Hugo Demartini, 17. 5. 2012 – 8. 7. 2012

Hugo Demartini

Hugo Demartini

„Incredible stories happen uder the Earth
and fantastic ones in the air
enchnated shapes suddenly emerge
with a scream for spirit..."
F. Halas

Hugo Demartini liked to discover „enchanted shapes" hidden in shades of his own imagination, in unknown depths of consciousness and in the surrounding world.

He brought them gradually to life and put them under his own law. He did not understand his work as mere objects but also as space that can be fi lled with music, light, smell, colour and warmth.

Around 1956 he creates subtle plaster reliefs with fi gural scenes showing biblical motifs. Fragile simplifi ed fi gures on a white background create symbols representing silence. They represent unsaid questions about the meaning of life and the subject of death and eternal life.

In late 50s Hugo Demartini discovers the world of geometric abstraction. He creates geometric collages and red monochrome structures. Paper shaped by different tools from behind, coloured bright red and plaster reliefs fi lled by cuboid, square, line and point prints organize the plain in a totally different way.

In the mid 60s he narrows down the choice of plastic forms to the subject of balls. Wooden objects and reliefs, in which balls are multiplied, sometimes deformed and organized in strict geometric structures, represent his next work. The artist starts to work with chrome plated material. In shiny silvery ball surface the surrounding world and its every motion is refl ected. A spectator becomes a part of the artist‘s work.

The principle of refl ecting became very important to the artist and he used this principle in his landart. He places shiny, clean and bright objects of balls into a ploughed fi eld, waterlogging or fallen leaves. The sharp contrast between technically ideal objects and muddy landscape creates special suspense that you can feel when looking at the preserved photographs.

Demartini studied relations of individual objects in space. He intentionally tries to use gravitation. He throws wood chips, wooden skewers, paper confetti into the air and lets them fall down free. He fi nds out that compostions created in this way have their own inner order, law and harmony softly related to the principle of coincidence.

In relation to demonstrations in space he creates a collection of reliefs „Beyond Restricted Space" in the 70s. At the same time he makes „Models" that are rather small objects enclosed in transparent glass boxes. They are special silence dwellings. The time and motion infl uence seems to be almost impossible.

From 1980 to 1984 Hugo Demartini expresses himself as a sculptor of large-sized plaster objects. The cycle „Places" reflects cubes, fragments of antique columns, large plates with remains of various object foundations at different stages of decay and desintegration. He comes near to a meditative level where transience, gradual destruction and emptiness freely meet.

Hugo Demartini was a man of great spiritual potential. He loved poetry, valued human labour and respected nature. He used to think about the nature of relations between particular phenomena and subjects. All these attributes are clearly refl ected in his art work and place him among the greatest artists in the art world.

V. Brucháčková Závodná, March 2012


1931 Born on July 11 in Prague
1946-49 Apprenticeship by the stone sculptor Otakar Velínský, received a certificate
1949-54 The Academy of Fine Arts in Prague /Prof. Jan Lauda/
1956 Creates a cycle of plaster reliefs with biblical motifs
1962 A cycle of red reliefs
Foundation member of the loose group Palette of Home Country /together with B. Dlouhý, T. Pištěk, K. Nepraš and other personalities/
1964-65 First reliefs and objects with chrome surface are created
1968 Takes part at the exhibition New Sensitivity in Brno, Karlovy Vary and in Prague
His work is at the exhibition Neue Tendenzen aus Tschechoslowakei in Norimberk
Leaves the studio and goes into the landscape:
Landart and space demonstration
1969 At the Norimberk Biennale he meets Getulio Alviani, Rafael Soto and Max Bill
1974 The cycle Beyond Restricted Space is made
1983-85 Creates monumental plaster objects in the cycle Space
1987 A member of the group The Backwards / B. Dlouhý, P. Nešleha, Z. Beran, K. Kouba, K. Klusák/
1990-95 Teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
In late 90s he moved onto a rural farm in Sumrakov where he had his studio.
Hugo Demartini died on September 14 in 2010.

Katalogue here.