The solo show of a Slovak artist Erik Šille.
Šille (born in 1978 in Rožňava) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (studio of Prof. Ivan Csudai) where he is currently teaching. In 2006 he was awarded Igor Kalný Prize being its first winner. Just recently he has been awarded VUB Bank Prize 2009 for Painting. The author works and lives in Bratislava. The KROKUS gallery holds his solo exhibition where his latest paintings, a light box and a sculptural object will be shown. The installation features a wall painting in the space of gallery.
The title of a current exhibition that reads „e.s. wird hell“ can be translated as „it is getting light(er)” and works as a metaphor of Šille´s own artistic strategy. Aiming to get to the source of light in painting as close as possible, Šille describes this shift as a process of not only getting lighter but also getting better for the clarity of image. While in German the expression „hell“ refers to „light“, in English its meaning is obviously completely different. This word-play allows the author to work within a boundary that separates a dark from a light part of a human existence. Seeing his latest paintings one can say that to undertake the journey searching for a light will not be that easy because of all the dangers and risks.
In this light one can understand both the form and subject of Šille´s works better. In the perspective of a contrast we suddenly discover the harmony of composition against the chaotic imagery, a geometry in a painterly gesture or Disney-like candy colours creating a feeling of discomfort and uncanny. Šille´s paintings are more than just the summary of the given contrasts. They are stronger and more intriguing for the ambivalence that keeps the viewer guessing and trying to gain his or her own access to the presented works.
The funny characters, furry creatures or unrecognized fairy-tale heroes that appear in his paintings, they all have to go through their own problems much like us. Seeing from a distance, the world they occupy, enlightened by commercial lights and ghosted by the gnawing monsters, bears a close resemblance with our own world. For years the author has been working on images that are originally sourced from film, animation, cartoons, toyshop or the graphic. This carefully built and retained visual strategy allows him to depict directly and with a joke really crucial human issues such as the fact that home as an idyllic secure island is in danger (Hope home, 2009) or the funeral rituals (I had changed my clothes but your ideas came far too late, 2008).
In one of his latest painting (Untitled, 2009) Šille depicted sailing a boat against a night sky. We can feel the reminiscence of both a subject and composition of a traditional romantic and classical modern painting. However, melancholy associated with the foggy scenery is suddenly replaced by a sense of unease which arises due to some of Šille´s typical elements. Such are, for example, commercial spots or electric pole the lines of which symbolically cut a night landscape. The source of light is in his works the source of (electric) tension while the wishful dawn is still far away.
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