Vladimír Boudník (1924–1968) was a Czech graphic artist and painter, a representative of "active" and "structural" graphics and the founder of his own artistic style – explosionalism.
The beginnings of explosionalism, the principles of which he wrote as early as 1949 in the Manifests of Explosionism, were interconnected by his literary and artistic activities. Boudník conceived a number of other manifestos and proclamations, wrote poems, critiques, reflections and small prose for his own samizdat edition Explosionalismus, kept diaries and extensive correspondence. The artistic realizations at that time had a rather accompanying character. Therefore, more than small sketches, miniature graphics, decals and photograms, this period of the first half of the 1950s characterized his actions in the streets of Prague, during which Boudník demonstrated the "all-powerful power" of art on the realities of peeling walls. The object of illustrative euphoric proclamations were passers-by who embodied "humanity" to him; he appealed in them to the potential of the imagination and creative abilities of each person in order to participate in the creative and thus positive transformation of human society. Thanks to his unusual creative invention and experimental artistic methods, Boudník, more or less intuitively, formulated some fundamental considerations that were then at the center of changes in world painting, especially European Tachism and American action painting. With his street explosionist events in the years 1949–1956, Boudník basically became a kind of Czech "pioneer" of happenings.
Explosionalism became the core of Boudník's entire work; on the basis of it, he carried out his graphic experiments in the following eighteen years. In 1954 he created unique active graphics. The essence was not a mechanical imprint, but a spontaneous creative gesture. The emotional mechanical destruction of the matrix with the help of various material fragments of metal workshop waste has thus basically become an absolutization of physical action in the creative process. This was followed in 1957 by an experiment with the monotype technique, the gestural potential of which, as a graphic artist, enabled him to express himself as a painter. Using structural technology, which Boudník discovered in 1959, he created an original version of "art in its raw state", later known as textural painting. He based it on a plastic relief of organic shapes in the form of graphic assemblage. The material structure of the graphics thus acquired the qualities of autonomous sculptural relief. Boudník supplemented the structures with magnetic graphics in 1965. The free collection of Derealizations from 1961–1962, initiated by a friend, poet and artist Jiří Kolář, consists of color pages of an anatomical atlas, overprinted with matrices of structural or active graphics. Boudník achieved the resulting visual effect of graphic traps by deliberately confronting abstract material structures with a realistically executed anatomy of the human body.
The principles of active graphics were again updated by Boudník in the lettric drypoints of Letters from the mid-1960s, reminiscent of the Decrees of Jiří Balcar from 1959–1960, which he often combined with relief structures or a monotype. He deliberately obscured their communication by inverting the texts at the final print of the plate. In 1965, he realized a set of magnetic graphics, which expanded the expressive possibilities of existing structures. Their relief consisted of steel chips, which Boudník "organized" in the area using magnets into abstract clusters.
The last experiment was symmetric structural graphics on the topic of variations on Rorschach tests (since 1966), inspired by the well-known Rorschach psychiatric method of the principle of ten tables, based on the projection of associations into abstract spots, which served for professional expertise. Boudník used the principle of symmetry by folding the matrix along the central axis. The irregular spots created by the imprint associated ghostly organic forms of insects and the animal world.
Boudník's work closed prematurely with his death in 1968. However, by his intellectual and creative originality, Boudník became such a key figure that he directed one of the paths of Czech post-war abstraction.