Vladimír Boudník was sent to a forced labor camp in Germany during World War II. After the war he studied printmaking in Prague from 1945 to 1949, and subsequently evolved into an influential figure in Czech postwar art. From the late 1940s to the late 1950s he became a pioneer of happenings, and in the 1960s he created work that involved the participation of psychiatric patients. He became the founder and major representative of Explosionism and formulated the movement’s principles in a number of manifestos. During the 1950s and ’60s he invented experimental printing techniques inspired by his experiences working in different factories during and after the war. For his ‘active prints,’ which he began in 1954, he treated Duralumin sheets with industrial tools and materials (such as nails, pieces of metal or blades of lathes), or burned them with oxyacetylene. His ‘structural prints’ (begun in 1959) were created through the fixation of materials like sand, pieces of fabric and emery paper to the plate. With these innovations Boudník realized powerful compositions that he produced in different colors and limited numbers. He befriended the author Bohumil Hrabal (1914–1997) while working together at an ironworks and appears as a character in several of Hrabal’s novels.