Jiří Surůvka (b. 1961, Ostrava) is Czech performance artist, dada body artist, painter, photographer, curator, resident and external academic teacher and “a part-time disabled pensioner”.
Surůvka graduated from the Philosophical Faculty of the Ostrava University, majoring in Czech and arts. He started working in the area of performance art in 1988, and in the 1990s he became both one of the most important performance artists in the Czech republic and a recognisable figure in the European performance art field.
A man of many skills, Surůvka founded the performance group Vorkapelle Lozinski with P. Lysacek. He is the leader and writer of performance cabaret Návrat mistrů zábavy. He is a member of the art group Frantisek Lozinski, o.p.s. with P. Lysacek and F. Kowolowski. He also works as a painter and new media artist. Today he is Professor of New Media class in the Faculty of Art, Ostrava University. He represented the Czech Republic at the Venice Biennial in 2002. Surůvka’s work has been presented and exhibited all over Europe and also in the United States.
With his many sides and skills, Surůvka is open to any form of artistic communication. Sometimes he uses and goes inside characters like Batman and Policeman. The content of his work is mostly ironical or self-ironical with plenty of black humour. Like its author, it is whimsical, demanding and unpredictable. Yet it also contains serious moral messages and is socially engaged. Its background lies in Surůvka’s personal understanding of the bygone theatre of the absurd of Eastern European “real socialism” and of the equally preposterous contemporary “community of values” of late capitalism.