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Jul 14, 2020 - Aug 31, 2020

The Mysterious Inner World of Josef Bavor

At the time of "convalescence", when Czech society is recovering from a pandemic and cultural life is starting again, we are pleased to bring an interview with an artist that uniquely connects visual art and the world of medicine in his life. Josef Bavor is a painter, anatomical illustrator and curator of exhibitions at the Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Králové, the medical theme infuses his work on many levels. Josef Bavor's work sensitively examines human being and the broad spectrum of existence. He illustrated more than a hundred of professional medical publications that the medics use to study the human body. In his art practice, he does not leave the word of anatomy despite the fact that he devotes himself to abstraction. His paintings reflect natural forms as if from within, in a unique way that escapes descriptiveness and at the same time suggests a connection between the microcosm of the human psyche and the macrocosm. Josef Bavor talks about the themes of his paintings in an exclusive interview with Marek Milde.






“the true miracle of life is beneath the surface”

Josef Bavor, Photo: Miloš Vojíř 


Marek Milde: You illustrated many professional medical books with depictions of the human body, while in your independent art practice you devote yourself to abstraction. In your paintings, you often use aesthetics closely relating to natural forms and anatomy. Can you tell us how the medical illustration inspires the creation of your images?

Josef Bavor: The morphological knowledge of the human body encourages meditation about the universal principles of life and reflections of some higher meaning and order to which all living things are subject to. The principles of creation are the same: man as a part of nature, the universe - the universe and nature in man. Microcosm in the macrocosm, the universe of stars, and the universe of cells.

Tribute to Leonardo da Vinci (1992), oil on canvas


MM: Your images dematerialize the physical body and dissolve recognizable forms, the view that you offer is as if from within, from the world of the subconscious. How do you create your aesthetics leanguage, do you follow specific phenomena or natural patterns?

JB: We are used to perceiving nature as a surface: the landscape, the trees, the human body. Few realize that we see a small part of it, that the true miracle of life is beneath the surface. It is there where the life-giving power of organisms pulsates in the branches and roots, blood vessels, and nerves. A look into the microscope reveals unexpected connections. Leonardo da Vinci already knew that shapes, basic compositional elements, are repeated in nature. Our body, all the nature around us, arise according to the same principle and are subject to the same laws of growth and extinction. Hope of life: a seed germinating in the soil, an embryo hidden in the mother's womb. The limitation of the individual and infinity of universal being…

From the morphology of nature (1989), oil on canvas 

Inside (2000), oil on canvas and hardboard


MM: The illustrations you make are used by medics to study the physical body so that they can heal. It is interesting that your paintings, in turn, are aimed at the human psyche and represent situations in which there is a certain harmony. Both approaches work with the essence of human existence, could you tell us about your interest in this topic, do you believe that art and painting can have a therapeutic effect on a person?

JB: My paintings are a distinctive reflection on general philosophical questions. The spiritual realm of our lives evokes questions: what if the connection between the human psyche and the Universe is stronger than it seems? Where does creativity arise (inspiration of an idea, creative imagination in science, and art)? The human brain is a mysterious inner world for me. If art, including paintings, inspires similar reflections, I think it can also work therapeutically.

Between Heaven and Earth (2005) 

To the Light (2008)

Microcosm (2011)



Prof. MUDr. Josef Špaček, DrSc. in the monograph about Josef Bavor:

"Josef Bavor's painting adorns the wall of my room and is called "Nest". I find everything in it. The whole universe, living as part of the inanimate, everything from the genes in the nucleus of the cell, through the germ of life, the nest of home and the struggle for survival to the depths of distant spaces. In this image I find myself and my place in the cosmos"


Spirála života, smrti a naděje v obrazech Josefa Bavora, Petr Kmošek, Reta CZ 2015


Josef Bavor (born 1944) is an artist and educator. He worked as an anatomical painter at the Medical Faculty of Charles University in Hradec Králové. He illustrated more than a hundred professional publications and textbooks ("Propaedeutics of Internal Medicine", "Aesthetic Surgery", series "Head Surgery"). He worked externally as a teacher at the Faculty of Education, University of Hradec Králové. He has so presented his paintings inspired by the morphology of the human body in relation to the microworld of nature in forty solo exhibitions icluding at the Karolinum in Prague, Umělecká beseda in Bratislava, The cloister of the U Panny Marie Sněžné in Prague, Na Hradě Gallery, Klicper Theater, Hradec Králové Philharmonic and at dozens of group exhibitions at home and abroad. He is the curator of exhibitions at the Faculty of Medicine and in the Na Hradě Gallery in Hradec Králové. He graduated from the V. Hollar Secondary Vocational School of Art in Prague, and the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague in the field of art education. Publications includes a monography "The Spiral of Life, Death, and Hope in Josef Bavor's Paintings" about his life and art written by Petr Kmošek. He lives with his family in Hradec Králové.



Photo: Miloš Vojíř 


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From: Jul 14, 2020
To: Aug 31, 2020


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