Lives and works in
Mr. Humhal’s creations include a broad range of activities: painting, sculpture, objects, installations, video, photo manipulations, events, etc. The author maintains however a certain distance from the works he creates. He does not engage in them as a protagonist. A presentation featuring certain elements of his own body is an exception (blood, urine, sperm, and saliva in the installation Public Intimacy / Veřejná intimita, 1990, or the photographic series, My Body’s Shadows, 1994). Humhal puts himself in the position of a scientist, researcher, and organiser. He examines sociological research (How would you describe yourself? Jak byste popsali sami sebe?, 1998 or 99 answers the question: How long do you think you will live? Kolika let si myslíte, že se dožijete?, 1999).
He presents his research findings visually and recycles them in installations (Has anything at all changed? / Změnilo se vůbec něco? (I asked and I paid / Zeptal jsem se, zaplatil jsem), 1997-98). This activity partially ties into conceptual art, but it concretises and humanises its themes. He no longer researches artistic tools and the conditions themselves, but rather mainly the social and cultural situation. After 1989 Humhal mainly created installations and objects, in which he explored both his own personal situation as well as the social framework of a given area. Toward the end of the 1990s he expanded his repertoire to include video, which he used to record the course of social interactions incited by the artist (Lida and Vendy, 1999). In recent times, with an about-face, he returned to his original sculptural training and created monumental plastic works – objects, through which he expressed his experience restoring Baroque art (Jettator, 2004 and Benefit, 2004).
The author’s earlier installations from the beginning of the 1990s gave off a sterile and rational impression. They use technical materials, geometric shapes, and reduced colourfulness. Here Humhal often reflects on hospital space and the issues of illness, birth and death (Positive – negative / Pozitivní – negativní, 1991). Existential topics in this case lack sentiment and expression. They gain the aesthetic of medications and research objects. Even the artist’s sociological research is presented with a certain distance (aloofness), because of its intimate and personal story. In the series, How would you describe yourself? / Jak byste popsali sami sebe? (1998), the author makes use of statements from a range of „test“ persons discussing themselves. It draws attention not only to the relationship between the public and private spheres, but also to stereotypes and self-stylising. In cases where the artist acts as initiator of not-so-everyday social interactions, the protagonists change through their stories their identity to a certain degree and test new social roles (Clothes do not make the man / Šaty nedělají člověka, 2002). Humhal also explores the question of materials, material events, and the metamorphosis of visual expression based on the structural change of materials (Injecta, 2002 or Sugar / Cukr, 2004).
Author of the annotation
Member of art groups included in ARTLIST.
Group exhibitions included in ARTLIST.
That What Remains, 1993