About the Artist
Bohumil Eliáš Jr. (1980) is one of the most interesting contemporary Czech visual artists with a significant international reach. While he is a representative of the younger generation of artists, the richness of his work has made possible the preparation of this representative catalogue, as well as an initial reflection on the formative artistic influences and nature of his work. I consider the placement of his art production in a broader field of visual aesthetics to be the key prerequisite for a layered and well-informed understanding of his unique position. Specifically, the artist’s work has been shaped by three key artistic contexts, as detailed below, which he synthesises into original work built upon his own and distinct imagination, as well as his sensitive perception and interpretation of immediate and more general phenomena in/of time and space.
The first key context is the artist’s study of figural sculpture at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts (Czech acronym AVU) under the tutelage of an extraordinary sculptor, prof. Jan Hendrych (1936). The consequence of this intensive experience and practice can be found in the artist’s persistent intellectual interest in the development of anthropo- and zoomorphically oriented New Figuration, which has been prof. Hendrych’s professional domain. The artist’s feeling for the choice of topic, external dimensions and proportionality, shape and expressions of the object are closely related to the above (see combined-technique works “Constellation of the Rhinoceros” and “Jump to the Unknown”, or the drawing “Torso”). To understand the second formative context, it is necessary to direct our attention to within the artist’s own family, specifically to the work and educational legacy of his father, Bohumil Eliáš Sr. (1937-2005), an excellent Czechoslovak / Czech representative of glass sculpture, painting and drawing. Bohumil Eliáš Sr. earned world fame and lasting recognition for his highly original work and installations. His artistic influence on his son can be seen in Bohumil Jr.’s interest in painting, the technique of laminated glass, and the artistic styles of abstract expressionism and surrealism (e.g. laminated-glass works “Construction” and “Touches of the Worlds” or the painting “Savage”). The third key context for the artist’s work has been the world-famous tradition of Czech studio glass, with a focus on the unique technique of mould melted glass - also known as kiln cast glass. Although this technique was being popular especially at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (Czech acronym UMPRUM) in Prague under the leadership of prof. Libenský (1921-2002), this "cold" glass technique is close in nature to sculpture. This fact is noticeably reflected in the work and artistic thinking of Bohumil Eliáš Jr. (see, especially, the works “Window”, “Over the Depth”, and “Moon Landscape”).