Jan Knap initially studied architecture at the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague. Following his emigration to Germany, he went on to study painting with Gerhard Richter at the Düsseldorf Arts Academy (1970–1972). He spent a portion of the 1970s in the USA. The activities of Group Normal, which he founded in 1979 alongside Milan Kunc and Peter Angermann, rank among the small number of contributions made by Czech artists to postmodern art. After a short stay in a Buddhist monastery, Knap went on to study theology in Rome (1982–1984), subsequently working in Cologne (1984–1989) and Modena (1989–1992). He returned to the Czech Republic in the 1990s. He currently lives and works in Planá.