Solitude / Martin Gerboc, Jiří Petrbok, Ivan Pinkava
curated by Silvia Van Espen
5 February – 28 March 2013
For the eponymous exhibition, the gallery has selected three artists interpreting the theme of solitude and loneliness through images. 2 painters and 1 photographer will take you to the places which you (possibly consciously) avoid. They will encircle you so that you will not be able to escape from the sweet and comfortable – or conversely the painful – awareness of one´s SELF all by yourself.
The exhibition entitled “Solitude“ offers a visitor to make several steps according to the ideas of Joseph Kosuth, an American conceptual artist: art does not take the role of philosophy with the aim to bring the searched-for answers, but with the aim to open and deal with further issues. Such issues mostly include those that society does not want or is afraid to deal with. As it becomes clear from the exhibition title, we are about to open the issue of being alone and/or lonely. But there is more than that.
On one´s own: facing oneself and facing you – the others
Life is above all a permanent exam. We oscillate between fight and death, with no alternative. The only weapon we have at our disposal is our body. Martin GERBOC (1971) has been focusing body for s long time, examining its limits, pleasures and lusts, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. He seems to be the only contemporary Slovak painter to include these important themes into his artistic programme while those are well recognized in the world art (let us mention just several artists: Cindy Sherman, Bettina Rheims, Pierre Klossowski, Gilbert&George, Jake&Dinos Chapman, David Nebreda).
At this exhibition, Martin Gerboc is represented by the paintings entitled Still Life with Human Flesh/Self-portrait and Solitudo (Point of No Retrnu), 2012-2013. These works are, on one hand, continuations of the inner examination of one´s self (the first painting of the series called A Man of No Destiny/Self-portrait was exhibited at ZAHORIAN&co GALLERY in autumn 2011). On the other hand, the author gives a visitor the role of a “voyeur“ in front of whom he unveils himself, he gets naked to the very core of his soul. And as for soul, Gerboc sees it as totally opaque and obscure, it is a dark deep lake whose bottom cannot be seen. So, in the process of unveiling himself, the author tattooed the main themes of his own being directly onto his skin (“Self-portrait“). Thus the skin becomes in this case a sort of archetypal basis/information carrier, a sort of parchment (which used to be treated animal skin used for writing upon). Besides the issue of the internal/external versus the public/unveiled, Gerboc touches another issue to be dealt with: human versus animal attitude. The author himself refers to the paintings exhibited as to “the vanity, degradation and agony of being“ as well as to “the de-humanization of blood“.
Jiří PETRBOK (born 1962) is yet another artist who stands close to the autobiographical expression, too (e. g. Family At the Exhibition, 2008 series). He has been consciously dealing with the codes of the reality surrounding him for a long time. He presents those codes in a form easily identifiable by any viewer. Stories of his pictures are usually based on the tension between the banal and the extraordinary. Elements of everyday life included in his works are pushed to the absurd. It is a kind of parody of a civilized human being. As for the current exhibition, Petrbok introduces his diptych whose principal part is represented by The Globe. The second part of the diptych entitled A Girl comes from the Red cycle. We are to face a simplified, almost illustrative, view of the Earth as the only inhabitable place for mankind, and for a “sample“ of its population (the author chooses woman as a counterpart of his identity). So far, we have been known to be the only civilization in the whole universe. We have the knowledge that we are most likely the only creatures in the universe which can be crossed in all directions for innumerable light years! Quelle solitude (What loneliness)! In such a context, a super-human-sized figure can evoke the feeling of loneliness which everybody is familiar with. Perception and existence is unique to everybody thus it can be described only in vague shapes. Consequently, human being is distanced from another one , even the closest one, by a large number of light years.
Ivan PINKAVA (1961) is a remarkable representative of the middle-aged generation of Czech photography, ZAHORIAN&co GALLERY has commenced cooperating with. The current group exhibition is the author´s premiere before the solo exhibition. According to the theoretician Petr Vaňous, “if we say that Ivan Pinkava expresses himself through the classical repertoire of a black-and-white photography of a figure and a still life, it is not a precise formulation, as a figure and a still life intermingle here to form a peculiar whole which can only be interpreted on the basis of the united view of the artist of the perception of the world and the role of a human being within“.
At “Solitude“ exhibition, works introduced at the world exhibition “Decadence now!“ at Rudolfinum Gallery, Prague, 2011, will be again displayed. (By the way, Martin Gerboc´s works were exhibited at the same exhibition as well). The discourse of solitude is indirectly carried out through the depiction of banal objects, such as covers or soft foam. These are taken out of their contexts, and as such they strangely turn into the carriers of new interpretative meanings in the unidentifiable area of an empty space. Within this exhibition, there are several interpretations offered: the evocation of death, the end of life which is also described as the end of communication between the mental and the organic, as well as the reference to the departure, that is, the end of communication, leading to solitude. As mentioned by the author himself: “… You are facing a work of art and you can live it in awe or horror and smile simultaneously, thus being aware of its duality“.