Mythologies, narrations, collective representations are often the starting point of Yan Tomaszewski’s projects. How and by whom these stories are told, what is missing in their unfolding, how can the present fit into the authority of history and how can the past remain contemporary – these are a few questions motivating his work.
During his residency at A.I.R. Futura, Yan has been developing a project around a font designed by the printmaker and typographer Vojtěch Preissig. It was a commission for the 1925 Parisian International Exhibition of Decorative Arts, where it was to embody and represent the identity of the freshly created Czechoslovakian state. In the spirit of the Art & Crafts movement, advocating a return to craftsmanship as a way of responding to industrial standardization, the font Preissig Antikva was hand cut by Preissig – the legend says with a pocket knife –, producing an angular and irregular form. Since the 1990s, this font has been digitalized three times, paradoxically allowing us to type on our computer with this "handmade" looking font.
Yan reversed the process: starting with the digital version of Preissig Antikva, he manually reconstructed it, carving the letters in wooden blocks.
This wooden font is then used to build a narration around Preissig Antikva, connecting various anecdotes, facts and fictions that dig into tensions such as national specificity versus internationalism or handmade versus machine-made and bring subjectively together T.G. Masaryk, Vojtěch Preissig, Pavel Janák, Josef Chochol, Jindřich Štyrský, Toyen and Karel Teige.
Residency (1.10 - 31.12.2014) was supplied by Visegrad Artist Residency Program.