Linien Nr. 40
Oil on canvas. 98.5 x 98.5 cm. Signed and dated 'Sýkora 86' verso on canvas. Signed, dated, and titled 'Zdenek Sýkora: Nr. 40, 1986 Sykora' verso on stretcher and with dimensions. - Minor traces of age.
As a true pioneer in this field, Zdenek Sýkora had already been using computer technology to calculate the compositional basis of his works since the early 1960s. After the so-called structure-paintings, with which the artist became known beyond the borders of Czechoslovakia, came the line-paintings, which were created from 1973, a homogenous series of works which he continued in consecutive numeration into the final years of his life. In addition to precise mathematical calculations, the basic technique of the line-paintings decisively included the element of chance in the creation process.
Josef Hlavácek aptly formulated the basic principle of this series of works: “In the painting, each line has its own life, whereby the place of its origin, the direction of its movement, and the number of steps defining its life span are random, by tossing a coin.” (Josef Hlavácek, quoted in: Zdenek Sýkora, Kalligraphie des Zufalls und der Gesetzmäßigkeit, exhib.cat. Galerie und Verlag Mitteleuropa, Prague 1992, p.12). In fact, the lines do seem to possess a life of their own, an individual character. Playfulness or austerity, dominance or restraint, transience or infinity, movement or rigidity of the lines, which come together in a dense weave or in reduced-open sections, characterise the nature of each respective painting.
Perceived from a certain distance, Sýkora's paintings have a flawlessness and precision often intrinsic to concrete art, however, viewed close-up the traces of the creation process forming the basis of the 'life' of the lines reveal themselves to the viewer. Fine lines and digits, positioned on the canvas with pencil, and the puncture points of the applied compass give an idea of the labour-intensive transference of the computer-calculated basis of their existence.
The present work is registered in the Lenka Sýkorová and Zdenek Sýkora archive, Louny.
Acquired directly from the artist; private possession, North Rhine-Westphalia