For the occasion of the Bauhaus Centennial, Chicago based artist and educator Jan Tichy has developed a solo exhibition for Galerie Kornfeld and organized a group exhibition for the project space 68projects across the street. Both exhibitions function as one project and are a continuation of previous engagements with the history of Bauhaus.
In his text Social Formalism (2017) Tichy describes his works to exist at intersections where forms collide with their circumstances. Social formalism could be described as a socially conscious artistic practice which uses visually formalistic language. The artist often uses archive-based content to link historical layers and values to contemporary issues. With these practices he created in 2016 the exhibition Weight of Glass at Galerie Kornfeld, mirroring the escape of Lucia Moholy from Berlin in 1933 and the subsequent loss of her work to the fate of today’s migrants. Installation no.30 (Lucia) is on display at Akademie der Künste as a part of the Bauhaus Centennial opening festival.
The exhibition Thin Lines is a contemplation on a contemporary social space resonating with local century old ideas and beliefs. Our worlds, like our palms, are filled with thin lines. A line implicates a meaning. A thin line questions the possibility of a balance. Line divides a space.
One of the critical questions about a division of a plane comes from the theory on a decomposition of a plane, the research into how shapes form two-dimensional space, that was formulated in Berlin exactly a century ago by Karl Reinhardt, the mathematician who found the first five types of pentagon that can multiply itself into a single plane. On Decomposition of a Plane is a suite of acrylic screen prints that uses the tessellation of pentagons to think about social order. Fifteen prints are accompanied by two single channel videos bringing human migration into that order.
The exhibition features an original print of a palm of László Moholy-Nagy made in the spring of 1926 as a part of a large group of palm prints of Bauhaus Dessau professors and students meant for spiritual palm reading. The rest of the prints and more objects related to the Bauhaus spirituality will be part of the exhibition Bauhaus Fingerprints at Kunsthalle Osnabrück later this year.
Furthermore,Thin Lines brings together century old spiritual and scientific materials and ideas with contemporary work in various light-based media, allowing them to collide with our current social and political reality.
Tichy’s practice has been influenced by the pedagogy of László Moholy-Nagy developed at the New Bauhaus in Chicago. Education as a creative dialogue between students and instructors was a crucial element to it and Tichy has been developing this practice over the last decade at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Chicago Grid brings together artists and educators that previously collaborated with Tichy, coming from both sides of the educational interchange. The exhibition is questioning the grid itself in its many forms and meanings, a nod to the Berlin Bauhauslers fascinated by the Chicago street grid.
The artists in this exhibition include: Faheem Majeed, Alfonso and Gillion Carrara, Kate Conlon and Boyang Hou, Shawn Decker, Frances Lightbound, David Rueter and Marissa Lee Benedict, and Helen Maria Nugent.
Jan Tichy works at the intersection of video, sculpture, architecture, and photography and his conceptual work is socially and politically engaged. Born in Prague in 1974, Tichy studied art in Israel before earning his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is now Associate Professor at the Department of Photography and the Department of Art & Technology Studies. Tichy has had solo exhibitions at the MCA Chicago; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; CCA Tel Aviv; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Chicago Cultural Center among others. His works are included in public collections of MoMA in New York and Israel Museum in Jerusalem among others. In 2011, he created Project Cabrini Green, a community-based art project that illuminated with spoken word the last high rise building of the Cabrini Green housing projects in Chicago during its month-long demolition. In 2014 Tichy started to work on a long-term, NEA supported, community project in Gary, IN – the Heat Light Water cultural platform. Beyond Streaming: a sound mural for Flint at the Broad Museum in Michigan in 2017 brought teens from Flint and Lansing to share their experience of the ongoing water crisis. In 2018 Tichy has been one of the inaugural artists for Art on theMART and his work Artes in Horto: Seven Gardens for Chicago include among others the projection of Moholy-Nagy flower photograms.