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Lot #107 
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Zdeněk Sýkora

Lines no. 148

acrylic on canvas
1998
signed
110 x 100 cm
Estimate: 10,000,000 CZK - 15,000,000 CZK
Starting price: 7,000,000 CZK
Hammer price:
9,000,000 CZK

Lines no. 148 represents the work of Zdeněk Sýkora, a progressive and multi-layered Czech artist who ranked among the world pioneers of “computer art”. He was one of the first artists to use a computer as a part of his creative process in the 1960s, which allowed him to perfect the important elements of orderliness and chance. Using combinatorial procedures, he created an unimaginable range of variations that became the basis for his impressive, strongly rational structures and macrostructures, in which combinations of several basic elements were exhausted, with none of the combinations allowed to be repeated. Around 1972 and 1973, he started abandoning these structures and his interest shifted to lines, where he applied randomness to all their parameters – colour, length, width, the total number of lines, their starting points, direction, and crossings. These works were based on a numerical score, a mathematical record defining the resulting image which the artist did not interfere in. Each line was completely random and carefully drawn to match the score as much as possible. Lines no. 148 belongs to a smaller set of five pictures based on the same score, however, the variables determining the properties of the lines are always different. Thus, although they have the same starting point, each picture is unique due to chance. The freedom of movement of the lines on the canvas is enhanced by the absence of a frame, thanks to which the lines can imaginarily continue even outside the picture. Zdenek Sýkora’s extremely innovative artistic expression, combining the human element with modern technology, has been appreciated not only within the Czech environment, but also worldwide. His Lines no. 24, for example, was purchased by the Centre Pompidou, where it became part of the permanent exposition in 2007. Other line paintings can be found in a number of high-quality Czech and international institutions and private collections. The presented painting, Lines no. 148, was part of the Gallery 60/70 collection and was later presented at the Z. S. nineties (extremes) exhibition at Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery (24 January – 27 March 2010). The record of this artwork in the form of a numerical score can be found in the artist’s 9th workbook, pp. 902–903, stored in the Archive of Lenka and Zdeněk Sýkorovi. In digital form, it is stored in the same archive under inventory No. L148. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. K. Srp. The expertise by L. Sýkorová, the artist’s wife, is attached.