March 8 - April 14, 2013
Curator: Rachel Moore
Jan Tichy is an international contemporary artist working at the intersection of video, sculpture, architecture and photography.
For his solo exhibition in the West Gallery, Tichy's "Installation No. 6 (tubes)", sets a dramatic and ominous stage. The combination of sculpture and light - while aesthetically minimal - envelopes the viewer as s/he becomes entranced by the installation. The effect of the installation references urban landscape, architecture, and human activity as light pulses, crawls, and glows through paper tubes.
"installation no.6(tubes)" 2008, sculptural video installation
While aesthetically minimal, the combination of sculpture and light in "Installation No.6 (Tubes)" is conceptually and physically complex. Tichy's use of an upturned CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor transforms the monitor's intended audiovisual output into essentially a musical instrument and a projector. An object made for reproduction is now used to produce new content. The lines on the screen, originally generated by Tichy on the computer, become visual representations of what the viewers hear – Tichy is using the sounds the monitor produces even when it is on mute. The lines then act as light projections through the tall white cylinders that radiate rhythmically atop a dark and almost ominous ground. The effect references urban landscape, architecture, and human activity as light pulses, crawls, and glows through what look like buildings in a city.
The concept of transforming an object's use from reproduction to production is inspired by the text "Production-Reproduction" written in 1922 by Hungarian artist and theorist László Moholy-Nagy1. Jan Tichy, with his long history of influence by Moholy-Nagy, employs these theories using equipment that is part of our daily lives, such as television monitors and video projectors. In his other work, Tichy often uses a video projector to cast light upon architectural models, instead of its intended use to play movies. It is just this that captures Moholy-Nagy's vision – transforming reproduction tools into that which produce something new.
In the video "100 RAW", Jan Tichy again combines the use of image and sound, producing images we can hear. "100 RAW" represents the first 100 photographs that Tichy took upon arriving to Chicago from Tel Aviv. He imported the images into a sound program, thus transforming the visual to audio. In the final piece, he combines the audio and visual so that we simultaneously hear what we are seeing.
Both "100 RAW" and "Installation No. 6 (Tubes)" trace the influence of Moholy-Nagy through Tichy's investigation and exploration of specific tools and processes, eventually Tichy carves his own path and producing questions relevant to our time. These two works give insight to Tichy's artistic trajectory through two different objects – the photograph and the television. Physically his work is minimal and modernist while conceptually it references the history of photography and light, sometimes within the framework of specific locations with undertones of political reference.
1. Moholy-Nagy (1885-1946) was a Hungarian artist, theorist and designer, known for his teaching years at the Bauhaus in Germany (1923-1928) and later as director of the New Bauhaus in Chicago (which later became the Illinois Institute of Technology). Moholy-Nagy's use of light as a medium and his combination of art, technology, and design transformed the way we perceive and create work, by taking everyday objects intended to reproduce visual or audio content, and turning them into objects of production. In 1922 he wrote "Production-Reproduction" where he described his experiments with the phonograph – where he took a record and scratched it to produce another composition, thus altering a tool of his time used to reproduce sound to one that creates a new sound.
Jan Tichy is an internationally recognized artist. Born in Prague in 1974, he immigrated to Israel after discovering his Jewish heritage. It is there that he studied political science, then photography and sculpture before moving to Chicago to pursue an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he currently teaches. Tichy has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago; the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art; CCA Tel Aviv; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. His work has been included in exhibitions in Basel, Berlin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Jerusalem, Madrid, New York, Paris, Stockholm, Venice, and
Washington, D.C. among others. He was awarded the 2010 Nathan Gottesdiener Prize of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Jan Tichy is represented by Richard Gray Gallery in New York and Chicago.