Frantisek Lesak
František Lesák, Waldlandschaft vorne; Waldlandschaft hinten, 2014

František Lesák

Vermutung und Wirklichkeit

July 2 – May 9, 2021

The conceptual draftsman and sculptor František Lesák’s work is dedicated to describing and understanding the world of objects and the associated questions of perception. Creating systems of spatial reference, exploring alternating perspectives, surveying and mapping selected sceneries, and toying with shifts of scale are key elements of his creative toolset. Undertaking a kind of basic research, systematically planned cycles of works examine things and their relation to the real space around them as well as the space of media.


One recurrent theme in Lesák’s works is the multiplicity of aspects that an object presents to the viewer. Striving to record all its dimensions and the interplay between surface and form, he applies himself to the task of representing motifs he finds in nature, such as a formation of erratic granite boulders, but also in classics of art history. In Morgen-Mittag-Abend (Morning-Midday-Evening), for example, a seminal cycle from the early 1990s, he grappled with Claude Monet’s painting Haystack at Sunset (1889) and the momentary and subjective quality of the sensory perception that manifests itself in it. As part of his comprehensive and methodical inquiry into the reality of the haystacks in the picture, he also reconstructed the shadowed areas of the original that face away from the beholder.

A defining characteristic of Lesák’s art is the combination of meticulous scientific precision with a keen awareness of the limitations of his own perceptions, illustrating the profound ambivalence of mechanical accuracy. Insistently probing the interaction between the mind’s apprehension of the world and its description, the artist ultimately gestures toward the looming question of the nature of reality.

Lesák’s exhibition at the Secession showcases several bodies of work from recent years, including the new Vermutung und Wirklichkeit (Supposition and Reality), a cycle of thirty-six pairs of pictures in which the attempt to capture different postures of his left hand sustains an investigation into the complex interplay between tactile and visual perception.

František Lesák was born in Prague in 1943 and lives in Vienna and Neu-Nagelberg, Lower Austria.