"I believe that the connection between a marionette and it's creator reflects some larger principle of our existence in this universe," says Richard "Rici" Kuklík when asked about his philosophy. From the position of one of Prague's most successful and accomplished marionette artists, it seems he knows what he's talking about. "If there isn't a universal plan for all things per se, there surely is at least some kind of universal order and connection. Some metaphorical strings are always attached, to all of us."
Rici was born in Prague in the year 1964. The atmosphere of Prague and the attitudes of it's people permeate his every creation. It can be said that Rici stands among one of the last artisans of old, who once formed the backbone of Prague's middle-class citizen manufacture. In every way possible, he tries to follow the great Czech marionette tradition, although many compromises have to be made every year to battle the increasing flow of sweat-shop produced Eastern European sub-par falsificates and illicit copies. "The going gets harder every month, but I dare to say it's still worth it. The almost mystic feeling is still there, helping me overcome these days when I meet other marionette makers all around Prague. We feel like under heavy siege. But I cherish a strong belief that marionettes can still bring that strong magic to others... and only marionettes that are created with tradition and quality in mind can do that."
Made locally in a pleasant studio near the center of Prague (under the romantic Vyšehrad cliffs) by a long-standing team of trusted artists (including Richard's two daughters, Lucie and Natálie), the beings and characters brought to life in Marionettes Rici carry a vision so clear and direct it is increasingly hard to find a comparable master among contemporary artists in the field.
- First, Rici's marionettes are reminiscent of the oldest traditional Czech marionettes. A curiously careful mix of stylisation, exaggerated but effective features, hand-sewn detailed clothes and a surprisingly subtle expression (usually of wise wit or happy content) is reguired to take on the mantle of a century-old artform. The result is a unique traditional marionette made affordable by an extremely well-tuned team production. Again and again, Richard's marionettes star in family-run theatres all over the Czech Republic, fueling the slowly reappearing reproductions of fairy tales and legends performed by wandering marionette actors or as bed-time stories. Richard sees this trend as one of his greatest lifelong achievements, and the best confirmation of the significance of his marionettes.
- Second, Richard emphasizes detail and durability. Even the modern pop-culture and celebrity inspired marionettes are made if not with the same amount of tradition-specific stylisation, then at least with the same high material and handwork standards. Nails, gathers, cheek blushes, frowns and smiles are details you will usually not find on marionettes of comparable prices. The wood, leather, lace, and cloth used is carefully selected and used to underline the work that went into the faces and hands of the marionettes. Thanks to the precise and talented studio members, this quality is created and maintained without sending the costs cloudward.
The Marionettes Rici Studio is a treasure no tourist or artistically inclined visitor should miss when enjoying the beauty of Prague.
All RICI marionettes are made of non-harmful substances, including the paints used.
All RICI marionettes are patented. All patents apply not only to the technical design of the marionettes, but also to their overall appearance, type and character.