DSC Gallery

Jiří Petrbok

In Jiří Petrbok’s works, a real world blends with imaginary imagination. He combines the psychological and physical experience of the whole society and the individual at the same time. The neutral architectural space in which the plot of the image takes place is easy to read, but the dominant characters are completely fictitious and absurd. It’s a game of something that at first glance can exist in reality, but it really does not exist. It’s the artist’s intentional game with the audience. Petrbok works with the principles of collage, in which, in seeming installations – objects he uses material from works of other artists, among them the Chapman Brothers.

Jiří Petrbok was born in 1962 in Kladno. He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, under the professors of Radomír Kolář and Jiří Sopka. At present, he is the head of the Academy of Fine Arts in the drawing studio, whose assistant is the kunsthistorik Petr Vaňous. Petrbok’s work has received a lot of attention through exhibitions. His canvases are regularly included in important overview exhibitions on contemporary Czech art. Most recently his work has been a part of exhibitions including The Butterfly Effect at Rudolfinum Gallery (2013), Fundaments and Sediments in The Gallery of the City of Prague (2011), Czech Painting 1980-1995 in Wannieck gallery (2010) and Transfer at the Czech National Building in New York (2009) ). However, the artist has also gained recognition also thorugh individual attention, the most important solo exhibitions include, Rainbow from Prague’s Old Town Hall (2009) and most recent Burning Heart at The National Gallery of Prague (2018). His work is represented in the National Gallery, the Gallery of the City of Prague and other private collections. He also exhibited abroad alongside international stars such as the Chapman Brothers or Maurizio Catellan.

With the Chapmans Brothers, Jiří Petrbok exhibited at the Close Echoes group in Kunsthalle in Kremz in 1998. This life meeting associated with the exhibition made Petrbok a trigger for a new approach to his work, in which he began to use citations of other works of art from the end of the 1990s. However, the Chapman Brothers are not the only artists whose works of Petrbok are entangled in his canvas. He has also incorporated the diamond skull of Damien Hirst, the Jeff Koons Heart Statue, the Library Design for Prague from Jan Kaplický, or even the talking raven by Kristof Kintera. He is often categorized as a decadent artist, although he does not see himself as one. The colorful canvas reflects the unhealthy rapid changes in the social realities of the 1990s and early 21st century, and the artist takes them skeptically with uncompromising irony and sophisticated sense humor.