Lumír Hladík is a post WWII neo-Avant-Garde artist, a pioneering figure of the 70s East European conceptual and performance art movement. Fascinated by its immediacy and formal freedom, he engaged in action art, installations and interventions, along with similar-minded artists such as Karel Miler, Petr Štembera, Jan Mlčoch and Jiří Kovanda. He has adopted a very distinctive form of body art, described by art historian Pavlína Morganová as arranging “derailed situations”, documenting his art in photography and 8mm film. His early work explored the notions of alterity, mortality and determinism. After moving to Canada in 1982, the artist spent over three decades studying natural entropy in the Canadian wilderness. His art, an eclectic mix of retro-curia, baroque exuberance and sleek urban glitz-kitsch exploits a wide spectrum of disciplines such as drawings, mixed media, vintage ready-mades, performance art, video, photography, installations and interventions. Hladík’s bio-interventions, an inter-species collaborative work that incorporates destructive marks of wild black bears and other Canadian wildlife, are exploring notions of historical and cultural amnesia.
By the means of cross-pollination of a wide range of contentious sources; quantum physics, biology, pop culture, history, philosophy or religion, Hladík is synthesizing a frenzied alchemy of multilayered innuendos, riddled with ambiguity and myriads of subtle, yet perturbing references. He claims that his art responds to today’s society’s ubiquitously ridiculous “rational” defence of its own irrationality.
Due to political circumstances in former Czechoslovakia and his relocation to Canada, Hladík has not appeared on the international art radar until around 2008. His early action/performance art has been discovered in 2010 and a comprehensive monography published in 2011. Consequently, his art has been acquired by prominent art museums and art institutions in the Czech Republic, including the National Gallery in Prague (2012). The genuine strength and originality of his work also attracted institutions and galleries in other countries - Germany, Romania and USA. In 2020, his work has been acquired by the National Gallery of Canada.
National Gallery of Canada, ca
National Gallery, Prague, cz
Museum of Decorative Arts and Photography u(p)m, Prague, cz
National Film Archive, cz
Gallery of Modern Art, Hradec Králové, cz
GASK, Museum of the central Bohemian region, cz
GAVU, Museum of Fine Arts, Cheb, cz
THE TICHY OCEAN FOUNDATION COLLECTION, ch / cz