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Artlist — Center for Contemporary Arts Prague

Jiří David

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Birth place
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public art
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About artist

Jiří David is a leading figure in the formation of postmodernism in Czech culture during the latter half of the 1980s. As with his contemporaries, his early works leaned toward neo-expressionism, as evident in the unofficial Konfrontace (Confrontations) exhibitions (starting in 1984). His work then underwent a transformation similar to that of other young artists in his circles with a focus on postmodern treatment of the painting. His paintings at that time approached the Italian Transavantgarde and Jung Wilde.


As basic visual information he began to use signs sometimes accompanied by text. His canvas, based on work with colours and sometimes even monochromically harmonised, bore with them a clear, easily comprehensible message. Drawing, the object, installation and photography plays a significant role in his work. In his diverse works David brings together a performative approach to art and interest in the paradox, in which he skilfully oscillates between a romantically aestheticizing approach and a rational detachment.


A very important early work of David’s is his Home cycle of paintings which he fits with a national theme and an interest in low-brow genres, partly in reaction to the onset of postmodernism and partly to the development of Czechoslovak society at the end of the 1980s. Jiří David cofounded – to assert postmodernism as completely essential – the group Tvrdohlaví and since 1990 has been one of the main creators of Prague's MXM Gallery.


At the turn of the 1990s he was one of few Czech artists to make a name for himself on the international scene. His works were mentioned in Flash Art magazine between 1987 and 1993, and the Italian Transavantgarde guru A. B. Oliva included him in his book Superart. In 1990 David exhibited at Aperto in Venice. He then took part several more times in accompanying exhibitions of the Venice Biennale.


In addition to introducing the paradoxical as a theme, David’s work can be characterised by two other central lines: an inclination to provoke and the theme of identity. David understands identity as a current cultural problem and as his authentic position from which he can communicate to the viewer through his work.


A number of David’s works managed to open debates on contemporary Czech art. Undoubtedly among the most discussed were his Hidden Images cycle of photographs, the monumental neon installation Crown of Thorns over the Rudolfinum and the Red Heart over Prague Castle and the series of staged photographs entitled My Hostage. His cycle of manipulated photographs No Compassion also made its way into an international context.

Author of the annotation
Terezie Petišková



1982-1987 Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, atelier of Arnošt Paderlík and Jiří Ptáček

1995-2002 head of the atelier of visual communication at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
since 2004 head of the intermedia atelier and the concept atelier at the Academy of applied arts, architecture and design Prague

2009 selected in a public survey of the magazine Reflex
Member of art groups included in ARTLIST.
Member of art groups not included in ARTLIST.
Nová skupina


