2001 / 2009
patinated bronze, h. 187 cm
acquired for the GASK collections in 2020

Jiří Středa (born 1956 in Náchod) studied under Jan Wagner and Jaroslav Kolomazník at the Secondary Technical School of Sculpture and Stonemasonry in 1971–1975, followed by sculpture under Jiří Bradáček at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 1976–1982. He also did a student exchange at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, where he participated in a bronze casting programme. His artistic position has nevertheless been primarily influenced by his travels to Greece, where he learned about the art of the Mediterranean and of Antiquity. He also studied ancient cultures at the Louvre. His classically modelled works grow out of the tradition of sculptural figuration, reflect the cultural past, and relate to universal values. Within the international context, they follow along the line represented by artists such as Marino Marini. His simple volumes and shapes are like symbolic signs whose purity of form recalls the archetype of the human figure. The figure’s nudity refers less to physicality as such than to man exposed in his essence, stripped of all material goods. Středa’s sculptures thus refer to the idea of humanism. Their somewhat stiff body language is balanced out by the fact that their colourfulness draws our attention to the surface of the sculpture. What We Know marks a turning point in Středa’s work and is one of his many monumental sculptures. The questioning upward gesture connects man with the universe.