Poet, artist, essayist and performer. He was awarded the Jaroslav Seifert Award (2015). He was born in Prague on 30 August 1942. He has been published in Czech, Latin, English and German.
Brikcius completed his secondary-school education in 1959, after which he had several jobs as a manual labourer – he worked as a bricklayer, in a paper works and as an electric truck driver at a railway station. From 1967-68 he worked closely with Jindřich Chalupecký, the curator of the Špála Gallery. During the period of political freedom he studied philosophy and sociology at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts, followed by two years of philosophy study in London. He returned to Czechoslovakia in 1970 and taught English, was a freelance artist and organised happenings and performances. He was imprisoned for disparaging the USSR, when he and Ivan Magor Jirous, amongst others, sang a song with the lyrics “Send the Russian murderers to hell where they belong” which was overheard by a retired member of the secret police. He was a signatory of Charter 77 and emigrated to Austria in 1980. He completed his doctorate in philosophy in London. Today he lives alternately between Prague and Vienna.
He began his performances in the 1960s and 70s and one of his first happenings was a reconstruction of Zeno’s aphorism of Achilles and the Tortoise at Prague Castle in front of the Queen Anne summerhouse. The secret police were normally in close proximity. He made his literary debut in 1979 with the poetry collection Nuda in cactum (Nude on a Cactus) and the collection Circum venit baculum (He Goes Around on Foot), poems written in Latin and circulated underground. Whilst Pavel Šrut translated the first collection into Czech, for the second collection Šrut’s own poems are alongside Brikcius’s, who this time translated them into Latin. Sergej Machonin said that he is a “maniac for oddities” – his work is poised between “nonsense poetry and philosophical epigrams” as was noted by the expert in Czech studies, Přemysl Blažíček.
1992 saw the publication of Brikcius’s Sebraný spis (Collected Works), then a proper collection of his works with additional texts was published in 2012 by the publishers Větrné mlýny entitled A tělo se stalo slovem (And the Body Became the Word). The anthology contains the collection Cadus rotundus (The Round Cask), which was first published in 1993 with the author again collaborating with Pavel Šrut, Vyložené umělce (Interpreted Absolute Artists, 1991), as well as Útěchu z mystifikace (Comfort from Hoaxing, 1995). Eugeniální verše (Eugenial Verse) was published in 2000, Sny Eugena Brikciuse (The Dreams of Eugen Brikcius) came out two years later and in 2003 also Spanilá jízda a jiné krásné prózy (The Charming Journey and Other Beautiful Prose). This was followed by the collection Rozmarné volání (The Whimsical Call, 2005), Z milosti těla (By the Body’s Grace, 2008), a collection of poetry named after the wine cellar Mesón El Centro (2011) in Prague’s Little Quarter, and the love poems Spouštění s milou (Starting with a Loved One). “Admirers of Eugen’s poetry, who are used to his ingenious pieces with the effect of a storm in a teacup, or dribbling with rhymes and meanings, will not be disappointed by his latest book,” wrote Josef Mlejnek in a review. This book was followed by the collection Platný příběh (A Valid Story, 2012) and the author’s memoirs, Můj nejlepší z možných životů (The Best of My Possible Lives, 2012). The annotation states that, “His life is his work. His work is his life. He knocks down old myths so that he might set up a new myth in their place – the self-myth. And he does this with his unmistakable wit and play, refinement as well as intensity.”
However, the publication of Brikcius’s memoirs and collected works does not mean he has finished working. In 2014 he added the book Jen se mi neprobuď ze sna (Just Do Not Wake From My Dream, 2014). And he also continues his performance projects – he organises annual Literary Trips with his wife Zuzana which follow in the footsteps of Czech writers.