Jirí Georg Dokoupil

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Jirí Dokoupil lives and works between Berlin, Madrid, Prague, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Jirí Georg Dokoupil is a contemporary Czech artist. He was a founding member of the German artist groups Mülheimer Freiheit and Junge Wilde, active in the late 1970s and early 1980s.Jirí Dokoupil was born in Krnov, in the former Czechoslovakia, in 1954. After the invasion of the Soviet army in Prague in 1968, he escaped with his family to Austria and Germany. In 1976 he started studying at the Cologne Academy of Fine Arts. Then he also took classes at the universities of Frankfurt and Cooper Union, in New York, where he lived with the conceptual artist Hans Haacke. Haacke’s influence is evident in the early stages of Dokoupil’s work. From 83 to 84 Dokoupil was a visiting professor at the School of Fine Arts in Dusseldorf and later in Madrid.
In 1979, together with artists like Hans Peter Adamski, Peter Bömmels and Walter Dahn he founded the Mülheimer Freiheit Group. The Group teamed up with art dealer Paul Maenz who organized Dokoupil’s first solo exhibition in 1982. In the studio on the street that had lent its name to the group, the “Young Savages” (Jungen Wilden) dedicated themselves to exploring contemporary neo-expressionist expression , figurative style of intense colors painting the traditional theme making the intellectual aspect prevail, reduced to the formal language of Minimalism and conceptual art. “I came to understand that today the conceptual artist has become a liar”, according to Dokoupil. “What they promised us was salvation, formless art. But you can go to the gallery and have nothing to see, and it can cost a lot of money – it just can’t be that way.”
But already in the early stages, Dokoupil developed a method as wild as it is unusual, and soon found his own radical subjective path with individual considerations. With his “painting book” shown at Documenta 7, Kassel, in 1982, Dokoupil attracted the attention of the art world. It was a gigantic painting material called “God, show me your balls”, a kind of homage to a painting of dishes by Julian Schnabel (images formed from broken dishes). Schnabel was not invited to participate in the exhibition – in Dokoupil’s eyes, a serious offense. Since then – in addition to group exhibitions with the “Mülheimer Freiheit” – the artist’s work has been seen in numerous individual exhibitions in galleries, museums and other places of cultural interest worldwide.