Jirí Dokoupil was born in Krnov, former Czechoslovakia, in 1954. After the invasion of the Soviet army in Prague in 1968, he fled with his family to Germany. Dokoupil was founding-member of the German artist groups Mülheimer Freiheit and Junge Wilde, which arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s; they sought to explore a contemporary expression for their art by using a neo-expressive, figurative style of intensely colorful painting with traditional subjects and by overriding the intellectual, reduced formal language of Minimal and Conceptual Art. Dokoupil developed a less wild, rather unusual method of working and soon found his own radical subjective way with individual considerations.
As Luca Marenzi explains in his text “Dokoupil differentiates between know-how and style. Know-how is linked to mastering a production process which is analogous to scientific knowledge. For example, Pointillism is a know-how which developed a new way to apply paint to a canvas so that on close inspection there are small marks of pure colour. These marks can simultaneously appear as a unified image from a distance. Style, for Dokoupil, is about producing a desired result and it is not necessarily dependent on the process. Mondrian’s mature work is a good example of style. Dali’s Surrealism is another. Know-how and style are closely linked, but for the artist it is important to distinguish them because he finds both in the treasure chest of art and uses them individually or jointly as starting points in his work…
Dokoupil has mixed traditional painting with conceptual art and created the work of sixty artists rather than one. But one thing has remained constant. He has never lacked the courage to aspire to total intellectual freedom”.
The book presents a selection of over 200 works divided into three sections: Behold, I have become a painter! (1980–1989); A new beginning, but how? (1989–2000) and Suddenly becoming academic (2000–2017). Complete the book texts by Reiner Opoku, Luca Marenzi, memoirs of the artist’s mother Magda Dokoupilova and an essay by Julian Schnabel on Dokoupil.