Jaroslav Benda (1882-1970)
Opening: Tuesday 6th June 2017 at 7pm
Exhibition dates: 7th June – 15th July 2017
UM Gallery, UMPRUM, Nám. Jana Palacha 80, Prague 1
Opening times: Mon to Sat, 10am – 6pm
As its title suggests, Jaroslav Benda (1882-1970) is an exhibition that celebrates the work of typographer and graphic designer Jaroslav Benda. The exhibition, which runs at UM Gallery, mainly focuses on his publications, particularly in the area of typography.
The whole exhibition is conceived in the style of an improvised library. Curator Petra Dočekalová provides context for the exhibition’s selections: “Even though his work as a graphic artist is widely acknowledged, we’ve chosen to focus on his skilled use of typography and font. Ninety-one chronologically arranged publications, which represent roughly one-third of Benda’s entire output, serve as an example of the specific processes and principles behind his work.” Publications are divided into six groups encompassing the entire timespan of Benda’s work. These groups freely intermingle and connect so that as well as offering an overview of his comprehensive work in type design, they shed light on his work as a whole.
Jaroslav Benda was a source of inspiration not only for his peers and students but also for the generation of artists that followed him. One such artist was of course Josef Týfa, famed for his typefaces Juvenis and Academica, along with Jiří Rathouský, who followed Benda’s morphology to create his Intergothic Titling and Barell Gothic fonts. Radek Sidun, co-curator and assistant at the Type Design and Typography Studio, gives more background to the exhibition’s theme: “If we travel back along the route paved by the most distinguished Czech typographers, such as Jan Solpera, Josef Týfa, Jiří Rathouský, Oldřich Menhart and other important Czech type designers, and trace the respect they showed for the legacies of the artists of previous generations, such a route logically and invariably leads to Jaroslav Benda.”
Jaroslav Benda is often referenced in connection with Vratislav Hugo Brunner and František Kysela because he, like his two peers, contributed greatly to many branches of the fine arts. However, he is most often associated with his type design for various publications, and this work has come to mark the beginning of the restoration of artistry to Czech publishing. Various book covers, font designs, posters and many other works are included in this exhibition of Benda’s “material” results. Focusing particularly on Benda’s typographic work by presenting extracts from various books, the exhibition offers richer meanings to reflect the entire breath of his overall work from beginning to end.
Curators, copywriting, graphic design: Petra Dočekalová, Radek Sidun
Collaborators: Tomáš Brousil, Karel Haloun, Lucie Urbánková
Architects: Matyáš Švejdík, Šimon Marek