Jan Křížek is undoubtedly the most original of the artists who settled in France during the last century.
After an artistic training in Prague, he arrived in France in 1947, where he lived until his death in 1985 and it was there that he produced most of his work. By bringing certain influences from his country of origin into dialogue with more archaic or primitive expressions, or by mixing them with more innovative currents of the post-war Parisian artistic scene, he achieved an original and personal expression which was hailed by artists, poets or theoreticians like Pablo Picasso, André Breton, Jean Dubuffet, Michel Tapié, Charles Estienne, Edouard Taguer, Jean Degottex and René Duvillier.
Between 1947 and 1962, he exhibited in important places or places that have since become famous, such as the Foyer de l’Ar Brut, the Galerie Kleber, the Galerie Craven, the Galerie A l’étoile sealed; and rubbed shoulders with active routes and movements, such as the group of tachists brought together by Estienne, the surrealists gathered around Breton or the Phases movement, led by Taguer, while remaining an atypical and solitary creator.
Indeed, Křížek’s work does not lend itself to the usual classifications. Archaism, primitivism, art brut, tachisme gestural painting, informal art, informal art are all aspects that can be associated with it, without any of these terms managing to cover the nature.
It can however be said that for years he worked on only one work; constantly drawing, engraving, modelling, sculpting the many variations of the human figure. In search of a vitalist expression, timeless but resolutely current, at a time when human dignity had been deeply flouted by the massacres and genocide of the Second World War, he constantly returned to “man”, questioning on its origins, on the meaning of its creativity; affirming, in the face of the danger of an abstract, cold and disembodied world: “With me, man must never disappear. »
Throughout his work, he thus devoted himself to the resolution of a single problem, including the resolution of a single and same problem, the nature of which was personal and of a more “spiritual” than artistic order and to which he was looking for answers in the depths of the unconscious. What mattered to him was the ongoing process of research.
After having acquired a solid reputation on the Parisian scene, he retired to Corrèze, and almost completely disappeared from artistic life. It was not until 1995 that national and international exhibitions followed simultaneously, starting with Le musée de la Cohue in Vannes and at the Galerie du Théâtre National de Bretagne in Rennes, in collaboration with the FRAC Bretagne.
Křížek was an original creator and an atypical thinker. Many people were struck by the authenticity of his quest and his demand for truth. He had to explore things on his own first, and he never blindly adopted models forged by others that seemed attractive to him. We can thus find in his work traces of his admiration for archaic and non-European arts, for the stylization of the first Romanesque art, for Baroque expressiveness or movement in Rodin; all rendered by a spontaneous and rapid gesture at the limit of an intuitive, gestural and automatic expression. In reality, his creative process is well thought out and he knew where he was going. This is why when he felt he had reached his goal, he put an end to his plastic creation.
Personal Exhibitions :
Sculptures by Křížek, Foyer de l’Art Brut, Galerie René Drouin, Paris, February 13 – March 1948.
Křížek At the Sealed Star, Paris, March 16 – April 6, 1956.
Křížek, sculptures and paintings, Craven Gallery, Pris, May 30 – June 19, 1958.
Křížek, painting, sculpture, Craven Gallery, May 1-20, 1959.
Jan Křížek, TNB Gallery, Rennes March 25 – May 14, 1995.
Jan Křížek, Museum of the Cohue, Vannes, March 25 – May 29, 1995.
Křížek, Cloister Museum of Tulle, July 5 – September 5, 1996.
Jan Křížek, obrazy, sochy, keramika, Galerie moderníro uměni v Roudnici nad Labemm French Institute in Prague, July 1 – September 12, 1999.
Jan Křížek, Oblastní galerie v Liberci, 7 October 28 November 1000.
Jan Křížek, Gallery Zdeněsk Skelnářm Litomyšlm December 11, 1999 – January 10, 2000.
Jan Křížek, Muzeum a galerie Litomyšlm, January 14 – February 27, 2000.
Jan Křížek Severočeska, Gallery Výtvarného uměni v Litoměricích, May 10 – June 17, 2001.
Jan Křížek, Gallery Benedikta Rejta v Lounech, September 28 – January 16, 2005.
