essay about authorbibliographyartist's influences
Ex Czechoslovakia

Petr Štembera (1945, Pilsen) is one of the most notable Czech action artists. Based in Prague, he created interventions in the natural environment, body art and performance soirées documented on photographs with clear descriptions of locations and plots.

Starting in 1970, Štembera created several interventions in nature, including Velká louže (1970). Some of Štembera's other noted actions in nature deal with the relationship between the human body and a natural entity. These include Štěpování (1975) and Spaní na stomě (1975).

Štembera uses his body as an object and instrument. In the early 1970s, Štembera created some extreme body artworks, intense physical and psychological experiences he photo-documented. Štembera spent ten days in Paris without food, which allowed him to learn about physical and psychological extremes. He was practising yoga and had a tendency towards asceticism.

In Prague, Štembera was close to the artists Karel Miler and Jan Mlčoch. In the mid-seventies, Petr Štembera and several artist-friends began to organise "evening performances", performed in secret in different places for a few invited viewers. During these events, Štembera created some of his most dangerous and physically demanding actions, often using fire or acid. Some of the actions include Hašení (1975), Spojení (with Tom Marioni) (1975), Narcissus (1976), Lukostřelec (1977), 3 Prvky (1977), Třídílný výkon (1979).

He worked in the USA for a month in 1978 at the invitation of Chris Burden. He slowly halted his artistic activity in the late 1970s.