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

Jerry Saltz Critiques Refik Anadol

The clash between critic Jerry Saltz and digital media artist Refik Anadol has re-ignited after Saltz’s recent remarks: “Anadol’s mind-numbing multi-million-dollar spectacle is a house of cards and hall of mirrors. Momentary diverting gimmick art. Take away the music and it’s just a banal screensaver.” Anadol’s “Unsupervised,” a 24-foot-tall screen-based piece, has found its permanent residence within the hallowed walls

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The Met Welcomes Halilaj, Lee Bul, and Tong Yang-Tze

The Metropolitan Museum of Art unveils its 2024 commissions for the rooftop, facade, and Great Hall, featuring Petrit Halilaj’s poignant Balkan odyssey, Lee Bul’s cybernetic marvels, and the venerable Tong Yang-Tze’s calligraphic symphony. Kosovo-born artist Petrit Halilaj leads the prestigious trio, bringing forth a sculptural narrative that delves into the harrowing experiences of the Balkans’ 1990s conflict. His poignant installation

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Judy Chicago’s Retrospective at the New Museum

Judy Chicago: Herstory, the New Museum’s retrospective, offers a comprehensive journey through the artist’s remarkable six-decade career. Best known for her groundbreaking work, “The Dinner Party,” a sprawling tribute to influential women, Chicago dedicated her career to triumphing over sexism and feminizing the landscape. Judy Chicago: Herstory (installation view). All photos by Zarastro Art. The exhibition takes the audience through

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Banksy Exposed? Interview Resurfaces, Adding New Layers to the Mystery

In a surprising twist, a recently uncovered 2003 BBC interview hints at Banksy’s identity, adding a new layer to the enigma of the elusive street artist. Is this Banksy’s true first name or another clever facet of his elaborate persona? Since the emergence of Banksy on the street art scene in the early 2000s, the mystery surrounding the artist’s identity

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Peter Doig Paintings | Pond Life (1993)

Peter Doig Paintings: A Journey Through Memory, Context, and Materiality

Peter Doig’s vision lies in his adeptness at navigating memory, context, and materiality. Peter Doig paintings transcend mere depictions of landscapes; they serve as gateways to explore the labyrinth of human memory. Through his work, the artist invites viewers to rekindle their own memories and emotions associated with places and experiences. Doig’s deliberate use of context enhances his artwork’s depth

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George Baselitz’s Monumental Linocuts Redefine Desire in London

In a bold exhibition in London, Georg Baselitz reimagines 19th-century erotic lithographs as monumental linocuts. Baselitz, known for his penchant for outrage, turns the images upside down, infusing them with both technical brilliance and conceptual wit. Belle Haleine not only celebrates Baselitz’s 85th birthday but also underscores his ability to triumph over provocative subject matter. The linocuts embody Baselitz’s belief

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