Just a few years ago Jan Šerých’s paintings were mainly about the illusion of the canvas, commenting on the hardware of contemporary mass culture. By hardware the artist means various buttons, by which the cultural supply is governed. Currently Šerých is interested more in the programme itself, i.e. the software of contemporary culture. Programmes are created with the help of a language, commands, passwords. Šerých indicates that all the individual variations of the current cultural supply (offering) develop from the same basis or foundation. It is only that they are manipulated in various combinatory ways. A basic example is perhaps a „classic“: BLACK SABBATH.
Through transposition or removal of certain unnecessary notes you get ABBA. And the notes can obviously be combined in a different way. Passwords work as launch mechanisms for associations. In the current cultural atmosphere we expect that behind most notes played there are references to some cultural layer (business/commerce, fashion, etc.). Notes function like logos, which are the tips of the iceberg. Behind the logo the context that makes either conspirators or rebels surface. Šerých perceives contemporary reality as a landscape of notes/signs and references. Sometimes he replaces full passages with slogans/passwords or abbreviations. The shortened version of the password/slogan sounds even more conspiratorial and informed. Take for example just the letters BS (BLACK SABBATH). Šerých stylises the letters so that they can also be read as 85. This ambiguity increases the taste for success in the cases of informed persons, those who are able to „read properly.“ Sometimes even an informed person fails. The artist sets up another note/sign variation, i.e. BL or BLA. Such passwords differ in no way from common methods of communication in contemporary advanced culture and despite this we are not successful in decoding them. In this way the artist comments on contemporary cultural coding and exposes it as being, to a large degree, empty. At any time there can be a breakdown or mix-up of codes, i.e. due to computer viruses. The fact that the artist primarily examines the current means of coding our cultural supply does, of course, have an influence on the „form“ of his creative expression. We already mentioned his deviation from illusionism. Letters are simply the canvas, stickers. Their framework is indifferent space. If Šerých were to explore a more complicated dimension than the canvas, then it would be that of screens. The sources of the artist’s concepts are two-fold: markers and computers. Both represent basic contemporary media. Sketch concepts are carried out by means of a broad trace of the marker, through geometrically-organised lines.
The broad „highlighter“ is not very opaque and thus when lines cross, a new colour and spatial effect occurs. Drawings/sketches are rather schemes, for here the supporting element is lines and not the surface/canvas. The artist’s drawings are evidently not aesthetic. The artist makes sketches for his images in a computer graphics medium. This does not concern complicated finesses in the sense of advanced illusionary graphics for computer games and other visualisations, but rather the basic possibilities offered by the programme and the nature of the machine. The artist uses a stencil to transfer his computer-created and computer-influenced compositions onto the canvas. The stencil ensures the „objectiveness“ of the transfer; a hand-made effort is a „subjective“ deviation. A subjective input implies some sort of friendship between man and the machine, an entry into communication with artificial intelligence. The computer is a partner in the dialogue. Šerých thus is inspired by the contemporary form of communication, in which the means has become the end. He moves about in a territory of abstract marking, using newer and newer codes. The endless combination and generation of passwords from a common base indicates the superficiality of the coding and marking space. However, this is one of the most attractive games of the contemporary age: so why not play along too.