Zdeněk Hůla studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts (AVU), and graduated in 1972). He still paints, though since 1984 he has also occupied himself with sculpture and is probably best known these days as a sculptor rather than painter.
In the 1980s he began creating objects mostly from wood, along with twigs, branches and small logs. He emphasises the organisation of the material as well as its construction, assembling a host of objects into simple, regular shapes. In Coloured Statue he inserted mirrors into a geometrical wooden structure which reflect the surroundings and evoke the impression of infinity.
Since 1994 Hůla has worked mainly with stone. He uses hard stone, mainly granite, which allows him to make exact and permanent cuts. He does not process the entire block of stone, but prefers to exploit the contrast between the smooth, worked surface and the natural form of the stone. He splits some blocks in half in order to place them back to back. Most of his sculptures are composed of two blocks. He sometimes fits both parts together perfectly (in “soft contact” as he puts it), while other times cracks appear which allow the artist to play with the effect of the light passing through the stone. This is apparent in the “astronomical” sculpture entitled From Solstice to Solstice (1998): when the solstice or equinox takes place, beams of light penetrate the stone and fall onto one spot. The sculptures Sundial (1998) and Sun Gate operate on a similar principle.
Sculptures linking stone and glass form a special group of Hůla’s work, in which he works with the contrast between the full substantiality of stone and the lightness, delicacy and translucency of glass. Heavy boulders are placed on a glass table which is invisible from afar, so creating the impression that the stone is hovering in the air.
Hůla began his career as a painter as a figurist, though was more and more drawn to the theme of nature and natural events, which finally predominated as a theme in his paintings. Geometrising elements intermingle with organic forms. The painter’s main interest was in finding an order, a fixed point in the chaos of the world and the cosmos. Although his early paintings as a student were figural, after graduating he devoted himself to abstraction, and continues to do so to the present day.
The starting point of Hůla’s abstract canvases is often landscape, the sky or the universe and stars as symbols of infinity. The first cycle he completed after graduation was a series of paintings entitled Strange Landscapes, in which he address the depressing situation of the 1970s as well as personal experiences (the death of his father). In the 70s he created the cycle Forbes – Pictures of Fruit Machines from Pubs. At the end of the 70s he returned to landscapes and created the cycle Attempt at One Year, painted on a chalk underlay. At the beginning of the 80s there followed a short intermezzo during which he returned to figurism in the cycle entitled Streets. These pictures for the first time feature the grid as a construction element, an element which still remains an integral part of Hůla’s work. In the 80s the grid was combined with geometric motifs (point, circle, triangle, square, straight line, segment, curve). However, the strict geometry of these canvases is always disturbed. Sometimes the basic geometrical forms are left partially unpainted, while at other times the entire composition is violently disrupted by gestural painting. In the 1990s Hůla created the cycle entitled Still Life with Fruit, another development of the principles of his paintings of the 80s and a reference to Paula Cézanne and that artist’s declaration that the artist should paint in accordance with the form of basic stereometric shapes in nature. The last of Hůla’s cycles, created after 2000, is a series of pictures on the theme of the Natural Elements – Fire, Water, Earth and Air.
Art in Architecture and Public Spaces:
KAPLIČKA SV. GOTHARDA / dřevo, žula, sklo / Kostelec n. Č. l.
STRÁŽCE TICHA / žula, sklo / 537 x 75 x 69 cm / Strakonice
KŘÍŽ / mramor, dřevo / Kostelec n. Č. l. / kostel Andělů strážných
POMNÍK ELEONORY Z EREMBERKU / Kámen – žula, sklo / Ondřejov
STRÁŽCI / mramor, sklo / Praha / Dalajské údolí
OLTÁŘ / mramor, sklo / Kostelec n. Č. l. / kostel Andělů strážných
SFÉRY / žula, beton / Ondřejov / hvězdárna
FONTÁNKA / žula / Praha / Karlín
OD SLUNOVRATU K SLUNOVRATU / žula / Ondřejov / hvězdárna 1992 – OBLAKA A PROUDY / dřevěná plastika / Kostelec n. Č. l. / zvonice kostela sv. Jana Křtitele
DVA / žulový patník / Kostelec n. Č. l.
PAMÁTNÍK OBĚTEM ROMSKÉHO HOLOCAUSTU / syenit / Lety u Písku
SKÁLY / malba a asambláž na dřevotřísce / Turnov / Lidová škola umění
STAVEBNICE / stoly a židle / Praha / Rokový klub Komutovka
PECIVÁL / loutky pro animovaný film
KRÁSA ČESKÉ KRAJINY / keramická mozaika / Praha
MNOŽINY / keramická mozaika /
DO ŽIVOTA / keramická mozaika / 700 X 350 cm / Slezská Ostrava / gymnasium
ZE ŠKOLY / keramická mozaika / 500 x 300 cm / Kostelec n. Č. l. / školní jídelna (zničeno)
KRAJINA / keramická mozaika / 200 x 300 cm / Kostelec n. Č. l. /dům Krupků
TICHO / keramická mozaika / 180 x 97 cm / Ústí nad Labem / onkologické oddělení KN (zničeno)
BOHATSTVÍ ZEMĚ / kamenná mozaika /350 x 1200 cm / Praha / Vysoká škola ekonomická
TANČÍCÍ V ANTIBES / žula, sklo / 420 x 130 x 83 cm / Antibes / Francie
Broumovsko, Baroko a pískovec
Ondřejov, Kameny a Hvězdy
Ondřejov, Kameny a hvězdy
Telč, Sochařské setkání 2000
Hořice, 16. Mezinárodní sochařské symposium
Ondřejov, Kameny a hvězdy
Jindřichův Hradec, Mezinárodní sochařské žulové symposium
Ondřejov, Kameny a hvězdy
Valtice, Velký formát
Slovensko, Nový Smokovec, Umělci Tatrám
Rakousko, Hetzmannsdorf, Kunstfeld
Rakousko, Klement, Int. Steinbildhauer-symposion Ernstbrun
Švédsko, Gerlesborg, Kulturbro
1998 – 2003
symposia KAMENY A HVĚZDY (Stones and Stars), in collaboration with the Ondřejov Observatory
1992 – 2010
running the Kruh Gallery in Kostelec nad Černými Lesy (along with Josef Volvovič), organizing thematic intermedia presentations - 1992 Circle,1993 Reflection, 1995 Interface, 1996 Without and Assignement, 1997 Two, 1998 Nature, 1999 Extreme, 2000 Chance, 2001 Play, 2002 Light, 2003 Fire, 2004 Water, 2005 Earth, 2006 Air, 2007 Journey, 2008 Night, 2009 Mountain, 2010 Forest.