EDUARD OVCACEK

Since the 1950s, Eduard Ovcacek has worked in almost every artistic medium, including painting, sculpture, installation, photography and performance. In terms of printmaking, he has covered intaglio, lithography and screen printing, and now, he indulges his pursuits in the digital realm. Throughout his extensive journey, Ovcacek has been exploiting the single smallest unit of the written language system: the grapheme. Ovcacek is regarded as a pioneer of letterism and a creator of visual poetry in the former Czechoslovakia. His printmaking experiments with graphemes date back to the time when he was teaching printmaking. He stumbled upon an old collection of letterpress type blocks, which he immediately adapted into his printmaking practice. He incorporated letters into his structural prints and etchings, pressing them as stamping blocks into varnish or dipping them into liquid ground and pressing them onto metal plates. When placed in an acid bath, the area around the letters would get etched. Numerous ready-made objects followed: house signs, bus timetables, circuit boards. Letters, numbers and symbols have remained an integral part of Ovcacek’s work to this day. 

    Although a significant portion of Ovcacek’s prints were made using traditional techniques—collagraph, etching, blind embossing, even screen printing, the artist has always searched for technologies to test and discover new modes of expression for his letterist works. As soon as the technology for screen printing became available in Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s—although its use at the time was rather limited—Ovcacek tested it, liked it, and adapted it to his practice. At the same time, he also incorporated the use of photography, developing his own method of superimposing one image over another. In recent years, Eduard Ovcacek focuses on screen and digital printing.

BIOGRAPHY

Eduard Ovcacek (born 1933, Czech Republic) is a multimedia artist working in printmaking, painting, collage, sculpture, and visual and concrete poetry. He received a Master’s Degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia (1963). Ovcacek initiated the formation of the Bratislava Confrontation (1960), an independent abstract art group in Slovakia. He was one of the signers of the pro-democracy civic initiative Charter 77 (1977). Ovcacek has participated in a number of international group exhibitions and art symposiums throughout his career. From 1997–1999, he organized screen printing workshops in Ostrava. His prints have received many awards, including the prestigious Vladimir Boudnik Award (1998) for his lifelong contribution to Czech printmaking. His work is represented in private and public collections, such as Albertina (Austria), Denver Art Museum (USA), Musee Felicia Rops (Belgium), National Museum in Warsaw (Poland), and National Gallery Prague (Czech Republic). It has been published in numerous publications, including: Barrie Tullett, Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology, Laurence King Publishing, London, 2014. 

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Marvin Sackner, Ruth Sackner, The Art of Typewriting (London: Thames & Hudson, 2015)

Katerina Kyselica, “Letterist Eduard Ovcacek Continues Into the Digital Age,” in Celebrating Print, vol.2, no.1, 2015

Barrie Tullett, Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology (London: Laurence King Publishing, 2014)

Florence Jaillet, Jiri Machalicky, Eduard Ovcacek—Oeuvres graphiques & sculptures, exh.cat., Musee de l'imprimerie, Lyon, 2013

Luba Belohradska, Eva Trojanova, Borders of Geometry: Geometric and Constructive Tendencies in Slovak Art from 1960 to the Present (Bratislava: Petum, 2009)

Pierre Garnier, Spatialisme et poesie concrete (Paris: Paris 1968)

Andre Sellier, Les Lettres. Poesie nouvelle. Revue du Spatialism,. 9me serie, numero 34 (Paris: Andre Silvair, 1965)

ARTWORKS AVAILABLE AT KADS NEW YORK

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