Solo exhibitions
2015- Retundant earth from the grave, Zahorian gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia
2014 -Timelessness Time = Nothing Actually Happens….Le Guern Gallery, Warsaw, Poland
2013 – Křik paviánu(Baboon Shriek), Gallery of city Prague,Collerd-Mansfeld palace, Czech republic
2012-  Srdce(Heart), public neon object, Bruselex, Belgium
2012-  Too light.... Panic ..Local Anaesthesia .. Geopornography ,Zahorian gallery ,Bratislava, Slovakia
2011-Tell Me Your Name ! , DvorakSec Gallery, Praha, Czech republic
2010- Revoluce, (Revolution) object in public space, Prague, Czech Republic
2009- Exhibition is(no)t.. Salon Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (with Jiri Kovanda),Warsaw, Poland
         – Předběžná retrospektiva(Preliminary Retrospective) – Gallery of city Prague, Moravská galerie  
             Brno, Czech Republic 
           – Dotkni se me hlavy (Touch my Head) Wyspianski 2000 pavilion Cracow, Poland
2008  – Až peklo přemrzne(When Hell Freezes Over), Dominik Art Projects, Crakow, Polsko
2007-8  -I do not remember, it is dangerous, Wannieck allery Brno, Czech republic
2006 –– Fifth Seal – Sacharov centrum, Moscow, Russia
2003 –– Sober Minded, Gallery FUTURA (with Annika Larsson) ,Prague, Czech Republic
2002 – No Compassion, Gallery V. Špály Prague, Czech Republic
           – No Compassion – Projektraum, Wiena, Austria
1998   - „Meine Geissein“(Moji rukojmí), Gallery Anita Neugebauer, Basel, Switzerland
1995  –  Hidden Image, Gallery Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic
          –  „Hidden Image“, Jack, Tilton Gallery New York, USA
1996 – „Hidden Image“, Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw, Poland
1991 – Forum Stadtpark Graz, Austria
1988  – Riverside Studio London, United Kingdom 
Group exhibitions not included in ARTLIST.
2014 - Jiri David, Andy Hope 1930, Florian Meisenberg, Spala Gallery, Prague, Czech republic
          - Lone Rangers, Frameless Gallery, London, England
2013 - The Desire for Freedom, Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow MOCAK, Poland
        - Responsibility, Vögele Kultur Zentrum, Pfäffikon, Swiss
2012- Ostrovy odporu-Islands of Resistance(Between the First and Second Modernity 1985-2012) 
           ,National Gallery, Prague
2011- Undeniably me(Já, bezesporu),Galerie Rudolfinum, 2011,Czech republic
2009 - Czech Photography of the 20th century, Kunsthalle Bonn (D)
2007 – Prague Biennale, Praha, Czech republic
2006 –  In time between ,National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow
2005  – Berlin Photography Festival 2005 in Martin Groupius Bau (September till November), Berlin, Germany
2004 – Je t’envisage, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
      – PHOTOESPAÑA2004 Madrid, Españ
       – „The 10 Commandments“, The Hygiene Museum Dresden, Germany
       – „About Face“, Hayward Gallery London, United Kingdom
       –  Pulse of America ,Aeroplastics Gallery,  Brussels, Belgium
2003 –  Mars, Neue Galery, , Graz, Austria
        – Gallery Künstler, München, Germany
2002 – Wonderland, Aeroplastics Gallery, , Brussels, Belgium
2000  –  The Century of the Body: Photoworks 1900–2000“, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
        – „Anagrammatical Body“, Kunsthaus Muerz, Murzzuschlag, Austria
        –  50 Years of Art in Central Europe 1949–1999“, Museum of 20th Century, Vienna, Budapest, Milan,   
            Barcelona, Southampton
1998 – Gallery MXM, „Loňská sezóna“ (Last Season), Prague, Czech Republic
        – Gallery Nová síň, „Moji rukojmí“ (My Hostage), Prague, Czech Republic
1993-  Second Exit, Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany,
        – „Coexistence of Art“, Biennale Venezia, Italy
      – „Temporare Kunstnallee München“, „Nomad Sommer 1993“, Munich, Germany
        – „Unfair“, Artelier Graz, Frankfurt, Köln, Germany
      – ,,ART Hamburg 93“, Hamburg, Germany
1992  – „Prague-Bratislava D’une generation l’autre“, Museé d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
           – The Art Institute of Chicago, „Contemporary Photography from Czechoslovakia“
1991 – Aperto Venice biennale, Italy
1990-   „Zeichen im Fluss“,  – Museum of 20th Century, Vienna, Prague, Pecs, Zagreb
National Gallery Prague, Czech republ.
 Moravska  Gallery, Czech republik
Museum 20th Century, Palais Liechtenstein,  Vienna, Austria
The Art Institute of Chicago, USA
Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary

Substitute also in privat collection



Bibliography selected (foreign)


The Portrait Now, National Portrait Gallery, London 2006

Making Faces: The New Photographic Portrait, Thames  & Hudson, London. 2006

Inside Out –texty Jiří David, Jaques Derida, Martin Dostál, vydal  Kant 2006

Spike art Magazine (Austria), Noemi Smolik, 2005

Art in America, issue September 2005, Richard Vine, Doismilecinco ecinco (Brazil) 2005

