Jan Fabián: Statementmaking

{~ '2022-06-29 00:00:00' | amDateFormat: 'D/M' ~}–{~ '2022-09-03 00:00:00' | amDateFormat: 'D/M/Y' ~}

The exhibition by the conceptual artist, architect, and builder Jan Fabián introduces us to unexpected possibilities in architectural practice and unusual approaches to thinking, designing, creating. Throughout the exhibition, we encounter problems of the urban environment, the need for the slow abandonment of standard forms, or confrontations with ingrained social-aesthetic ‘stigmas’.

Jan Fabián, in his installations, often works with public spaces, urban environments, or the sustainability of used materials and construction methods. Many of his installations assume the form of active interventions. In addition to his creative projects and design proposals, Jan Fabián is also active as a practicing architect, designing and realising interior reconstructions, new structures, and adaptations of garden objects, weekend cottages, or private houses. His architecture spans the entire range from design to completed realisation, in which both have equal importance and mutually influence each other. Even at the design stage, a significant role is played by the integration of original, reused, or discarded materials. Sustainability is for him no mere proclamation: it comes naturally to him and fully matches his creative need to realise all designs down to the smallest detail in person.

Abandoning Standard Forms
While the architecture of Jan Fabián retains its clear aesthetic form, his independent projects increasingly proceed in the opposite way: as if he could not avoid the temptation to create from what he has immediately at hand, what is left over, even unusable, in order to overcome established forms and build something unique. He creates his objects from fragments of drywall, splintered pressed wood boards, scraps of netting, cracked planks, sheet metal, rubble, plastic. Impoverished materials and spaces, provocatively poor and primitive. In his installation for VI PER Gallery Jan Fabián continues to reconfigure spatial stereotypes and grasp the edges of the use of waste. He builds and demolishes barriers, shapes the space, seeks out original reconstructions, reworks masses. And he struggles against the common orders and practices of the gallery itself: emerging from the gallery to the façade and making a striking entrance directly into the urban environment. Space conceived in this way could be seen as a contrast and stimulating dialogue to his architectural realisations.

The Urban Environment
The theme of the urban environment – how and with whom to live in it – has exercised Jan Fabián’s imagination for a long time. In the street in front of the gallery, Fabián has installed scorched carcasses of thuja shrubs, the result of the activities of an unknown arsonist who destroyed several thuja hedges in South Bohemia. A true tragedy, but for Fabián also a great challenge. As he has said, he is attracted to the use of artefacts – ‘phenomena’ – that he did not choose himself but for which he received an impulse from his friends. And then, to find the opportunity to use them. These thuja shrubs, a standard element in cultivated gardens, grew for many years along a wire fence, which deformed them. Fabián has moved them into the streets of Prague, creating an apocalyptic front garden of burnt vegetation, dead plant life, destruction of the urban environment. Another such impulse are the discarded windows from an apartment block below Prague’s historic citadel of Vyšehrad. Windows, for Jan Fabián, are typical bearers of urban structuring, an item he has long employed, with many dozens kept in storage. Constructions of windows and old beams now allow Fabián to return them to the streets.

Jan Fabián (*1978, České Budějovice) graduated in 2003 from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague in the ‘Glass in Architecture’ atelier under Professor Marian Karel, with international study in Finland (2000) and at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the USA (2001). Even as a student, he began designing and realising, alongside artistic designs and installations, actual interior adaptations; after small-scale realisations he gradually added larger projects. He exhibits regularly, often creating installations as interventions in the public space. Since 2014, he has taught at the Czech Technical University’s Faculty of Architecture in the Department of Fine Arts. At present, he is also completing a PhD in visual communication at the Faculty of Art and Design of Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem. https://janfabian.com

Photo: Peter Fabo

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VI PER GALLERY
Vítkova 2, Prague 8
Czech Republic
WED-FRI 13-19, SAT 14-18