Bohumil Zemánek

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Bohumil-Zemánek in his studio

Bohumil Zemanek (10 October 1942 in Brno – 12 August 1996 in Prague) was a Czech sculptor and restorer.


Born in Brno, the second son of three children from a professional soldier Bohumír Zemánek and his wife Anna Zemánková, who later became famous as an important Czech art brut artist. From 1964 - 1970 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague under Prof. Karel Hladík and later Dr. Jiří Bradáček. There he also met his future wife, sculptor and restorer Margaret Paur. His work was not in accordance with cultural politics and therefore before 1989 he exhibited only sporadically. Together with the sculptor Michael Bilek, he devoted himself intensively to the restoration of stone sculptural monuments mainly in northern Bohemia. He was a member of the Mánes Union of Fine Arts .


Wet Julia (1974), glazed burnt clay, h. 85 cm
Julia - mean girl (1978), peeled and glazed burnt clay, h. 175 cm

He was influenced by American Pop art; in the Czech milieu he is considered together with Karel Nepraš, Jiří Sopko, or Jiří Načeradský as an outstanding personality of the New figuration (do not confuse with Figuration Libre) and larger wave of grotesque. Already at the time of his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts he had formulated a unique artistic signature.
From the beginning he focused on realistic figurative sculpture, mostly life-sized and processed in a cast, but especially in burnt umber, raw or glazed ceramic clay. His work is characterized by animal modeling, antiqued print drapery and frequently awarded after a gap of plaster molds. His conception of stylized human figure into "folk archetypes" is ironic.
With a humorous approach denouncing bourgeois stereotypes (Before maid Katy brings fish soup to the table ... 1968) and hedonism (Wife Julie - Dawn 1988 to 1989, Chess 1986-1987), he banalized the ideal of the working man (Bohouš 1978-79) .
A frequent motif of his sculpture was water, which was for him a symbol of freedom, nature and the physical bliss of existence. It is applied in the wet drapery clinging to the body of his buxom wife Julie, in statues and water games (Water polo - with Jiří Sopko - 1970, Swimming hole, 1968, Bath - Karel Zavadil - 1967) and a series of figures called Sea ( 1981-1985 ). He is the author of several installations in public spaces (including the fountain in the park Folimanka in Prague).

Sculptures in public spaces[edit]

Chess (1986-1987), peeled and glazed burnt clay, h. 80 cm
Swimming pool


Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 1971 Municipal Museum of Prague
  • 1989 Bohumil Zemanek: Sculptures, Gallery of Fine Arts in Cheb
  • 1993 Bohumil Zemanek and Mrs. Zemánková, Václav Špála Gallery, Prague
  • 1994 Bohumil Zemanek and Mrs. Zemánková, Moravian Gallery in Brno
  • 2009 Bohumil Zemanek rediscovered, Peron Gallery, Prague
  • 2012 Bohumil Zemanek - Czech Grotesque, New Town Hall (Prague)

Group exhibitions[edit]

  • Bohumil Zemánek participated in more than 40 group exhibitions in the Czech Republic and abroad.


Author's catalogues[edit]

  • 1989 Bohumil Zemánek: Sochy, Vykoukal J, GVU Cheb ISBN 8085016036
  • 1993 Bohumil Zemánek a paní Zemánková, Kříž J, Galerie Václava Špály, Praha

Anthology / reviews[edit]

  • 1985, 78/1985, Jazzová sekce, Praha
  • 1992, Sborník S.V.U. Mánes (Member exhibitions in the Mánes exhibition halls 11.5 - December 6, 1992 ), Mánes Union of Fine Arts

Books published[edit]

  • 1978 Holub K, Mladí čeští sochaři (Young Czech sculptors), Odeon, Praha
  • 1979 Růžička M, Vlček T, Současná keramika (Contemporary ceramics), Odeon, Praha
  • 1994 Chalupecký J, Nové umění v Čechách (New Art in Bohemia), H & H Publishing, Ltd, Jinočany ISBN 80-85787-81-4
  • 2000 Stádníková J et all, Sochy v Praze 1980-2000 (Statues in Prague 1980-2000), Publ. Who's Who, Praha, ISBN 80-902586-5-4

External links[edit]