While still attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (2004–2010, drawing, prof. Jitka Svobodová), Jakub Janovský (*1984) began to create temporary drawings in abandoned interiors and on the exteriors of condemned buildings, many of which have survived only in photographs or videos of these “actions.” He has created numerous distinctive visual interventions into public space, although this space was public only to the “random visitor.” These sketches and notes on walls often contained motifs that he subsequently explored in more detail in his paintings. For Janovský, drawing is a universal form of expression that can be used liberally, meaning it can be both descriptive and experimental, or it can be developed in a number of different and unexpected ways. Nor is it limited to standardized paper formats.
His subject matter, which often sublimates traces of violence or deformation, is inspired by the processes of child-rearing and socialization. Similarly, he is fascinated by the forms by which this sublimation is expressed in later life (sexual fetishes, a drive for performance, competitiveness, neuroses). Vague intimations, references, the reworking of conventional symbols, and changing stylistic strategies are all more important for Janovský than descriptiveness or visual illusions. His vision is more laconic, sometimes almost unbearably direct. The true identity and person of his “agents” is often hidden behind an anonymous mask. The world is seen compressed, as a repeating ritual. Janovský explores the dark side of human behavior through history and across cultures. His art is of a timeless, symbolic character, and his paintings present universal cautionary situations – hence also their generally black-and-white or deliriously intense color schemes, which sometimes recall agit-prop poster art. In 2016, Trafo Gallery published the catalogue to his exhibition (Silicon Family).