1920 – 2011
Painter Zdeněk Sýkora ranks amongst the elite of artists pursuing geometric tendencies in Czech art whose beginnings can be found in the early 1960s. His unmistakable morphology developed gradually: abstracting landscape paintings led him to geometric forms which can be compared to Op Art. After exhausting their black and white equally as color combinations, Sýkora arrived at the geometry of accident, recording computer-generated data on canvas in the form of lines after exact rules. The color scale of the lines, their density, direction and thickness were determined by numbers. Sýkora gradually varied this method as well and gained his renown mainly by these linear paintings. The system of pre-destined accident – as is, after all, proved by the paintings – is not solely a mechanical aid to create patterns: for accident is the intrinsic part of our life and the origins of the universe. The infinity of the latter is referred to by Sýkora’s lines which do not end with the edge of his paintings. Also infinite is the subject itself whose visual aspects will never cease to fascinate us. Sýkora is one of the few contemporary Czech artists to have achieved significant reputation abroad and his works are part of many collections all over the world as are, for example, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the MUMOK in Vienna. Sýkora is a phenomenon who never ceases to fascinate us. Every attempt at interpreting his work, however, ends up in describing his artistic method. His catalogues are often characteristic of a total lack of text because his work is perfectly capable of speaking for itself. Zdeněk Sýkora himself once said: “The more I wish my paintings to be just what they are, the more they are everything.” Zdeněk Sýkora was born in the Czech city of Louny in 1920. He graduated from the Academy of Architecture and the Pedagogical Faculty at the Charles University in Prague where he also later lectured for many years, influencing several generations of both artists and theoreticians. His approach to artistic work was fundamentally affected by his encounter with paintings by Matisse in the St Petersburg’s Hermitage in 1957. In the 1960s, Sýkora was member of the art group Crossroad (Křižovatka), when he created his first structures and realizations for architecture (for example in the Prague neighborhood of Letná or in the Jindřišká Street). In 1985, he began collaborating on paintings with his wife, Lenka. Sýkora’s most recent realization for architecture can be found in the building of flight operation in Jeneč near Prague.