This extraordinary talent of the Czech painting scene was born in 1976 in the city of Karviná. After graduating from the Secondary School of Applied Arts in Ostrava, he joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, attending the studio of visual communication lead by professor Jiří David and later the studio of intermedia work lead by professor Milan Knížák. Together with his coursemates Vilém Kabzan, David Adamec, František Matoušek and Micl, he founded the Luxsus group. Špaňhel’s art was indisputably influenced by the world-renowned artist Jiří Georg Dokoupil with whom he also shared a studio on Wenceslas Square in Prague for a period of time. Aside from Prague, Špaňhel was also active in Berlin, where he exhibited at the Bleibtreu Galerie and where he also created a series of paintings in reminiscence of Bohuslav Reynek.
Jakub Špaňhel paints in cycles, which are usually dedicated to one theme. His existing works can be divided into two markedly distinct modes, connected by common features, such as a tendency towards a monochromatic spectrum and formal reduction or a primary emphasis on painting skills. The paintings of the first group are based on the depiction of a particular motif in the painter’s typical gestural style. In addition to the renowned cycle of temple interiors, which constituted his final graduation project, this group also includes a series of nudes, chandeliers, flowers, landscapes, portraits or gas stations and central bank buildings in different countries. He often works on large formats, using photographs or reproductions of paintings as models. The second group of paintings has a minimalist-serial character of mechanically repeated simple elements applied to the canvas utilising paint rollers with patterns including flower pots, crosses, beer glasses, hens, sailboats, ballet dancers, Picasso’s goat, Saint John of Nepomuk or the Chimera.
He participated in most important painting exhibitions of his generation, e.g., Perfect Tense in the Prague Castle Riding School, Berlín – Praha [Berlin – Prague] in the Mánes Gallery; Současná mladá malba [Contemporary young painting] at the Wannieck Gallery in Brno; Art from The Heart at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, China; Ein Tanz at Hangar-7 in Salzburg, Austria, Rembrandt in Cologne. Of his most important solo exhibitions we mention, among others, the ones held at the Trade Fair Palace of the National Gallery in Prague, the Municipal Library – Prague City Gallery, the Frameless Gallery in London, Situation 74 at the Bleibtreu Galerie in Berlin, Jakub Špaňhel at the Adam Gallery in Brno or Obrazy [Paintings] at the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava – House of Arts, Ostrava.
His works are included in public collections in the National Gallery in Prague, the Eastern Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice, the Klatovy / Klenová Gallery, the Felix Jenewein Gallery in Kutná Hora, the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region, the Gallery of Fine Arts in Cheb, the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava, the Zlín Gallery and of course in many private collections. His paintings hang not only in Europe but also in China, Dubai and America. The altar painting and fused glass windows in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Ostrava-Zábřeh could be counted among his most important pieces.