No Compassion Blast No 8 Juillet/ aoůt 2003

Jussi Vilkuna – Kaltio Nro 3/2003- No Compassion etc

Art Forum – autumn  number 2005, about Prague biennale 2

Charlotte Leuzon-Mirian – Jalouse  Nro 56 Decembre 2002

Von Christian Tröster „ Kunstszene :Prag,  Art Das Kunstmagazim (März 1999)

Pepe Karmel: Art in Rewiev-Hidden Image,New York Times (July 28),1995

Erik Perret:Man at his Best:"Better Halves" Esquire,New York, (1995 February)

Andrée Cooke: "Cityscpace:Prague",Flash Art International (N.184 October 1995)

Rebecca Knapp: "Praguee´s Golden Oportunitz", Art &Antiques,USA (December 1995)

Valerie Smith: "Third Way", Art  Forum International  (January 1991)

Piero Doggivanni, Tema Celeste,(N.32,33),1991

Miriam Mirolla,Flash Art  Italia (N.165,Decembre),1991

Claudia Jolles: "Eine Revolution im Samt und Rosen" Art(May ,N.5) ,1990

Helena Kontová: "Jiří David",Flash Art  Italia (N.156,June-July),1990

Kim Levin: "Avant - Slav" Voice(June,N.20),1989,

A.B.Oliva: "Super Art" ,Giancarlo Politi Editore 1989

Jana a Jiří Ševčíkovi: "Reality or Make-Believe",Flash Art International(N.152,May-June 1990)

Euan Mc Artur: "Jiří David", Art Monthly(N.114,March,London),1989

Jana a Jiří Ševčíkovi: "From Prague",Flash Art International (N.139,March) ,1988

Stuart Morgan: "Jiří David" Artscribe,May, 1988(N.69)


A.B.Oliva :"Neo Europe East ",Flash Art  Internationál (N.140,May),1988ember 2007

Jiri David - Rust (Paintings 2006)

AP Pleskot Gallery, Prague, Dec. 15 – Feb. 25, 2006 , Flash Art 08, March- April, 2007, text- V.Cech

The Portrait Now, National Portrait Gallery, London 2006

Making Faces: The New Photographic Portrait, Thames & Hudson, London. 2006

Art in America, issue September 2005, Richard Vine, Doismilecinco ecinco (Brazil) 2005

Spike art Magazine (Austria), Noemi Smolik, 2005

Jiri David, BABY No 8 Spring 2003

No Compassion Blast No 8 Juillet 2003

Jussi Vilkuna – Kaltio No 3/2003 – No Compassion etc.

Charlotte Leuzon-Mirian – Jalouse No 56

Decembre 2002

Martin Dostál – David–David, book 2002

Martin Dostál – European Photography (number 71) 2002

Jiri David – Retrospective book 2001, texts by Jiří David, Martin Dostál, Jana a Jiří Ševčík

Helena Kanyar, „Ungeplante Verbindung“, Basler Magazin (17 April 1999)

Von Christian Tröster, „Kunstszene: Prag, Art Das Kunstmagazim“ (März 1999)

Centrum Sztuki Wspólczesnej, Zamek Ujazdowski, Warszawa, Poland, text by M. Dostál (1996)

Pepe Karmel: Art in Rewiev – Hidden Image, New York Times (July 28), 1995

Erik Perret: Man at his Best: „Better Halves“, Esquire, New York (1995 February)

Andrée Cooke: „Cityscpace: Prague“, Flash Art International (N. 184 October 1995)

Rebecca Knapp: „Prague’s Golden Opportunists“, Art &Antiques, USA (December 1995)

Galerie Rudolfinum, Praha, Czech Republic, texts by Martin Dostál, Jacques Derrida, Helena Kontová, Václav Bělohradský, Jana a

Jiří Ševčík (1994)

Marisa Vescova, Tema Celeste (N. 36), 1992

Miriam Mirolla, Flash Art Italia (N. 165, Decembre), 1991

Czech Documentary Art a Poetry of Resistance, Freedom, Chicago Tribune, Octobre 1992

