Stanislav Zippe

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Stanislav Zippe (20 January 1943, Hořice - 12 January 2024, Prague) was a creator of light kinetic sculptures and light spatial installations and one of the leading Czech representatives of kinetic art.

He was born in 1943 in Hořice in the Podkrkonoší region, where he also graduated from the sculpture school (1957-61). In the first half of the 1960s, he created geometric abstract paintings, developing the relationships of squares on the surface, giving the impression of a disintegrating system (for example, Structure from 1962). In the 1960s, he created designs for three monumental public sculptures: in 1965 he created a model for the College of Agriculture (executed a year later), and in 1967 he took part in a competition for a sculpture of the new courthouse in Ústí nad Labem.

The design for a sculpture for the telecommunications centre in Holečkova Street in Smíchov already used artificial light from spotlights hidden behind circular, concave curved surfaces, which were to be switched on and off, thus creating light effects on the surface of the sculpture. Gradually, he begins to move towards dematerialisation, moving from sculptural objects using natural light to a total denial of volume and shape. His approach is increasingly minimalist, focused on the visual experience itself, devoid of symbolic or narrative content.

Together with other members of the Syntéza group, he participated in the scenography of theatre performances, such as the 1968 ballet Spiral at the Prague Music Theatre, which was created in collaboration with Vladislav Čáp (lighting direction), Stanislav Zippe (suspended object), Václav Kučera (composer) and František Pokorný (choreographer). Zippe's object (2 x 2 metres) was glued together from wooden slats, painted white, and its form changed during the performance. In the exhibition hall, he exhibited a light-kinetic sculpture, Transformation, consisting of four white squares placed on the floor, lit by lamps, in which he thematized artificial light in a significant way for the first time. The colour of the central light changed at regular intervals, while the remaining four light sources in the corners changed gradually, creating a light-kinetic movement. The sculpture was accompanied by Rudolf Komorous's independently composed piece Tombstone of Malevich.

In 1967-69, Luminescent Variations was created and first exhibited at the Music Theatre. In front of a black surface, into which pins with heads stained with fluorescent paint had been stuck, a spiral wire line ran from one edge of the frame to the other, running strongly out into the surrounding space and returning again. For the first time, ultraviolet radiation was used as illumination, under whose rays the dark area disappears and the actual luminous action, narrowed down to coloured points and lines, becomes visible. In 1969, Zippe, together with Vladislav Čáp, created a model of an artificial universe, a kind of utopian space free of gravity, for the Paris Youth Biennale. In a glass box they placed diagonal glass surfaces covered with lenses that mirrored each other and moved, thus relativising space and creating a sense of spatial confusion. In the summer of 1969, Zippe's first solo exhibition, Kinetic Objects, was held at the Charles Square Gallery, where he exhibited such works as his sculpture Transformation, Luminescent Variations, and drawings of artificial universes created by applying fluorescent paint to paper painted over with black latex. In his installation Spiral, he placed black mirrors in a darkened corner of a UV-lit room, stacked several balls coated with fluorescent paint, and placed a luminous wire circle in the middle of the space. A motor-driven rotating spiral was suspended from the ceiling, forming the dominant kinetic element of the installation.

Around 1973, darkened concrete spaces illuminated by ultraviolet light begin to appear with lines of light, covered in luminescent colours, suspended in space at different, often sharply angled angles. The visitor entering the space of these installations - Zippe called them Light Constructions - finds himself in darkness and ceases to be aware of the real spatial boundaries, as the only landmarks here are the luminous lines. The spatial confusion is accentuated by the fact that the lines often begin not at the corners or on the walls but in the middle of the space, thus significantly negating the spatial parameters of the original space and creating a new, virtual space. Zippe also created several designs for open outdoor spaces where the line was to be represented by a laser beam (e.g. Light Lines for Zlín, 1994). In the symposium Mutějovice (1983), he led a meandering line through one of the fields of a hop garden, creating one of the few works perceptible in light and from a spatial distance.

In the 1980s, the artist experimented with the computer, and since the 1990s he has been working more and more with electronic technologies, building on the simplicity of his earlier work and continuing to develop constructivist motifs. The projections, placed in darkened spaces, evoke an atmosphere that is similarly immersive to the earlier light-based spatial installations Josef Hlaváček aptly characterized Zippe's approach as "informatics abused for imaginative purposes." The work RGB - Amorphous Structure (2004) is a large-scale video projection consisting of an hour-long recording of the author's program, randomly generating slowly changing colour nebulae. The computer installation Unquiet Structures (2004) consists of a trio of author's programs that together form a visual whole-triptych. Each of the programs solves the same problem, but each time in a different colour (red, green, blue). The common problem is the creation and tracking of formations similar to wire cubes, thus creating a strange changing representation similar to living organisms. (Lenka Dolanová, 2005)

See also

Czech Republic#Computer_and_computer-aided_art