The Krokus Gallery presents a solo exhibition of Slovak painter Erik Šille titled Anatomy of Quandary.
Anatomy is a branch of morphology that names the form, location and structure of body parts, organs, tissues and cells. We may encounter anatomy mostly in medicine, zoology and botany. The main tool of anatomy is dissection. But, how do we name and “dissect” quandary?
The compositions of Erik Šille’s paintings from his newly emerging cycle Anatomy (2015) are hard to decode at first glance: among big “succulently” painted entrails are squatted little human and animal figures; googly eyes as we know them from animated cartoons peek out of pink and blue intestines with hot dogs marching on the surface of all this “anatomical mass”.
Šille’s works always involve a conflict manifested on more levels: in use of colours, in morphology, in a story. Essential contours of his artistic programme started forming during his studies: neon colour of acrylic painting where a clear area collides with the painter’s gesture, a rapid digital image transformed into a slow medium of painting, interest in pop cultural phenomena and in irrational background of the globalised society of spectacle and its local specific traits. Šille’s painting style is characteristic of visual excess, excessive proliferation of image signs and their hybrid compilation as we know it from Dadaist and surrealist collage. However, it is not a chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella, said in Lautréamont’s words, yet a sensation of sensory overload, something like when you flick through a comic book while the TV and the Internet is on. The oversaturation of Šille’s paintings corresponds with the oversaturation of a subject living in the late modernism whose main mantras are growth, ever-increasing speed, simultaneousness, competition as well as gradation of efficiency in both professional and private life. It is not an analysis of the collective subconscious (or unconscious?), yet a dissection of collective quandary in pursuit of personal happiness in an era of joyful consumption of useless things.
In his works, Šille does not intend to moralise, or declare social engagement (although his paintings often refer to poignant ecological and social issues). He is rather fascinated by the circulation of endless consumption of goods and relationships. One needs to follow the scale: in comparison with the landscape or animals, human beings are often the smallest elements of composition in his artworks. In Keep Your Country Tidy (2015) and Moronised we stand (2015), he uses the “flyer” aesthetics and the language of contemporary marketing whose populist form obfuscates vital social matters. At the same time, the works bring in triviality in form of messages such as “call your mum”.
Three-dimensional art is the painter’s less known artistic facet: in his plastic objects reminding of model-based dioramas, he creates situations full of suspense and violence. Painted objects depicting tectonic cut-outs are miniature counterparts of his mostly larger paintings.
Erik Šille (1978), a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava, winner of Igor Kalný Award, winner of VUB Foundation Award for Painting, winner of Tatra Banka Young Artist Award 2010. His paintings are inspired by pop art, comic strips, graffiti, and popular culture in general, along with advertising and marketing language. After his solo exhibition in Plusmínusnula Gallery in Žilina, joint exhibition with Czech painter Petr Kvíčal in Kasárne Kulturpark Košice and his participation in the international exhibition 3rd Danube Biennale in the Danubiana gallery, Šille topped his exhibition year off with his solo exhibition in the Krokus Gallery.
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