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Zdeněk Sýkora

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About artist

Zdeněk Sýkora has painted his whole life. He graduates from realistic landscape shots to the geometrisation of natural forms on to cleanly laid out colour schemes and space reduction. This shape-creating process culminates in the series, Gardens (Zahrad), from 1958. It was inspired by H. Matisse. This is where the landscape is now only an impulse for the free discourse on expressive qualities freed of colour stains. In his later work he moves to the reduction of expressive resources to colourfully broad geometricised figures. These, in turn, appear in increasingly simplified compositions. Sýkora belongs among the first artists, who began to use the constructivism motif in his creations.


At the beginning of the 1960s the first „structure“ pictures began to appear. A key work in this transformation is the Grey Structure / Šedá struktura (1962-3), in which the surface is already organised into the form of a grid, a sort of field of variations of mutual positions for individual geometric elements. Sýkora works from pre-defined structures and tries later to exhaust their combinational possibilities. He ends up, for example, repeating the same shape, while his colourful arrangement with regard to neighbouring elements isunique.

Sýkora was one of the first Czech artists period to begin using, in 1964, a computer as a means for providing an otherwise unattainable range of variations and enabling the objectification of combined approaches. This established him as a pioneer in computer art. Sýkora’s work explores relations between systematicness and coincidence). Together with the mathematician, Jaroslav Blažek, and by using the LPG-30 computer, he creates programmable structures, whose objective is to exhaust all possible mutual positions for several basic elements. Whereas in previous paintings the structures were still created intuitively and were guided by an attempt to prevent repetition in the combination of images, when working with a computer, it was necessary to adopt a thorough, rational logic. The computer is thus used to implement a pre-defined concept.


In 1973 macro-structured images began to appear. This happened through the enlargement of semicircular elements. Structural lines are created, they define the boundaries between black and white elements in the pictures. They became an impulse for the creation ofline-based paintings, whose creation Sýkora works on still today. In these series of lines the annulment of ties between the limiting grid-structures occurs. The image becomes a mere slice of the whole. The initial coordinates of each line, their width, length and colour are defined at random, by a toss of the dice, or they are numbers, generated haphazardly, with the help of a computer. Colour lines exist on a white background, symbolising emptiness as a natural environment for playing out random line growth (expansion).


At the end of 1970s Sýkora’s works experience a partial return to landscapes. Parallel to paintings of structure and lines, he creates works using earth tones painted on in thick layers, in which he develops possibilities for painting that he had begun at the end of the 1950s. At the turn of the 1980s and 1990s his series, Stains / Skvrny, comes about in this way. Sýkora is also the author of several architectural projects; for example, the design for the entry hall of the company, Selmoni AG, in Basil or the pictures, Flying A/Létání A and Flying B/Létání B (they come from the pictures Line No. 233 and Line No. 234), for the entry hall to the building of the Czech Republic’s National Integrated Administrative Centre for Aviation in Jeneč u Prahy.

Sýkora’s work, using the principle of guided coincidence, is interpreted as the analogical functioning of natural organisms, and the artist has allowed himself, during his whole life, to be inspired by scientific research, for example, the chaos theory.


„There are situations and phenomena unexpected and inexplicable, which out of necessity we define as coincidental. It seems a paradox that precisely in exact sciences the term coincidence has achieved such plasticity. Coincidence is precondition for too many situations. We are forced to place an increasing amount of trust therein. Each coincidence is tied to elements that can create relations. They are thus not coincidental „of themselves“, but are only very complicated, mutable relations. There must possibly be some „higher order“ that we cannot understand. And for this we can feel it even more. I think the relation, understanding – feeling, is decisive for a sense of freedom.“

Zdeněk Sýkora, 1985

Author of the annotation
Lenka Dolanová



1945 - 1947
Pedagogická fakulta UK Praha u Martina Salcmana, Karla Lidického a Cyrila Boudy, F. Kovárny (zde byl asistentem u Boudy, Salcmanna a Kovárny, později docent. )

Vysoká škola architektury a pozemního stavitelství ČVUT v Praze
Member of art groups not included in ARTLIST.
Umělecká beseda


Solo exhibitions
Sýkora 1998/2003, Galerie Zdeněk Sklenář, Praha

Definitions of Chance, Art Affairs Gallery, Amsterdam

Zdeněk Sýkora – Neue Linienbilder, Art Affairs Gallery, Amsterdam

Městská knihovna – Galerie hl. m. Prahy (K. Srp)
Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen

ČMVU Praha; Kulturní středisko ČSFR, Berlín

Galerie Teufel, Mahlberg, SRN
Galerie Art Affairs, Amsterodam
Nová síň, Praha

Galerie Art Affairs, Amsterodam

Dům umění m. Brna (J. Valoch)
Galerie Teufel, Kolín n. Rýnem
Atrium (s R. Kratinou), Praha