Jan Křížek: solitér na cestě za pravdou, Národní galerie v Praze, February 23 – June 6, 2010.
Jan Křížek / Síla znaku, Galerie moderního uměni v Roudnici nad Labem, April 27 – June 10, 2012.
Jan Křížek (1919 – 1985) has unělecká Paříž 50. let, Národní gqlerie v Praze, May 31 – September 29, 2013.
Collective Exhibitions :
Art Brut, Home of Brut Art, Galerie René Drouin, Paris, November 1947.
Ceramics, sculptures and drawings by V.Ivanoff, Jean Křížek, Jacqueline Manou, Maria, Librairie André Pouget, Paris 3 – 28 me 1949.
Instinct, Bookstore, André Pouget, Paris, June 25 – July 20, 1949.
Ceramics, Galerie Martin Gruzon, Cannes, September 13 – October 1949.
Salon d’Octobre: painting, sculpture, engraving, Galerie Craven, Paris, October 1 – 29, 1953.
A few fires in the fog, A l’Etoile sealede, Paris, January 21 – February 1955.
Continuity of Gallic art, Educational Museum, Paris, February 18 – April 2, 1955.
Alice in Wonderland, Bookstore – Galerie Kleber, Paris 1er – March 22, 1955
Inks and watercolors (Degottex, Duvillier, Křížek, Marcelle Loubchansky), Librairie – Galerie Kleber, Paris, June 16 – September 30, 1955.
Sculptures, Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, February 6 – February 1958
Collages, Watercolors Gouaches, Galerie Craven, Paris, June – September 1958.
Dubuis, Franquinet, Kolos-Vary, Křížek, Manera, Selim, Galleria d’arte La Bussola, Torino, February 14 – 23, 1959.
Sei giovani pittori della scuola di Parigi, La Medusa studio d’arte contemporanea, Roma, March 14 – March 1959.
I sei della galleria Craven (Dubuis, Franquinet, Kolos-Vary, Křížek, Manera, Selim), Galleria des Libraio, Bologna, 12-22 April 1959.
Dubuis, Franquinet, Kolos-Vary, Křížek, Manera, Selim, Galleria d’Arte La Navicella, Viareggio, May 17 – 31, 1959.
Figures Variations, Paris Gallery, London, November 13 – December 9, 1959…
Catalog raisonné of the artist, “At home man must never disappear” by Anna Pravdová, National Gallery of Prague, FRAC Limousin, France, 2015.
Jan Křížek Documentation Fund, Benedikt Rejt Gallery, Louny. Charles Estienne Collection, Nation d’At Moderne Museum, Center Georges <Pompidou, Kandinsky Library, Paris
André Breton Fund, Jacques Doucet Literary Library, Paris.
Private archives in the Czech Republic and France.
Dissertations and academic work
Jacqueline Felmzan, The history of the René Drouin Gallery from 1939 to 1947, University Panthéon – Sorbonne Paris I, 1981.
Lorraine Mailho, Charles Estienne, art critic, 1945 – 1960, University Panthéon – Sorbonne Paris I, 1983.
Solo exhibition catalogs
Sculptures by Křížek, Galerie René Drouin, Paris, 1948 (Michel Tapié).
Křížek, To the Sealed Star, Paris, 1956 (Charles Estienne).
Křížek Sculptures and Paintings, Galerie Craven, Paris, 1958.
Křížek Painting Sculpture, Craven Gallery, Paris, 1959.
Jan Křížek, FRAC Bretagne, Museum of the Cohue, Vannes, 1995 (Catherine Elkar, Marie – Françoise Le Saux, Jean Markale).
Jan Křížek, Galerie moderníro uměni v Roudnici nad Labem, Roudnice nad Labem 1999 (Miroslava Hlaváčkova).
Jan Křížek, Zdeněk Sklenár Gallery, Praha 1999 (Jaromíř Zemina).
Jan Křížek: solitary na cestě za pravdou, Národní gallery v Prazem, Praha 2010 (Anna Pravdová).
Jan Křížek / Síla znaku, Galerie moderního uměni v Roudnici nad Labem 2012 (Magdalena Deverová).