The art of Jan Hendrych is influenced in particular by the expressive character of the Bohemian Baroque, but it is also shaped by his sense for a sculpture’s construction and its placement in space – in the landscape. In his work, Hendrych follows on the modern sculpture of Henry Moore or Marino Marini, and also on neo-realism and pop art. Since the 1960s, he has explored the subject of the figure within the context of the so-called New Figuration while continuously exploring new ways of expressing the figure and of experimenting with material. This set of enamel sculptures, which holds a special place within his oeuvre, was made during Hendrych’s participation at three editions (2009, 2010, 2012) of the Smalt Art Vítkovice symposium in Ostrava. The symposium gave him the unique opportunity to work with the enamel technique, which he applied to the surfaces of metal plates. Instead of traditional modelling, he composes the surface with a view to creating spatial units – figures which he calls Guardians or Heads. One of these works was made in honour of his friend Hugo Demartini, an artist known for his geometric forms.

Jan Hendrych (born 1936 in Prague, lives and works in Prague) studied sculpture under Josef Wagner and Jan Kavan at Prague’s Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (1955–1961), followed by a postgraduate course under Karel Hladík and Karel Lidický at the Academy of Fine Arts (1963–1966). His first public showing was at the Sculpture 1964 group exhibition in Liberec, and his first solo exhibition was in 1966 at the Gallery of Young Artists in the Mánes exhibition hall in Prague. Prevented from exhibiting after 1968, he focused on art restoration instead. In 1990, he was made head of the Studio of Figure Sculpture and Medalmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he was named professor in 1991 and served as vice rector in 1993–1995. He was an external lecturer at the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica in 1991–2009 and taught sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 1997 and 1999. Hendrych has received numerous prestigious awards (1990: grand prix at the Sculpture Triennial in Sopot; 1992: gold and bronze medals at the Dante Biennale in Ravenna; 1996: Award of the Italian Ministry of Culture at the Dante Biennale in Ravenna). He has participated in many sculpture symposia at home and abroad and has realised a number of works in the landscape and in public space. His work can be found in leading Czech and foreign collections, including GASK.

(Adriana Primusová)

Exhibited works:

Strážce – Žena / Guardian – Woman, 2012

Strážce / Guardian, 2012

Strážce – Na památku Huga Demartiniho / Guardian – In Memory of Hugo Demartini, 2012

Hlava I / Head I, 2010

Hlava II / Head II, 2010

smaltovaný kov / enamelled metal

Světlík Art Foundation