Date: 05.07.2012 — 30.07.2012
Painters paint still lives and plein air landscapes. Vasil Artamonov and Alexey Klyuykov have chosen to resuscitate this image of the painter from children encyclopedias. They have made this decision despite or rather precisely because of that this notion has been exhausted by both tradition and modernity, religion, revolutionary movements, philosophy, popular culture, tragedy and comedy and in the end left as an empty cliché. The artistic duo make their still lives in dull colors and in their typical retro-style; the subject matter of their plein air paintings are Prague’s train stations. In the spirit of intensive cooperation, they divide the work on each painting in half. The image of a genius in the midst of nature is blurred by the avantgarde-type collaboration, nature is replaced by industrialized landscape and, eventually, the whole heroic (art)history climaxes in grey, a bit amateurish paintings of Prague’s Main Station. The meaning of each gesture is burdened by the multitude of romanticist and modernist allusions – the unbearable weight of history – and relieved by self-irony, albeit with a tint of masochism. The ethos of romanticism can be recycled only through intentional diletantism exemplified by the trip to garden colonies in the vicinity of Prague. Bread and grain belong to the central motives of the exhibition, possible references include nationalistic celebration of folklore or socialist realism, yet, such overwhelming symbols cannot be approached directly. The detour takes place through cakes and donuts surrounding the gloom-ridden Marx.