Jakub Hošek and his sister Anežka have been active for a long time as initiators of music and art activities on the Prague and Brno art scenes. In 2002 they put together the project, Indie Twins, for which they acted both as curators and DJs. Their work is also closely associated with the space A M 180, which combines the idea of a classic shop with alternative music and related instruments together with a gallery and a film club. Jakub Hošek is a graduate of the Vladimír Skrepl School of Painting at the Prague Academy of Arts. His paintings and applied graphic designs complement his lifestyle. One could say that his designs have the same fragile, and at the same time, sophisticated unsettled air as he, the artist himself, does. Hošek’s style is tied to the world of music posters, comic strips, record jackets (and their graphic design) as well as fashion. He integrates the texts of his favourite songs into his works (this is how his 2002 series „Chansons“ and also his exhaustive thesis work entitled It Takes a Million Years To Become Diamonds so Let’s Just Burn Like Coal Until the Sky’s Black came about). Or sometimes he reduces his paintings to individually-stylised textual expressions (New Truth). In other moments he combines the surreal details and observations of abstraction. While his older paintings and exhibits (for example, Casino, displayed in the NoD Gallery in 2001) drew upon the influence of the wild chaos in street-art, i.e. in the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat, today he combines seemingly expressive „calligraphy“ with perfectly cold „design“ technologies. He creates his images by covering the canvas with the help of complicated stencils. In recent times he has emphasised the material, objectual essence of his paintings by separating them on to several canvases or by portraying them with a third dimension. These paintings therefore often grow into murals or painted „boards“(Jam Band Death Cult).
Jakub Hošek and his Knife Play
The influence of subculture often identified in connection with Jakub Hošek´s work should not be sought in his choice of subject matter or means of expression but in the subversive way he uses them. Above all, Hošek has a peculiar technique that undermines traditional painterly methods. If painting is usually characterised by the unique communication of individual expression guaranteed by the immediate touch, then by his impersonalised use of cut-out stencils, Jakub Hošek deliberately gives this notion up. This is why his paintings can often be manufactured with the help of friends and assistants, and this is also why their author is open to joint realisations, their collective authorship fully declared. Using stencils over which individual planes of acrylic colours are gradually applied, Jakub Hošek achieves contours that are, in their hardness, completely unpainterly and very typical for his drawings. At the same time, this serves well to emphasise the consistently non-illusionistic quality of his pictures. The vacant, almost without exception monochromatically executed backgrounds, and the overall planarity do not allow the spectator´s gaze to penetrate into the virtual space beyond the painting. The pictures of Jakub Hošek do not refer to any other world but their own. Despite their quite unpainterly character, they paradoxically refer precisely to painting per se as to their most natural phenomenon.
This is evident in his two early paintings, Knife Play I and II (2001). The knives, depicted in two dimensions, indirectly refer to stencil cutting as their assumed source. Frequent representations of dismembered limbs and blood, as well as direct depiction of the cutter with replaceable blade on one of the author´s later paintings, underline the cutting theme. Depiction of an incision that violently reveals the internal nature of an object also appears in the Chansons cycle (2002) where Jakub Hošek, for the first time in a more distinctive manner, exploited lettering as an autonomous constituent of pictorial construction. The lettering is still executed in a planary way and is freely distributed in the top or the bottom part of the plane without coming into contact with the actual subject matter of the paintings, which are inspired by themes from book illustration to the world of comics.
The choice of dispassionate quotations from the lyrics of French songs serves to increase the calligraphic impact of the textual parts of the paintings. Jakub Hošek arrived at his typical sharply defined typeface in his monumental picture entitled It Takes a Million Years to Become Diamonds so Let’s Just Burn Like Coal Until the Sky’s Black (2004). The inscription not only penetrates the cloud in the top part of the painting but it also appears in the bottom part and covers one of the spatial elements of the left panel as well. On a theatrically conceived background, under the stage decoration of the clouds, a conglomerate of biomorphic forms stand out. The unbroken colour surfaces are intersected with spatial fragments depicted with the utmost attention to detail. Dominant among these are schematised birch tree trunks that connect the top with the bottom part of the pictorial surface, and similarly represented bones that stick out of mutilated and extremely abstracted figures.
Residual bodies also appear in a series of paintings from the period between
2005-2006, and together with architectonic fragments and calligraphic inscriptions they constitute the main elements of Hošek´s works of art. In addition, his motifs of dismembered limbs and building ruins mutually imply each other because both cases thematise a loss of organic unity substituted for by the autonomy of the individual elements.
In the same way the buildings disintegrate, the schizophrenic bodies decompose into their separate organs. Their only life function is to produce blood that continually spurts from them. The arm of an animal in the top plane of the The Sky’s the Ground, the Bombs are Plants, and We’re the Sun, Love painting (2005) tears the canvas of the picture but is itself hung quite mechanically on strings wound around an elbow bone that had been gnawed at. The fragmentation is further highlighted by the division of the composition into two independent panels that separate the arm from the hand, with its severed falling fingers. Together with the spasmodic scabrous sprouts in the bottom part of the painting, the animal arm creates a mechanical conglomerate of autonomous organs that are, in their futile desire to regain their lost unity, both feeding as well as destroying each other. The same can be said about the excerpts from literature and song lyrics the artist has used. Their fragmentary nature prevents the identification of the source of the quotations, and in now way simplifies the reading of the paintings because the texts used tend to broaden the spectrum of its meanings rather than narrow it down. The irreducible multitude of these excerpts is the same as the multitude of the detached organs that do not compose any organic body. In the most recent works of Jakub Hošek the marginally ornamented texts claim autonomy, leave the pictorial surface, and so condemn themselves to fleeting existence on the walls of the gallery. The pictures themselves crouch down in the installation, pushed aside towards the door or the corners of the gallery space, propped against the wall or lying abandoned on the floor. Even though their origin lies within the traditions of painting, these works are no longer a representation of the world in a state of disintegration so much as its most distinctive natural embodiment.
Cena Jindřicha Chalupeckého finále 2007 / Jindřich Chalupecký Award Final 2007, Klub Roxy, Praha
GA2LERIE (Vaňous Petr ed. ), vydal Kulturní týdeník A2, s.r.o. jako přílohu v roce 2007
P. Vaňous, Resetting/ Jiné cesty k věcnosti/ Alternative Ways To Objektivity (katalog výstavy), GHMP - Městská knihovna, 21. 12. 2007 - 23. 3. 2008, nestr., Praha 2008
Indie Twins /Jakub Hošek + Anežka Hošková/ profil časopis UMĚLEC 2003/3, str. 74+75
Jakub Hošek profil časopis PARS PRO TOTO 2003/3 – cena Start Point prezentace
Indie Twins profil DART 03/2004 str.5
Jakub Hošek katalog Prague Biennale 2 str.86+87
Jakub Hošek profil časopis Art&antique 2004/10
A.M. 180 galerie profil/ galerie měsíce časopis Art&antique 2005/05 str.81
Jakub Hošek+Indie twins profil+rozhovor časopis Živel 2005/26
Jeřábková Edith: Jakub Hošek (rubrika Galerie), A2 kulturní týdeník, 51/ 2006,