Showcase light at the end of the tunnel for Jakub
Published on 13 October 2020
Lockdown brought unforeseen and individual challenges for each of us and, for University of Dundee student Jakub Stepanovic it meant converting his kitchen into a studio-cum-science lab and bingeing on ice cream, all in the name of art
Lockdown brought unforeseen and individual challenges for each of us and, for University of Dundee student Jakub Stepanovic it meant converting his kitchen into a studio-cum-science lab and bingeing on ice cream, all in the name of art.
Jakub (28) is one of the dozens of students exhibiting at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design Masters Showcase 2020, which opens online next week. He was busy at work on his MFA Art & Humanities project when the UK was placed under lockdown in March.
Given the unprecedented and rapidly evolving nature of the past six months, it is fitting that Jakub’s Masters Showcase work, ‘Phase Transitions’, explores the theme of constant change.
The installation features an array of mediums and materials, including pulsing laser beams visible in evaporating liquid, continually evolving projection, and LED lights shining through acrylic sheeting. The nature of the work meant adjusting to home working was far from simple for Jakub.
"I really enjoy the physicality of making things and tend to work with larger-scale objects, so I was limited what I could do under lockdown," he explained. "For example, I enjoy welding, but that obviously isn't something you can easily do in your kitchen. I just had to figure out how to make the most of the environment I was working in.
"My piece features an ultrasonic device that vibrates a trench of water to create fog. I needed to test this technology but was limited to what I could find around the house. At first, I assembled it in a recycling bin; however, it wasn't suitable for experimenting with the lasers. Eventually, I found that ice cream boxes were best for this.
"I 100% ate all the ice cream to empty the boxes. It was good to have an excuse to make life a little sweeter under the lockdown restrictions. I had a couple of other exhibitions cancelled and lost my job. I like to separate my work and home life, but I had to write essays, do practical work, eat, and sleep in the same place.
“There were constant distractions, and I was having trouble sleeping. However, while it wasn't easy, I was aware that many people had things much tougher than I did, and that helped me to shape the concept.
After a challenging five months, Jakub and his classmates were allowed back into the studio to complete their Masters work in August. The course was extended to enable them to make up for the time lost during lockdown and Jakub’s exhibit has now been installed in DJCAD’s Crawford Building for examiners to view. Unfortunately, this year’s Masters Showcase is closed to visitors and will take place fully online as a result of ongoing restrictions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jakub, who was born in what is now Slovakia, also lived in the Czech Republic, United States and England before moving to Dundee to study Fine Art four years ago. He had previously worked as a photojournalist and moved between several countries and American states and this influences his work.
“Being exposed to different cultures and beliefs was a tremendous learning experience, from which I often draw inspiration for my artistic practice,” Jakub continued. “Journalism allowed me to meet people from different communities, backgrounds, races and ages. Travel is eye-opening and has changed the way I view the world.
"I continued moving while studying at DJCAD, I have taken part in the ERASMUS exchange programme and undertaken residencies abroad. All of which fed into this idea of adapting to constant change, which crystallized in my work."
More than 60 students will be displaying transformative design and visually stunning art created on the MSc Animation & VFX, MFA Art & Humanities, MDes Comics & Graphic Novels, MSc Forensic Art & Facial Identification, MSc Medical Art and MSc Product Design courses.
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