Jiří Petrbok, Štefan Papčo / Something in the Silence
3 December 2014 – 6 February 2015
How to express the unclear, inexpressible, inexact, unprovidable…? How to express a personal experience or a feeling, that “inner immersion into the depths of nothing”, where I am alone, all alone. Now, there is social media providing excellent conditions for exposing human privacy to the bones but there is still a boundary which we are unable to tresspass unless signs/symbols are used, and even that only in a space-time passage. Something in the Silence exhibition is presenting the latest works of two artists: Jiří Petrbok, a Czech painter and Štefan Papčo, a Slovak sculptor. Each of them is portraying the mystery of “what´s hidden inside” in his own remarkable way.
Inner space, an archetype of my innermost space where I am searching for myself… these are the issues Petrbok contemplates in his latest series of works called Tents. The tent providing a basic feeling of security, has always been used physically but also as a mental sanctuary. Petrbok perceives this object as a cave: “an archetypal issue, a safe haven, the “home” of my true self, while comprising also the potential danger of meeting with myself… A place we come from, and sometimes return back, in a better case.” Petrbok unpackes/builds his tents in inner space of various galleries whether fictional or existing. One of the tents´ structure looks like a wall of the heart and the aorta is fixed to the ceiling of the gallery. The artist’ flow of questions focused on these issues is firmly rooted in the painting, in the pictural reproduction. According to the author, his contribution to the fine arts is not in the painting itself but in the way he is approaching the painting: “I ironize the deep immersion into the human subconscioussness. The irony is quite typical in everything I do. My way of working is after all an endless struggle between pathetic and irony. Pathetic, visualization, almost kitsch because I enjoy it, and irony is there to “save the situation” so that one cannot talk about kitsch, talkativeness, pathos.“
Issues touching upon the inner attitude, personal and social identity, historical memory, God inside me, or man fighing with himself… these, on the other side, are the themes of Papčo’s oeuvre. Bronze cliffhanger statues follow the Citizens project which was recently presented in artpress magazine (Paris, Nr.415, October 2014, p.68-70). Papčo examines man in extreme conditions. He explores the up-to-the-limit life situations, for example those faced by the climber community in the high mountain surrounding. The author transponds into the art his and community impression of the country and of a human being in a raw environment whereby his physical body is his symbolic tent/ place of a concealed fight, or a safe haven… while the crucial things are happening somewhere in the distance/ in deep silence.