A prominent figure in contemporary art brut, this Czech artist is fascinated by medical iconography. An expert in the mysteries of anatomy, he devotes himself – when not drawing – to all sorts of performances reminiscent of the actionists. By testing the limits of physical existence, he conjures up death and sublimates life in its most organic form. His extremely detailed works in Indian ink and acrylic entered the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Paris) in 2013, then in 2021 thanks to the Bruno Decharme donation, and were notably exhibited on several occasions at the Maison Rouge, in Japan and at the 2017 Venice Biennale.
The only son of a possessive mother, Luboš Plný devoted himself from childhood to his two passions: drawing and anatomy. He was transferred to a psychiatric hospital during his military service and then began to earnestly study medical and psychiatric literature. Fascinated by decomposing bodies and dissection, he obtained a diploma as an undertaker, but was mainly employed as a model at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Hence the stamp with which he “signs” all his works “Luboš Plný, academic model”.
With this distinction, he began drawing at the beginning of the 2000s, compositions in Indian ink, enhanced with acrylic and sometimes collage, codified to the extreme, following an immutable protocol, mixing anatomical sections with multiple points of view and organ arrangements in which fluids and secretions circulate. “It’s a diary that I keep on a daily basis,” he explains. The state of his own organic life is thus at the heart of his work, and each of his drawings is part of a temporality. He invariably begins by noting the number of days he has lived since his birth, then the hours, the minutes even, worked on each part of the work, which he also intersperses with mentions of events experienced during the time of its composition, in tiny writing.
Plný is convinced that drawing one of his organs will lead him to a form of meditation on the limits of his physical existence. His work also reflects his passion for texture, haptics and eroticism.
Through his performances he confronts the limits of pain, which he experiences as an act of purification, transforming psychic and physical suffering into an artistic work.
Is this to be seen as a healing ritual, a sacrificial offering? Is it death that the artist seeks to tame or to ward off?
Preface : Stéphane Corréard
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition preTENse, from September 12th to October 10th, 2015.