- Zdenek Sýkora
- Lines no. 11
- signed, dated and titled Sýkora 19 XII 1980 no. 11 on the stretcher
- oil on canvas
- 170 by 170cm., 67 by 67in.
Galerie Média, Neuchâtel (by 1981)
Galerie Hoffmann, Friedberg (by 1991)
Wox Art, Prague (by 2006)
Private Collection, Czech Republic
Purchased from the above by the present owner in 2007
Neuchâtel, Galerie Média, Cycle Média, 1981-82, illustrated in the catalogue
Chambéry, Musée Savoisien, Zdeněk Sýkora, 1983, illustrated in the catalogue
Basel, Galerie Média, Art '83, 1983
Bottrop, Josef Albers Museum, Zdeněk Sýkora Retrospektive, 1986
Ludwigshafen, Wilhelm-Hack Museum, Zdeněk Sýkora Retrospektive, 1995, illustrated in the catalogue
Zdeněk Sýkora, Dum umeni, exh. cat., Brno, 1988, illustrated
Imrich Bertok & Ivo Janousek, Computers and Art, Bratislava, 1989, p. 175, illustrated
Zdeněk Sýkora, City Gallery, exh. cat., Prague, 1995, p. 75, illustrated
Lanterna Magica, Espace EDF Electra, exh. cat., Paris, 2002, p. 111, illustrated
Zdeněk Sýkora, Museum der Moderne, exh. cat., Salzburg, 2005, p. 28, illustrated
Lenka Sýkorova, Zdeněk Sýkora: Interviews, Prague, 2009, p. 79, illustrated
Zdeněk Sýkora: Colour and Space, Olomouc Museum of Arts, exh. cat., Prague, 2010, p. 29, illustrated
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Painted in 1980, Lines no. 11 is an early and seminal work from Sýkora's 'Linie' series of paintings, which he commenced in 1979. This series is the most important in the artist's oeuvre, with other works from it being in the collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, MUMOK in Vienna, and the Steddelijke Museum, Amsterdam.
Sýkora was born in Louny, in northern Bohemia. His early work, up to the late 1950s, was based on the mountainous landscape around Louny, especially the river Ohre and the valleys beyond the village of Catoliby. After seeing the works of Matisse at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg in 1959, his work developed from naturalism to abstraction. His first non-figurative works were grid-like compositions, consisting of black-and-white geometric forms, which became known as 'Structure paintings'. In 1964 his collaboration with the mathematician Jaroslav Blazek led to his first computer-assisted works, which explored different combinations of abstract elements with predetermined rules. While they have a passing similarity to Op Art in Western Europe and America, their rigorous mathematical method was unique to Sýkora.
Political repression in Czechoslovakia during the 1970s did not hinder Sýkora's experimentation, and he progressively developed an idiom characterised by dense clusters of interwoven, curving lines, in which every aspect of the composition, from the intense hues to the thickness, direction and length of each element, was determined by a computer, the 'Linie' series. The procedure, which combined mathematical systems with a quality of randomness, reflected a quasi-scientific understanding of reality. The metaphysical dimension that is reflected in the paintings from the Linie series, and most notably in such monumental works as Lines No 11, gives Sýkora's work an enduring appeal, and has led to a recent re-evaluation of his oeuvre, particularly in the Czech Republic, Germany and France.