Concept meets reality in Jiří Příhoda’s VOID exhibition in Prague
Jiří Příhoda VOID, installation view. Take 02
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Martin Polák
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Concept meets reality in Jiří Příhoda’s VOID exhibition in Prague

In his latest exhibition at Galerie Rudolfinum, the Czech artist manifests his unremitting probe into the concepts of space, volume and matter.  

by STIRpad
Published on : Jul 21, 2022

With the most extensive showcase of his practice to date, multi-disciplinary artist and designer Jiří Příhoda takes the stage at the Prague-based art gallery Galerie Rudolfinum in the VOID exhibition. On display between 28 April and 28 August 2022, VOID showcases a deeply evolved configuration of internal connections between its installations– both apropos of the interpenetration of their forms and their conceptual sequence. The oeuvre of the Czech artist residing in the United States sets itself apart with its laudable level of excellence, establishing singularity in the Czech art scene by transcending the status quo of presentations of its type. “The exploration of space, volume, matter and emptiness are the basic characteristics of Jiří Příhoda’s art,” says Petr Nedoma, the exhibition’s curator and director of Galerie Rudolfinum. “Put into practice, his morphologically immensely inventive and innovative studies of imaginary objects become highly inspiring sites that interconnect architectural designs with fine art sculpture,” he adds.

Jiří Příhoda VOID, installation view. Take 01 "DESERT STORM", 1995, detail Image: Courtesy of Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Martin Polák
Jiří Příhoda VOID, installation view. Take 02 "THE FLOOD", 1995-96 Image: Courtesy of Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Martin Polák

Jiří Příhoda, for his exhibit, uses architectural devices to dexterously manoeuvre the realm of abstract spatial studies, greatly understood from the viewpoint of artistic solutions to material problems. Mostly showcasing novel installations, the exhibition also spotlights glimpses of Příhoda's key works from the past decades. Seeking emotionally balanced and stimulating designs of encounters between space and matter and the crossroads of reality and concept forms the crux of his form-focused work. Creativity is allowed to flow organically without taking into account potential pragmatic applications, although these are not dismissed. His theme also encapsulates the motivation to spotlight, often in unconventional or even indiscernible ways, worlds barring the utilitarian ones that are intermittently the focal point of architectural thinking.

Jiří Příhoda VOID, installation view. Qc, 2013-22 Image: Courtesy of Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Martin Polák
Jiří Příhoda VOID, installation view. Take 02 "THE FLOOD", 1995-96, detail Image: Courtesy of Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Martin Polák

Rudolfinum's intricate neo-renaissance architecture, with qualities that gain prominence when set against bold contemporary art concepts, provides an apt terrain for the artist. Příhoda's exemplary conceptual thinking with respect to the abstract construction of matter bears resemblance to the pensive approaches to sculpting forms is dominantly determined through the reimagination of many traditional, thoroughly considered and relied-on historical architecture practices that step towards classical balance. Jiří Příhoda's body of work meanders fluidly between spheres of fine art, design and architecture, emphasising all three at different times or in tandem.

Jiří Příhoda VOID, installation view. Rig, 2016-22 Image: Courtesy of Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Martin Polák
Jiří Příhoda VOID, installation view. Rig, 2016-2022, detail Image: Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Martin Polák

The evolution of the project involved thorough consideration of an array of options, designed by the artist conforming with the technical feasibility of the building, to coincide with the constructions. The exploration of the different methods of execution resulted in Příhoda's body of work being elevated to a new level of precision. With each progression, elements that had initially seemed to be suppressed and unconnected steps were rendered a new lucidity. Příhoda's artistic expression collaborating with a building exuding historical references and a lush structure of memory establishes a highly complex and involved dialogue between two divergent approaches.


Jiří Příhoda VOID, installation view. Rig, 2016-2022, detail Image: Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Martin Polák
Jiří Příhoda VOID, installation view. Qc, 2013-22, detail Image: Courtesy of Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Martin Polák

Despite the constant transitions between art, design and architecture that frequently manifest in his work, there is always a connection to spatiality and the way the human being is positioned in the world, finding its way in. The building of the Rudolfinum enclothed in an offbeat theme through the presentation of Jiří Příhoda's practice leads to the accentuation of the formal, spatial and volumetric character of the solutions he has materialised.

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