Cestmir Suska was born in 1952 in Prague, Czechoslovakia (as it was know then) and received his art education there at the Academy of Fine Arts. Since the 1980s he has played an active role in the contemporary avant-garde art scene for which Prague has become famous. He works as a theatrical designer, writer and performer as well as a sculptor. While the center of his artistic activity continues to be the Czech Republic where his work is in a number public and private collections, he is also very familiar with the U.S where he has extensively exhibited, taught, and worked. His American honors include a prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship awarded in 1995. Among several U.S. residencies is his sojourn at Sculpture Space in 1999.
Abstraction and figuration often coexist in Suska’s work. Solid and void animate each other while other contrasts further enrich the visual and textural experience. Crosses began with an old steel tank which originally stored gasoline. Suska then used a plasma cutter to shape openings in it inspired by the patterns of old lace. Thus a most delicate of elements transforms a paradigm of utilitarian and ordinary objects. As Suska notes, it is fitting that the piece was exhibited at the Birmingham Museum of Art in 2001 and soon afterward displayed at the Wade Sand and Gravel Company, also in Birmingham, AL.
Sculpture Space marked a significant shift of materials for Suska. After many years of working in metal, during his Utica residency in 1999, he returned to wood, inspired by a large walnut tree trunk as well as the freedom of the studio atmosphere. It is a place “where a person can give form to whatever occurs to him.” The works he created at Sculpture Space became the core of his exhibit later that year at the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC.