IBK – Institut für bildende Kunst
The caring ones
The palette and imagery is inspired by the russian animation “The Butterfly” from 1972 by Andrei Khrzhanovskiy. “The Butterfly” is a post-stalin movie under USSR, which tells the story of a boy who catches a butterfly. The butterfly grows and grows into a giant and ends up catching its own hunter. Afterwards the boy sets free the captured butterflies. A sense of surveillance is indicated in the city, where the movie takes place. And the nature outside of the city is represented as a distant utopia and promise of freedom.
The title of the exhibition “The caring ones” is a slightly ironic commentary on the polished suburban life, where people keep an eye on one another, and try to keep a decent appearance because they know they’re being watched in return. But you might have the idea of some restless activity lying underneath the well-trimmed surface – as if something is trying to break free. ‘The caring ones’ have several meanings; it can mean to care and not to care, being carefree or intervening in other peoples privacy, as if someone is spying on their neighbour, to check if he’s following the rules.
The figures within the different motives and layers of each painting are watching each other silently, from different constellations. One figure watches a flower in “The broken woodstick man” 2020 oil on canvas. Another figure watches the constellation of a person sitting in a field of flowers. The constellations from which several figures and motives are watching each other or watching objects, while being observed by someone else is a narrative running through all the paintings.
The colors are earthy and at the same time ‘inverted’. For me, this palette is speaking to the feeling of calmness, and being withdrawn while simultaneously trying to break with these concepts by exhibiting them nakedly. The drawings within the painting stands in contrast to the color combination and layered technique. That is, the sharper, clearer lines cuts through the more blurry and fuzzy texture of the painting. Likewise, the presence of characters and figures, is contrasting the rest of the painting – almost as if it’s a foggy day and you gradually see a person appear – how long has this person been standing there? The use of inverted colors derives from a thought of dystopia – something you know quite well, but it’s a little off, uncanny.
The landscapes in the paintings represent more or less controlled environments, since they appear as parks instead of wild nature. The city surrounding the park is indirectly present. The landscape is indicated by a tree, a road, a bush. Controlled and tamed in its line and shape, but with some vibrating chaos underneath.
The perspective is in some of the paintings shown as a drone perspective. The perceiver becomes an outside observer. And by manipulating the perspective, you, the observer could be several things and not necessarily human. You observe the characters and analyze them, like they observe each other. This creates a social dynamic between the characters. The viewer almost become an intruder and the overview-‐effect creates the idea of surveillance. In this way the viewer Is given intimate access to an otherwise private sphere.
My inspiration and focus has been on the atmosphere and the visual expression of the movie “The butterfly”. I believe that depicting child-‐figures, as within “The butterfly” an interesting duality is induced; Youthfulness can mean to be carefree and optimistic and having hope for the future, but it might also involve anxiety, doubt and uncertainty, when lack of experience is combined with understanding that life can also be serious. I think that this duality is also present in the visual expression, and in the concept of caring and not caring at the same time. Carefree days go by with playing around in the park, but there is a sense of anxiously waiting for something chaotic to break the order.
Foto © eSeL – Joanna Pianka