Women Must Cover Their Heads Because They are not the Image of God, an exhibition by AAU senior lecturer and conceptual artist Alena Foustková, was unveiled at Museum Kampa on December 1, 2023 in partnership with the University. 

The vernissage commenced at 7 pm and drew around 200 attendees to a courtyard under heavy snowfall, where noteworthy speakers, including museum CEO Jan Smetana and AAU President Jiří Schwarz, highlighted the significance of Foustková’s artistic work and her contributions to AAU.


A dialogue between the artist and curator followed, in which the former shed light on the topic of the exhibition, its intended purpose, and her process. To formally open the exhibition in the traditional manner, Foustková rang the same bell once rung by Museum Kampa founder Meda Mládková, an occasion the artist described as “an emotional moment.”

The event also featured performances by two young artists, one of whom had served as subject in the eponymous work of Foustková’s exhibition. During her performance, this actress sat facing that very work—a video projection of her own image symbolizing a liberated woman, unfettered and in control—while the other performer, a young man, combed her hair. Later, that same man served apples to museum visitors in a subtle reference to the first sin attributed to Eve in the Garden of Eden, but now with roles reversed. 

Foustková expressed her satisfaction with the success of the evening.

“It was a wonderful event, very well-orchestrated by…Museum Kampa. I very much enjoyed every moment of the opening, every speaker, and also the audience who came in support of the exhibition,” she said.


Women Must Cover Their Heads itself is a visceral and uninhibited exploration into female (and male, in one instance) trauma inflicted as a result of long-standing androcentric power structures and archaic but deep-rooted religious teachings. At once personal and public, intimate and yet inclusive, Foustková’s works examine these traumas as they relate to her own experience and women in general as well as their broader implications for society as a whole. 

The exhibition, whose title is taken from a section of the Decretum Gratiani, a 12th century collection of Roman Catholic canon law, was curated by Klára Vavříková and comprises an assortment of objects, embroideries, assemblages, and video that touch on our deepest fears and anxieties as, in the words of Vavříková, “personal traumas collide with the collective female experience.” 


Some of the pieces in the exhibition reflect the genesis and evolution of reputedly Christian thought through the centuries and how it became, in its corrupted form, a critical tool for the mass oppression of women. Foustková takes inspiration from several authors who reference historical sources to demonstrate how some traditional interpretations of scripture have long been exploited to that end—interpretations that are often dubious and far-removed from the original texts. 

Foustková said that the audience seemed to respond well to the display’s heavy subject matter.

“The theme of the exhibition [is female] traumas, which is a sensitive topic and also an emotional one; however, I had a feeling that it resonated really well with the visitors,” she recalled. 

Over the course of her career, Foustková’s art has become increasingly socially engaged, frequently encouraging participation by the viewer and melding personal history with the collective human experience. With Women Must Cover Their Heads, she advances this trend, inviting the participant on a cathartic exploration of the feminine experience, laying bare her own pain while confronting the historical and contemporary trauma of womankind.  

Foustková is a full-time faculty member of the Visual Art Studies Program, specializing in the areas of the arts, media, marketing, and advertising. Her exhibition Women Must Cover Their Heads Because They are not the Image of God is now open to the public and runs at Museum Kampa through January 28, 2024.

More photos from the vernissage can be found here