The work of Jiří Příhoda (*1966) is based on his specific approach to space and nowadays oscilates between sculpture and architecture. Already during his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1990-1996) in the studio of Stanislav Kolíbal and Aleš Veselý he belonged among the most prominent representatives of his generation. In 1997 he was awarded the Jindřich Chalupecký Award. In the course of the 1990s he experimented with video-projections and became known as the first artist on the Czech art scene expressing himself through sculptural-architectural transformations of exhibition spaces. The series, which began by the intervention in a Gothic chapel for the First Biennale of Young Art Zvon ’94 at the Prague Municipal Gallery in 1994, culminated in two works based on the build-in of the so-called white cube. As regards the exhibition 3274,8 m3
in the synagogue at Palmovka in Libeň (1997) Příhoda presented himself as the author of the exhibition architecture, while in the exhibition Closer to the Street (1998) in Václav Špála Gallery he used wooden structures and plasterboards to make the exhibition rooms smaller and create an imaginary gallery within the gallery, totally lacking exhibits. Although the aim of these works was to manipulate the viewer´s perception and deal with topics of illusion and virtuality, he simultaneously commented on the changing role of the gallery space.
About ten years ago, when Jiří Příhoda moved to the USA, he began creating monumental objects-structures, whose form unfolded from basic geometrical forms. They may serve as temporary shelters for meditation, study or other activities requiring isolation from the surrounding world. Or perhaps as an exhibition space as in the case of Kulturák Archa, which was originally one of Příhoda´s exhibits at his retrospective exhibition in the Prague Municipal Gallery in 2016, and re-installed in Lubná near Litomyšl in order to house several presentations by the artist in 2018 and 2019 for his contemporaries. Vista Mars (2017-2019) in the administrative complex Rustonka in Karlín in Prague, was probably the most complex and most demanding recent realization. It is a slowly rotating sculptural object with a central interior construction and a huge LED screen showing the surface of Mars. Its size, kinecity and use of a multimedia element is quite unique in the context of artworks in public space in our country.
Since 2000 Jiří Příhoda has devoted himself to exhibition design and architecture, including graphic design. He is the author of a number of exhibitions, including the permanent exhibition in the National Gallery in Prague in the Trade Fair Palace entitled 1796-1918: Art of the Long Century (2019), where the interview was filmed. Most of his works are based on geometry. He often employs methods and principles from his own artwork such as the polarity of reverse and obverse, which manifests itself for instance in his exhibition design and architecture by the aesthetization of the unrefined back side of display panels. Příhoda does not regard the border between his artwork and exhibition architecture as impenetrable and in a number of cases he has exceeded his role of an architect and became a co-author. However, he distinguishes these interventions from his other works by using the term Interpreter – such as in the joint exhibition with Anna Hulačová in Hunt Kastner Gallery in Prague in 2015 or the installation of the Želiv monstrance made in the 1950s by imprisoned monks and for which he created a transcendental space from an old rusty grain storage silo (8smička, Humpolec, 2019). His focus on exhibition architecture had a great impact on a number of his students in 2005-2015 when he was the head of the Studio of Monumental Art (e.g. Dominik Lang, Tomáš Džadoň, Iveta Čermáková and others).