Job No. 2
Oldřich Kulhánek (1940- 2013) was a Czech painter, graphic designer, illustrator and stage designer. He designed Czech currency and postage stamps.
Kulhánek was born in Prague. In 1964, he graduated from the Academy Of Arts, Architecture And Design in Prague.
In 1971, he was arrested by the STB (Czechoslovak Secret Police) and imprisoned for “defamation of the allied socialist states”. His crime was that in some of the art he created from 1968 to 1971, he included “a distorted portrait of Joseph Stalin, perforated five-pointed red stars or joyful faces of socialist workers turned into a hideous grin“. His graphics were considered “ideologically dangerous” and were destroyed by the government. Kulhánek spent a month in prison and he was interrogated regularly for next two years, and was prohibited from exhibiting his work.
In the 1980s, he created lithographs inspired by the development of the human body. Following the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the non-violent fall of Communism and peaceful transition of power in what was then Czechoslovakia, Kulhánek was free to work and travel for the first time in decades.
His works can be seen in important European and American museums, including the The Library Of Congress in Washington DC, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Albertina in Vienna, Art Institute Of Chicago, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva.
Kulhánek died in Prague in January 2013, taken by cancer at 72-years-old.
He suffered terribly under the Communists. Kulhánek:
“It was a challenge for me, I’m still paying for it, so I watch if it’s good. My belief is that the artist should report on himself, about the time and place where he lives, in his work. The artist should uncover the hypocrisy (or lie) of the establishment, reveal what is happening with man, manipulation and dehumanization. The artist should report on the soul of world.”