Jan Kubíček

From typefaces to a character

During the 60s, Kubíček worked simultaneously with a variety of contemporary trends. He did so distinctively and didn't ponder over his creations for long. By simplification and abstraction he quickly established his own creative platform.

In 1962-63, different typefaces began to appear in his work. Kubíček photographed structures of old walls and fragments of inscriptions on faded bulletin boards and hoardings, then integrated the fragments of text and individual letters into structured collages (often with destroyed or mashed paper, covered in lacquer glazing) or reliefs, and used them on paintings as well as in collections of works on paper—monotypes and graphics. Concomitantly he created a group of objects with assembled found elements, number tables, house numbers, etc.

Fonts and lettering initially acted as a link to the world of the city and the periphery. However, they soon became independent elements, and in 1964 Kubíček created smaller files, frottages and "boards" with isolated graphemes and geometric elements.

The next year, the first "hard edge" picture was born. Letters turned into visual shapes bereft of semantic meaning. The role and destiny among different letters is most fully realized by the letter "L". With this letter the artist enacted many surprising Constructivist performances over the years, assigning it different logical positions, which changed, became enjoined, etc.

Though Kubíček clearly ventured into different artistic landscapes, he didn't leave his story about urban folklore unfinished. Between the years 1965–1967 he completed a series of large paintings entitled “Signals and Neons”, which is connected to city lights and commercials, with letters reduced to simple characters. As a very young artist he was passionate about the night and the lingering moon over the city—now he returned to this youthful romantic theme from a new perspective. Kubíček's connection to the city gradually vanished, as he incorporated non-semantic graphic characters into the organization of his picture surface.