheting and finely worked tissue papers, flattened, folded or cut up with extreme care and precision. Similarly to Zemankova’s flowers, which do not come from a herbarium but only from her own imagination, her creative activity is nothing like decorating Christmas trees or wedding tables, the more traditional feminine activities. We could think that, at a certain stage of her life, Anna Zemánková tried to break up from a more conventional role and, perhaps, to take up the artistic activity, about which she dreamt in her adolescence and which was then met with her father’s disapproval.
SEE ALSO :
Anatomia Metamorphosis. Lubos Plny & Anna Zemankova. Journal no 4. Paris : abcd, 2010.
Onirické vize Anny Zemankové. Texts by Arsén Pohribny, Pavel Konecny, Jiri Vykoukal, Jan Kriz, Jo Farb-Hernandez, Alena Nadvornikova, Jenny and Jan Hladikovi. Muzeum umeni Olomouc, 1998.
Zemankova, Terezie. Anatomia Metamorphosis. Anna Zemankova. Exhibition catalogue Art Brut. Anatomia Metamorphosis, June 2011. Prague : Muzeum Montanelli, 2011.