Josef Daněk

Limbo I, 1998 festival




Josef Daněk


Hermit Foundation


Plasy Monastery

Josef Daněk belongs to the generation of artists influenced by postmodernism while at the same time growing up in the strongly conceptually oriented cultural environment of Brno at the turn of the eighties and nineties. One of the characteristic expressive features of his work is its variety: he expresses himself through drawing, painting, object, performance, literary and scenic text or stage design. The rationalised use of eclectic forms allows him to take a stance and to provoke. His earliest efforts resulted in neo-expressive painting within a neo-conceptual content framework. Content-based work, postmodern in tone, following a central line of content with the generally present thematicisation of paradox has become the cement of his heterogeneous work. The first comprehensive set of drawing entitled Meaningful Anatomy was created in the middle of the eighties and captured the process of conceiving of the human body and mentality. These drawing include texts serving as the starting point for performances which usually take place at private viewings. During the second half of the eighties Daněk’s performance-based approach to creative work was manifest in objects made from artificial molten substances, plasticine painting conceived of as a model of painting, and narrative performances, which were often created in cooperation with the artist and sociologist B. Rozbořil. During the nineties he prepared a host of monographic exhibitions commenting on the nostalgia felt after the return to naturally portrayed form. This is particularly true of the project Infinite Drawing (Moravian Gallery 1995) and his ongoing work on objects created through the destruction of items made of plastic, especially toys. At this time he also initiated and along with T. Petišková prepared many art symposia, for instance Painting in Plasticine and Exhibition for Animals, produced in cooperation with the Sýpka Gallery. During this period extensive scenic performances were held in open countryside or urban environments, as well as in the premises of HaDivadlo and Theatre Goose on a String in Brno. The performer and composer Zdeňek Plachý became an important partner and initiator of these theatre performances.