Stanislav Diviš was born on 20 November 1953 in Kutná Hora and was attracted to the world of fine art when he fell in love with the work of František Kupka. It is interesting that at junior school in Telč his marks in art were only average. After studying to be an electrician and passing his baccalaureate at senior school in Kutná Hora, between 1975 and 1982 he worked as a labourer in many different jobs and made several attempts to be accepted by an art school. In 1982, he finally won a place at the Academy of Fine Arts (AVU) in the restoration department. In 1983 and 1984 he had already organised his first events, which heralded the later and extremely important Confrontations. These were St Nicholas parties held at AVU, for which students from all the studies created the decorations. From 1984 to 1987 along with Jiří David he organised a total of six of these illegal and semi legal Confrontations, which represented for students at that time the only possibility of freely exhibiting their work. In 1985, under the pretext of transferring to the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, he was obliged to terminate his studies and since 1987 has been regularly showing his works at all important Czech and foreign contemporary art exhibitions. Also in 1987 the Tvrdohlaví group was formed, and Diviš was part of its first joint exhibition in December of that year. In 1996 and 1997 he worked as assistant to Jiří David in the latter’s studio in AVU, and from 2003 was head of the painting studio at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, a position he left in 2010.
Since midway through the 1990s Stanislav Diviš’s works have occupied a space more or less on the boundary of abstraction, but almost always with a residue of materiality through the use of alternative symbols. During this period, semiotics, especially in Diviš’s and David’s pictures, became a symbol of Czech postmodernism and Diviš’s pictures always exercise our imagination and the power of symbols. Another feature characterising his work is the fact it almost always involves extensive cycles, which are marked by concentrated formal and expressive integrity and the constant reinterpretation of the artist’s own older works or the models of other artists.
His first large cycle entitled Clowns, which the artist worked on in 1984 and 1985, is understandably strongly influenced by the neo-expressionist wave of the German Neue Wilde and the Italian trans-avantgarde. Around 1987, Diviš painted canvases with an exclusively sacred theme. These include the Twelve Apostles, Golgotha, Ark and Carrying the Cross, which were exhibited as a complete cycle at Diviš’s first solo exhibition in the Blatiny Cultural Centre, Prague, and which feature a more or less strict lattice-like grid. In 1990, he created the cycle entitled Spartakiada 90, in which he depicted the movements of the gymnasts on the surface of the stadium using field coordinates. A later reminiscence of this cycle is his set of pictures entitled Recollection of Spartakiada 90. In Scores (1992) he attempted, like many of his predecessors who had been Czech composers of musicals or Orphists, to transpose musical notation into an ingenious system of symbols as abstract as music itself. The cycle entitled Remains, which dates back to 1995, was inspired by samples of materials produced today by the now desolate West Bohemia textile works in Aš, and addresses the question of the search for possible barriers to the deconstruction of the model. The cycle Mushrooms (1995) confronts the abstract coloured surface of the background with exact transcriptions of drawings from a mycological atlas. The starting point of the cycle Two Worlds (2002 – 2003) were the drawings created by Diviš’s son when still a boy.
Martin Dostál, Jiří David, Stanislav Diniš, … probatum est, Praha, 2012.
Stanislav Diviš, Střepy, zbytky, doteky, Galerie moderního umění v Hradci Králové, 2011.
Stanislav Diviš, Ztracené světy (kat. výst.), Galerie města Plzně, 2009.
Martin Dostál, Stanislav Diviš, Praha, 2008.
Stanislav Diviš, Květy z ráje (kat. výst.), Galerie České pojišťovny, 2006.
Stanislav Diviš, Dva světy, Obrazy (kat. výst.), Galerie Felixe Jeneweina města Kutné Hory, 2001.
Stanislav Diviš, Obrazy 1985 – 1992 (kat. výst.), Galerie Václava Špály, 1993.
Martin Dostál, Stanislav Diviš, Detail V, 1998, č. 3, s. 3.
Jana Ševčíková, Jiří Ševčík, Paradoxy nejen Stanislava Diviše, Výtvarné umění, 1992, č. 3, s. 34-39.
Jiří Olič, Tvrdohlaví 1987 – 1990, Výtvarné umění, 1991, č. 1, s. 41-44.
Pavel Ondračka, II. výstava Tvrdohlavých, Výtvarná kultura, 1990, č. 3, s. 37-40.