|Uroš Potočnik: Holy Motors opens Today At P74 Center And Gallery (28.8.2014)|
|You are cordially invited to the opening of the exhibition by Uroš Potočnik at P74 Center and Gallery on Thursday, 28 August 2014 at 19h.|
Are images of workers and peasants still evocative or interesting to anyone today? Who even still paints them? The new artwork of Uroš Potočnik, the monumental painting Two Workers, is built up in muted shades of grey and red. Its effect is serious and real. The painting presents an image of two men at work; we almost overlook the protagonists, however, since the emphasised perspective draws our attention away from the background. Alongside a contemporary worker with a jackhammer, Potočnik has interposed yet another figure with a regular hammer in his hands, which is obviously full of nonsense given the situation. The image is taken from Gustave Courbet’s painting The Stone Breakers (Les Casseurs de pierres) (a work created in 1849, a year after Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto). Courbet represents a break in the history of representative art. He turned against academic convention and idealising. His works are sharp social statements; his realism unbiased in the selection of motifs and their representation. When it was first presented at the Paris Salon in 1850, the painting evoked disgust. Even though some marked it as a socialistic work, Courbet described the painting as the perfect expression of human suffering. With the placement of a young and an old worker, he outright revealed the social entrapment of the working class: caught in a vicious circle of endless repetition through the generations, from which there is no escape.
Uroš Potočnik often tackles the reinterpretation and re-working of images from the Internet, photography, mass reproductions, etc., yet he never leaves them untouched. Atomic explosions and motifs of the Šalek Valley (Šaleška dolina) represent the second key segment of the current exhibition. The most important decision in creating these images was the inclusion of the artist’s (at the time) six-year-old son in the creative process. In this way the author wished to neutralise visual memories from his own childhood and youth. He prepared a selection of videos of atomic explosions from the web and photographs of the Šalek Valley (from the book Velenje by Jože Hudales). Then he gave them to his son to use as models for drawings, the latter became the basis of the artist’s collages. Thus we are witness to a total transformation of the motif – some of the atomic explosions are more reminiscent of poisonous mushrooms from another planet.
Potočnik (b. 1974, Slovenj Gradec) studied at the Department of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (ALUO) at the University of Ljubljana, graduating in 2006 and completing his Master’s degree in 2012. He is active in the fields of painting, photography, scientific illustration, video and music. He has had solo exhibitions in Ljubljana, Celje, Velenje, Šoštanje and Leibnitz as well as participated in a number of group exhibitions at home and abroad. He is the recipient of the ALUO Award for Exceptional Student Accomplishments and the Student Prešeren Award for Painting (2006). He lives and works in Bele Vode nad Šoštanjem.
The programme of the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and by the Municipality of Ljubljana, Department for Culture.