Jan Steklík

* 1938  †︎ 2017

  • “We sat in a club in the House of Arts in Brno with an acquaintance from Cambridge. At around nine o’clock they said on the radio that the Russians had come. I told her about it and she replied that it was bollocks. She said that we copy everything from the West; that this is like Orson Welles’ play on the radio on Martian’s inviding the US. As we walked home, there were airplanes flying above our heads and we could see tanks from our window. I told her that this play is a bit more expensive than Orson Welles‘ one. She, a typical English woman, replied: ‚I have the same feeling.‘"

  • “In Brno I got to know journalists, even those writing for Lidové noviny. I remember in particular how one of them had changed. People change as situations change. First he was all about the reform process and suddenly he would approach me in a pub and ask me how come they didn’t imprison me yet. This transformation of people was the worst. But the more I had appreciated those who stayed the same.”

  • “After my father I inherited piles of business papers and a view of the railway. I loved observing the trains. I would use the ruler to draw the tracks, bind the papers together and draw more and more trains. I used to draw infinite trains. Once, my grandpa gave me a chronicle of Ústí nad Orlicí or a brochure of the firefighter squad or whatever. In it was a children figure having a shit, with a big ass. This must have been a prediction of my later breast-works.”

  • “Once I got an offer to teach. But then, when I saw and exhibition of the students’ works, I realized that it wasn’t for me. I won’t teach conceptual art, it is impossible to learn ideas. Today, things get easily copypasted. I hope I won’t be considered a complete conservative but I assume that a second-rate 19th and 20th century painter is still a painter while a second-rate conceptual artist is just a thief. All they need is one computer click. Anybody can manage that.”

  • “It was a very collective piece. Zdeněk Beran, Čestmír Janošek and Antonín Málek were later accompanied by me and Karel Nepraš. Who said that name for the first time is hard to tell. It was a semi-open thing. Not everyone who’d have drunk a few beers with us could become a member. We lacked an art theory which would serve as an umbrella for our common art work. It was more about an opinion, a general standpoint. Everyone was free to do whatever they wished for. Back then, the times were against us and we were against the times.”

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    Hroznová ul., Praha, 05.06.2015

    délka: 01:21:03
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Fates of Artists in Communist Czechoslovakia
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

Crusadership knows no borders

steklik.jpg (historic)
Jan Steklík
zdroj: Eye Direct natáčení, archiv Post Bellum

Jan Steklík was born on 5 June 1938 in Ústí nad Orlicí. He studied at a textile technical school but never made it till graduation. Already at the time of his studies he began with independent art work. In 1963 he and Karel Nepraš founded the satiric Crusaders‘ School of Pure Humor without Joke. Ever since 1960s his works were exhibited at various social events or at group exhibitions. In 1970 he created a well-known land art portrait „Airport for the Clouds“. In the 1970s he was expelled from the Association of Visual Artists. He had three individual exhibitions in Czechoslovakia: in 1970 in the Regional Gallery in Liberec, in 1977 in Minigallery VÚVeL in Brno and in 1978 in the local cultural house in Blansko. As part of common exhibitions his works were on display in Sydney, Canada, Florence, Buenos Aires, Wroclaw or Tokyo. After 1989 he had several exhibitions in Prague, Zlín, Brno, Ústí nad Orlicí and Vysoké Mýto. Most of his presence was in connection with Nepraš or the Crusader School. He worked and lived in Prague, Ústí nad Orlicí and Brno. Jan Steklík passed away on November, 2017.