Being a versatile artist, Petr Nikl renders his imaginative powers in the shape of painting, performance, singing, theatre, graphic art, and various kinds of combinations of traditional art media. His activities have also included being curator, theatre director and orchestra conductor.
Having entered the Czech scene as a painter, Petr Nikl presented his early paintings at student’s exhibitions called Konfrontace (Confrontation) taking place since 1984. His paintings of those days were suggestive of a memory of human tenderness protecting defenceless human and animal young ones. Even in his latter years, the spirit of human kindness and gentleness continued to be embraced in the paintings in their subject and form, too. Nikl’s paintings seem to be a kind of recorded mysteries of human life and behaviour, being experienced by the artist during his performances. Still they imply a challenge for painting techniques to render niceties of the visible world.
His parents’ and grandparents’ art activities influenced his childhood considerably, and that being so, his memory of childhood plays a dominant part in artists’s development. It is his creative approach to reality, personal freedom and his open mind for a wide range of possibilities that influence his productive art career. He exhibited his earliest puppets at the IVth Confrontation in Svárov, 1985 and at the same time presented them in his first public theater performance there. Nikl’s theater activities have been brought out ever since. Original carved marionettes have been substituted with findings of weird shapes and with sound and other effects produced, in alternative way, with various instruments. The project “Air Sightseeing Apparatus »Flip«” in Veletržní palác started his continuous theater production.
Running parallel to the theater and performance activities, Nikl also works in the field of staged photograph, with his own body playing various roles. Playing with fanciful disguises, he brings together personal identity trifling and art concern of an author of impressive sculpture and painting compositions.
Since the very beginning Nikl has been using sound in his performances. It is either sound of various weird apparatus or the artist’s own voice. His later performances are accompanied by singing. In 2006 Petr Nikl, together with music ensemble Lakomé Barky (Stingy Barkas), recorded double-album Přeslenec.
Being determined with his interest in mastering well-tried painting methods to a considerable extent, his refined style and painting composition parallel his graphic art. Using the mezzotint technique, Nikl creates sensitive abstracted organic shapes. His drawings come deeply natural with his graphic art.
He has been several times awarded for his illustrations; he has written and illustrated his Linguistic Tales, Fairy-tales Rybana and the Sea Soul and Rybitinka.
Social interest and search for the relevant up-to date meaning of contemporary art are attendant on Nikl’s art works. His playful nature relevantly brought him to human playfulness, this being a natural field for understanding between contemporary art and wide public. In 2000 he projected and produced a large group exhibition Hnízda her (Nest of Games) in Rudolfinum Gallery in Prague. The event attracted remarkable attention of the audience. Continuous with this conception, the project of Czech exposition in World exposition in Aichi in 2005 and the exhibition Orbis Pictus in Czech Center in Paris in 2006 were accomplished.
Sváteční Pop, s Ondřejem Smejkalem, Milanem Caisem a Jiřím Hradilem
Rotterhammer, s Theater Labor a Krebskem, Bielefeld, Německo
Vodní tance, Drážďany, Německo
Bludný rybář, Madrid, Španělsko
Tanec hraček, Jelení Gora, Polsko
Soul Etude, s Balanescu kvartetem, Londýn
Tanec hraček, Divadlo Archas K Lhotákovou a L. Soukupem
Stabat Mater, loutkový balet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazilie
Tětiva snů, divadlo Brett, Vídeň
Svit stínu, divadlo Archa, Praha
Vodní tance, Theater Labor, Bielfeld, Německo
Bílá ponorka / The White Submarine, “seeyuatthepremierefair“ festival, Berlin Sea-Weed Dances, Oulu, Finland
Za zrcadlem / Behind the Mirror, together with artists from South Africa, Divadlo Archa
Ars Alchymia festival, Divadlo v Celetné, Praha
Slunovrrat / Solstice, Festival Arts Alive, Johannesburg, South Africa
Days of Prague in Kyoto, Japan
FLIP - series of audio-visual performances, National Gallery in Prague
Cirkus / The Circus, Bread&Puppet Theater, Vermont, USA
PS122, Jim Henson Festival, New York, USA
Vzdálené hlasy / Distant Voices, South London Gallery, London, UK
2007 Requiem, Loutkový film na motivy hudby W.A. Mozarta, 52 min.
1998 J. J. Ryba: Česká mše vánoční / Czech Christmas Mass, decoration and costumes, State Opera, Prague
1994 Opera La Serra, decoration and costumes, Archa Theater, Prague
Play, Mánes Praha
Labyrint světla, Dům umění Ostrava
Leporelohra, České centrum Praha
Orbis Pictus, Brusel; Sofie
Labyrint světla, Stará kanalizační čistírna, Praha
Leporelohra, knihovna Livberec; Dům umělců Moskva
Orbis Pictus, Důl Michal, Ostrava; Kulturní centrum Basilica, Č. Budějovice; Telus, World of Science, Vancouver, Kanda
Orbis Pictus, České muzeum hudby, Praha; Dům umění města Brna; Rotunda, Květná zahrada, Kroměříž; kostel sv. Václava, Opava; Limonaia, di Villa Strozzi, Florencie;
Orbis Pictus, aneb Brána do světa tvořivé lidské fantazie, České centrum Paříž
Zahrada fantazie a hudby, Světová výstava Expo 2005, Aichi, Japonsko
Hnízda her, Rudolfinum Praha
2010 Přeshádky, Meander
2009 Blázníček, Meander
2008 Jeleňovití, Meander
2007 Záhádky, Meander
2006 Lingvistické pohádky, Meander
2002 O Rybaně a možské duši, Menader
2001 Pohádka o Rybitince, Meander
2001 Atlas-salta, Aulos
1997 Vyhnání z ráje, Divus
2008 Rybí písně, Meander
2008 Jeleňovití, Meander
2006 Přesletec dvoj CD, se sborem Lakomé Barky, Blackpoint muzic
2004 Nebojím se smrtihlava, se sborem Lakomé Barky, Blackpoint music