Jiri Georg Dokoupil
Germany, 1954
In 1969 Dokoupil fled with his family to the former Federal German Republic. After embarking on various university degree courses in Cologne, all of which he left unfinished, he moved to New York. There he studied for a year at Cooper Union, with Hans Haacke. Back in Cologne, he decided to give up art, but shortly afterwards Walter Dahn persuaded him to change his mind. In 1980 he joined the ephemeral group of artists called Mühlheimer Freiheit, who proposed an intensely subjective art, loaded with provocation, not unconnected with punk culture, which had spread all over Europe at the time. Of all the artists in the group, he was particularly close to Dahn, with whom he did a large number of works in the early eighties. At that time his work was presented as part of the Neue Wilde movement. Dokoupil, who has always aimed to do "conceptual art by other means", shows an overt lack of interest in maintaining a particular style; in his work, according to some critics, we can find up forty-nine different styles which become a compendium of all the stereotypes used in the history of visual communication. That dizzying variety is no obstacle to detecting a series of constant concerns, focused above all on a continuous attitude of ironic questioning of reality. Around 1987 a change occurred in his work; his strategy moved towards playing less with recognisable symbols and allowing greater freedom for the spectator's perception in works whose interpretation is far more ambiguous.
Ferran Barenblit