Jan Tichy

Portals of Form

Through December 1, 2023

Even the most basic form or unremarkable line possesses the capacity to contain hidden knowledge. Within these shapes and gestures lie clues to the ideas and cultural context from which the artwork emerged. Despite numerous endeavors throughout history, artists and historians have come to acknowledge the challenge of separating an artwork from the circumstances surrounding its creation.

It is at the intersection of aesthetics and the act of creation that artist Jan Tichy reexamines the concept of form, incorporating the surrounding time, environment, and social structures. Through his minimalist perspective, he allows the world to fade away, enabling the subject, the narrative, and the emotions of his subjects to take center stage.

Exhibition Playlist

Jan Tichy's diverse artistic practice offers intimate glimpses through captivating, abstract, and minimalist approaches. His engaging simplicity unveils a connection to a place or time that cuts through the chaotic nature of our present day.

The artist's unique approach embodies a methodology he refers to as Social Formalism. He repositions the lineage of formalism that dates back to the 19th century, where artists transformed subjects into their fundamental formal elements. Through his exploration of light, architecture, and objects, Tichy distills the underlying social, political, and cultural shifts related to specific concerns.

About the Artist

Contemporary artist Jan Tichy (b. 1974) investigates the intersection of video, sculpture, architecture, and photography. Tichy, who was born in Prague and now calls Chicago home, received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago after studying in Israel. His works have been shown at renowned institutions all over the world and have been included in prestigious collections including the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Career Highlights

Major Solo & Group Shows

Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago)
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Kunsthalle Osnabrueck (Germany)
The Broad Museum (Michigan)
Richard Gray Gallery (Chicago)
Fridman Gallery (New York)

Institutional Collections

Museum of Modern Art (New York)
Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago)
Israel Museum (Jerusalem)
Magasin 3 (Stockholm)


Art in America
Aesthetics of Terror
Chicago Makes Modern
After Architecture


Memory and History
Light and Space
Perception and Experience



Portals of Form

Within this collection, viewers encounter photograms and etchings that modulate light to reveal the energy of various sites and architectural structures. His photographs present unexpected juxtapositions of real-life situations, resulting in unforeseen forms.

A series of screen prints showcase his ability to reduce subjects into intense mathematical geometries. Conversely, Tichy's cyanotypes whimsically explore the relationship between the natural world and its political ground through an examination of materiality, shape, and shadow.


A photogram is a camera-less photographic image created by placing objects onto light-sensitive material and exposing it to light.


The cyanotype is a photosensitive printing process that reacts to near ultraviolet and blue light (300 nm to 400 nm), known as UVA radiation.

Screen Prints

Screen printing involves using a mesh to apply ink onto a substrate, except in areas where a blocking stencil has made the surface impermeable to the ink.


Photogravure involves etching an image into a copper plate using light and chemicals, based on a photograph or negative. The resulting image is then printed on paper with ink.

Tichy's two-dimensional images expose the underlying narratives of light and darkness within our environments, capturing the contrast between the industrial and the natural, as well as the tension between the public and the private.

These abstracted images are complemented by figurative video works created using the artist's signature Expanded Moment technique, which explores the temporal aspect of various locations. By capturing genuine people and moments in unexpected isolated compositions, Tichy highlights the essence of the human condition.


Jan Tichy's photographs present unexpected juxtapositions of real-life situations, resulting in unforeseen forms.

Expanded Moments

Tichy's signature Expanded Moment approach captures people in public spaces, presenting them in an extended timeframe through single-shot videos. These unique perspectives challenge traditional norms of outsider observations.

View all works by Jan Tichy

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