The Czech typographer Vojtěch Preissig was commissioned to design a typeface for the 1925 Czechoslovakian pavilion of the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris. The legend says, that the resulting “Preissig Antikva” font, which was to express the identity of a newly forged state, was cut in wood with a pocketknife – hence its irregular and angular aspect.

The Art & Craft logic of the font is reenacted: using its digital version as a model, the font is manually recarved in wooden blocks. “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, the most frequently used pangram (a sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet and therefore used by typographers to display their fonts) becomes the backbone of a hoaxlike narration.

A fictitious workshop gathering artists, writers, mediums and politicians is imagined. During one week in June 1924, in a cubist villa located in Prague, games are played, spirit sessions held and collective works produced. The aim is to determine the identity of the new Czechoslovakian state. All the artefacts supposedly produced during this workshop point out in one direction: the mysterious pattern of a fox jumping over a dog…

Of course, any resemblance with clichés related to Czech identity (surrealism, magic, humour, etc.) is purely coincidental.

Self-portrait, sculpted in the convention of Czech Cubism, 2015, lime tree wood, 15 x 20 x 30 cm.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, performance at Centre Pompidou, 2015, photo: Hervé Véronèse
Cadavre exquis, pencil on paper, oak frame, 70 x 90 cm
Beeromancy, chromogenic print on baryta paper, oak frame, 50 x 60 cm
View from the exhibition Scripture at Centre for Contemporary Art Kronika, 2015, photos: Marcin Wysocki
Preissig Antikva, cherry wood, 5 x 14 x 300 cm
Teumessian Fox vs. Dog Laelaps, ink on paper, 30 x 310 cm
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, inkjet prints on paper, tinted wood, dimensions variable, 2015
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, performance and workshop at Villa du Parc, 2016