Valerie Smith: „Third Way“, Art Forum International (January 1991)

Piero Doggivanni, Tema Celeste, (N. 32, 33), 1991

Claudia Jolles: „Eine Revolution im Samt und Rosen“ Art (May, N. 5), 1990

Helena Kontová: „Jiří David“, Flash Art Italia (N. 156, June–July), 1990

Jana a Jiří Ševčíkovi: „Reality or Make-Believe“, Flash Art International (n. 152, May–June 1990)

Kim Levin: „Avant – Slav“, Voice (June, N. 20), 1989

A. B. Oliva: „Super Art“, Giancarlo Politi Editore, 1989

Euan Mc Artur: „Jiří David“, Art Monthly (N. 114, March, London), 1989

A. B. Oliva: „Neo Europe East“, Flash Art Internationál (N. 140, May), 1988

Jana a Jiří Ševčíkovi: „From Prague“, Flash Art International (N. 139, March), 1988

Stuart Morgan: „Jiří David“, Artscribe, May, 1988 (N. 69)





on-line rozhovor ČT 24, 13. 3. 2009, www.ct24.cz/chat/173-jiri-david/

David Kulhánek: Jiří David je hutný, subjektivní a divoký, 10. 3. 2009, kultura.ihned.cz/c4-10104060-35535870-005000_d-jiri-david-je-hutny-subjektivni-a-divoky

Petr Volf: OSOBNOST XX VÝTVARNÉHO UMĚNÍ, březen 2009, www.reflex.cz/Clanek35177.html

Petr Volf: Mám v sobě pořád cizince, rozhovor, březen 2009, www.reflex.cz/Clanek35234.html

Martina Buláková: Jiří David je jako sopka, která chrlí lávu, 8. března 2009, kultura.idnes.cz/jiri-david-je-jako-sopka-ktera-chrli-lavu-fd6-/vytvarneum.asp

Radek Wohlmuth: Co dělá Jiří David, když neglosuje a není kontroverzní, 6.3.2009, aktualne.centrum.cz/kultura/umeni/clanek.phtml

ČTK: Nejvlivnějším výtvarným umělcem posledních 20 let je Jiří David, 5.3.2009, www.ceskenoviny.cz/kultura/zpravy/nejvlivnejsim-vytvarnym-umelcem-poslednich-20-let-je-jiri-david/364042

Karel Oujezdský: Jiří David - Předběžná retrospektiva, 27.02.2009, www.rozhlas.cz/mozaika/vytvarne/_zprava/553034

Magdalena Čechlovská: Jiří David přesvědčuje, že je neznámý, 27. 2. 2009, hn.ihned.cz/c4-10133300-34880330-500000_d-jiri-david-presvedcuje-ze-je-neznamy

Lenka Lindaurová: Jiří David a Milan Salák: Čím víc jsme sví, tím víc jsme jejich, zima 2006/2007, www.artservis.info/index.php

Radek Wohlmuth: David ve Futuře: Další trefa do černého, 13.4.2006, aktualne.centrum.cz/kultura/umeni/clanek.phtml

Josef Chuchma: Jiří David bez soucitu, 2006, A2, www.advojka.cz/archiv/2006/19/jiri-david-bez-soucitu

Radek Wohlmuth: V obraze tentokrát - Prostý záznam..., 2.12.2005, aktualne.centrum.cz/kultura/umeni/clanek.phtml



Other critical texts

Jiří David (1956), anketa Malující umělci, A2 kultuní týdeník 30/ 2007, s. 11

Čest výjimkám (anketa v rámci street artového festivalu NAMESv Praze), A2 kulturní týdeník, 35/ 2008

Personal texts not included in database

Totální distance v období sociální vybledlosti.

Text je současně i osobním výtvarným manifestem, obsahuje požadavek odmítnutí symbolického jazyka, alegorie, ale i psychologizace díla. 1988


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