J. Albers Museum, Bottrop (U. Schumacher), SRN
Činoherní studio, Ústí nad Labem

Musíš Savoisien, Chambéry, Francie

Kunstcentrum, Görinchem, SRN

Galerie V. Špály, Praha

Alšova síň, Praha
Group exhibitions not included in ARTLIST.
Poezie racionality. Valdštejnská jízdárna – ČMVU Praha

Papier aus Prag. Städtische Galerie, Saarbrücken; Avantgarde aus Prag. Osnabrück, Bonn

Pocta Jindřichu Chaloupeckému. NG Praha
„les pragois – les années de silence“. Galerie Lamaignère Saint Germain, Paříž
Konstruktivní tendence 60. let. SČG Litoměřice

Tschechische Malerei heute. Villa Merkem, Esslingen
Konkrete und kinetische Kunst aus der Sammlung Etzold. Städtische Galerie Peschkenhaus, Moers; „konkrét 9“. Kunsthaus Norimberk

Mathematik in der Kunst der letzten 30 Jahre. Wilhelm-Keck-Museum, Ludwigshaen (D. Guderian)

Sammlung Etzold – ein Zeitdokument. Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach

„small is beautiful“. Galerie Zapieċek, Varšava

Cycle Média 81. Galerie Média, Neuchâtel
Linie, Pécsi Galerie, Pécs

McCrory Collection. Výstavy v New Yorku, Düsseldorfu, Zürichu, Paříži, Belu a Stockholmu

Symposium 74. Kunstzentrum, Gorinchem
International Computer Art Exhibition. Galerie Gheerbrandt, Montreal

Programm-Zufall-Systém. Städtische Museum, Mönchengladbach

Konstruktive Kunst aus der ČSSR. Kolín n. R.
50 Jahre des Konstruktivismus in Europa. Galerie Gmurzyńska, Mnichov

Areonica. Museum de Arte Moderna, São Paolo
Was die Schönheit ist, das weiss ich nicht. 2. bienále, Norimberk (D. Mahlow)

Demartini, Kratina, Kubíček, Malich, Sýkora. Alšova síň, Praha

Elemente und Prinzipen (1. bienále konstruktivního umění). Kunsthalle Norimberk (J. Kotalík)
Recent Graphics from Prague. Corcoran Gallery, Washington; L’oeil écoute. Papežský palác, Avignon

Nová citlivost. Dům umění města Brna
Konstruktive Tendenzen aus der Tschechoslowakei, Kassel
Documenta 4 Contemporary Prints from ČSSR. Oregon State University
6. Internationale Biennale Exhibition of Prints. National Museum of Modern Art, Tokio
GHMP Praha
GBR Louny ad.čes.galerie
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterodam
McCrory Collection. New York
Nationalgalerie, Berlín
Folkwang Museum, Essen
Städtische Galerie Hochum
Sammlung Etzold, Städtisches Museum Abteilberg, Mönchengladbach
Museo de Arte Moderno della Fundación Soto v Ciudad Bolivar
Museum Moderner Kunst – Stiftung Ludwig ve Vídni
Neues Museum v Norimberku
Musée d’Art Moderne v Saint-Etienne
Musée National D’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou v Paříži



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David, J.: Vnímání, rytmus a tvorba. Hradec Králové 1988.

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Riese, H.-P.: Die Sammlung Etzold im kunsthistorischen Kontext. Mönchengladbach 1986.

Franke, H.W.: Computergrafik Galerie. Köln 1984.

Čapek, V.- Sýkora, Z.: Rozhovor, in: Kunstmesse Bâle (kat. výst.). Bâle 1983.

Hlaváček, J.: Počátky a souvislosti, in: Konstruktivní tendence 60. let (kat. výst.). SČG Litoměřice 1980.

Bénamou, G.: L’Art aujourd’hui en Tchécoslovaquie. Paris 1979.

Malina, F.: (ed.), Visual Arts, Mathematics and Computers. New York-Oxford 1979.

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Rotzler, W. – Hahn, O. – Fabre, G.C.: Aspects historiques du constructivisme et de l’art concret. Paris 1977.

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Riese, H.-P. – Mahlow, D.: Konstruktive Kunst aus der Tschechoslowakei. St. Allen 1972.

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Franke, H.W.: Computergrfik – Computerart. München 1971.

Mahlow, D.: Biennale Norimberk (Programmierte Kunst-Computer Kunst. Syntax und Gramamatik). Köln 1971.

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Riese, H.-P.: Umfrage. 10 Künstler beantworten Fragen zur konstruktiv-systematischen Kunst. Kunst, 1969, č. 36.

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Hlaváček, J.: Otázky pro Z.S. Výtvarné umění 18, 1968, č.3.

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