Reports

On June 5, 2013 a one-day exhibition of Ivan Vosecký called NOTHING BUT PAINTING!…hem hem in fact spray … took place in the gallery Berlínskej model, pplk. Sochora 9 in Prague 7.The painter Ivan Vosecký gives the impression that he creates his work so naturally the same as when one speaks or sleeps. However, his works deal with really serious subjects and fundamental human issues, including faith, love, politics, ecology and drugs. Vosecký uses slogans which he depicts with the use of advertising vocabulary right in the form of slogans. Because his questions are too tragic he tries to disburden them by using banal form – using sealing tapes, polystyren. In his paintings he often turns to child-like expression and uses the popular language of cartoons. He seems to want to save the world, but maybe it is only a speculation of a substantively contemporary and cognizant artist. His honesty is so credible and his communication with spectators is so direct that you cannot help believing Vosecký is Don Quijote among artists and runs the risk of being ridiculous. As if he did not fit into this time yet he keeps trying to awaken the feeling of bad conscience in the world of Macdonalds and holes in the ozoone layer. Can contemporary art language achieve this? Vosecký tries hard. His works are interesting since they have certain design or they respond to certain design, e.g. graphic design. This style is both retrospective and topical, ironic and serious. The artist´s messages (read in a language code) may seem very banal and sometimes archaic. What implies a shift towards conceptualism and political campaign is their visual style. The language code in this case is perhaps not an adequate key to “reading”. We should rather take notice of forms, lines and colours. The artist often writes texts on sociological, political and cultural-alternative topics. These messages originate in the context of a public discourse out of which they are paradoxically taken out and transplanted into institutions with a different type of context. Art, galleries or museums represent institutions whose nature is neither private nor public but culturally and socially specific. Art is defined in such a manner that in fact it cannot interfere with public space. Public space ends where a piece of art is placed and a closed cell of a specific discourse appears. We are not talking about visual culture in general but concretely about art. Public intervention is possible only under the condition of a change of roles and functions and thus bracketing art and activating non-artistic meanings. A great part of Jan Vosecký´s work balances on the verge of this paradox. It is more about the intervention of public space into art not vice versa. Public discourse becomes mere material, attractive for its extremeness and provocative for its worness. The trumps he plays with are commoness, triviality and popularity. It does not concern mass culture of consumerism as in Pop Art but a well-known and profane alternative culture. Pop is no longer represented today by the most common types of advertisments, commercials and presentation of goods but also by alternative expressions and proclamations. Contemporary mass culture offers the spectator in fact the well-known “two for one”: a product for fast, cheap and dull consumption and at the same time its critical reflection. Mass culture often (and intentionally) ironizes itself. Vosecký imprints this quality of today´s culture into art space. This exaggerated and ineffective commitment is a reflection of the critical state of modern art or to be more precise of art in ex-communist countries. Here art production keeps searching for its social role, viewer, value or power.

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