Born in Prague on 27 January 1957, Jaroslav Róna is a sculptor, painter and performer belonging to the postmodern generation of the 1980s which has experienced the period of communism, its fall and transition to democracy. He was a member of the Tvrdohlaví (The Stubborn), a significant art group which participated in activities leading to liberation of the art scene from socialist demagogy. He has also worked as a theatre and film designer and participated in architectural work. The main focus of his work is creating sculptures for public space and painting. From 2005 to 2012 he taught the art of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. His most famous sculptures in public space are, among other things, the following: Franz Kafka Monument in Prague for which he received the Grand Prix of the Society of Czech Architects; the Red Giraffe in Prague; the equestrian statue of Jošt of Luxembourg in Brno, the Mythical Ship in Bratislava; and the Child from Mars on Mount Ještěd. Since 1985 he has exhibited in Bohemia and after 1989 also abroad. He has illustrated several books, including 1984 by George Orwell and The Citadel by Saint-Exupéry. He has published two books of his drawings and texts.
Reader in an armchair
The sculpture was created as the third variant of the statue of the Reader, originally intended to be installed in front of a public library building. Paradoxically, however, already at a time when the order was long gone and no library showed interest in it. Nevertheless, I then gradually became very interested in the issue of the statue of a man immersed in the world unfolding in the book. Through the reader's statue I wanted to portray both the reader and the imaginative world of the book. I used an armchair for this purpose. The armchair is a soft and soothing wall that protects us from the pragmatic world around us allowing us to escape into the worlds of imagination and fantasy. It is a dreamy armchair, and the reader is intentionally an anonymous and symbolic figure, easily interchangeable with any reader. At the same time, the armchair adds monumentality to the statue reinforcing the significance and importance of this fragile theme. Last but not least, it is also necessary to pay tribute to the world of paper book at a time when it is threatened (and so are we!) by the aggressive world of information technology and castrated e - books.