Jakub Švéda entered the current art scene around 2000 as a student at Jiří David’s atelier at the Prague Academy. His pictures from that time are already witness to a clear artistic voice, which he is still basically developing today. His work is characterised by various linguistic codes, which combine, confront and layer. One of them was derived from the digital imaging of the internal structure of the body by modern medicine, another referenced the world of contemporary design and visual communication and comprised various logotypes, pictograms, and short texts in typical advertising fonts. His pictures could be seen as a reflection of the ambivalent character of civilised products which are developed to improve the quality of our life, yet threaten us covertly or openly. In another cycle of drawings from this early period he used a purely abstract dictionary, associating energy and light flows surprisingly reminiscent of Karel Malich.
In his later pictures he begins to examine the significance of amorphous shapes in an extensive range of gestural splatters, drained blots of colours, wet stains or lightly smudged surfaces sprayed using airbrush. He determines the basic aesthetic tone of his work and alongside this he has a content level: through his organic character he represents nature in its multifaceted form, surrounded and overlapped by geometric, i.e. industrial structures. Semi-abstract symbols and inscriptions appear which often have something in common with warning signs (sometimes these inscriptions enter into the titles of pictures or cycles – BIO TECH, WARNING, EXIST) and create a feeling of unease or threat.
Jakub Švéda’s pictures are a creative reflection of today’s aggressive visual culture as well as being a manifestation of the scepticism within civilisation which is one of the important currents of contemporary philosophical discourse.
Jakub Švéda. Sweco. Katalog výstavy. Texty Ivan Neumann, Jiří David, Martin Dostál, Jakub Švéda. Praha: 2004.
Jakub Švéda. Exist. Katalog výstavy ve Galerii Woxart. Text Marcel Fišer. Praha: Woxart 2009.