23 December 2014 > 23 January 2015 Kindly invited to the opening of The Lost World exhibition by Adrijan Praznik, on Tuesday, 23rd December at 8pm at the Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova.
The exhibition The Lost World (Izgubljeni svet) of Adrijan Praznik, an artist of a young generation, held at the Alkatraz Gallery, consists of recent paintings with an attempt to lead a viewer into a real visual experience. It evokes feelings of admiration, respect and fear, achieved by a proper measure of visual experiments based on manipulation of modern technology and materials that the painter utilizes by reflecting the images on canvas in an unanticipated manner.
The Lost World, can be read literally, as a world that is no more to be found, a world that ceases to exist. Despite its gaze into the past, it is a title bearing within a consideration about the future. With every new, apparently big invention, the world changes by such a degree that it can no longer be thought from a past position. Often we tend to forget that we live in the worlds we do not only inhabit physically, but that it is the physical triggers who allow us to enter these worlds mentally. A common contemporary person therefore spends an enormous amount of time physically almost inactive, along the mental accesses into the worlds opened to us by books, comics, television, and various other contents we take in through computers, e.g. a record number of viewings of music videos on YouTube, and – if we forget about their musical part for a moment – the quantity of bizarre iconography and visuals we thereby absorb. Fragments of such content are captured in the canvases of Adrijan Praznik. The worlds that we experience are undoubtedly connected to interfaces; for we do not view the world only through our own eyes; more often we focus our look on it via rectangular monitors, displays who have become a constant of our daily life. A painting 1) is also a medium that takes us into a kind of another dimension, which is something the artist is undoubtedly aware of.
In the centre of the canvases there are oversized film protagonists, standing like icons, placed in a retro-futuristic ambience, who – through their visual perfection, their arrangement on the canvas, depict the reflection of space and time. The paintings by themselves are narrations; like frozen cinematographic frames from science-fiction worlds. Like Stanley Kubrick in his space odyssey, Praznik brings up questions of human evolution in relation to technology, artificial intelligence, and possibilities of extra-terrestrial life. The images that we find in the paintings show 'obsession' with the topics linked to artificial intelligence, artificially created life and the relation between the human and their products. The artist undertakes the issues at the foreground of the contemporary world and the rapid advancement of technologies, by sequencing media characters. Kubrick’s Hal was among the first depictions of artificial intelligence known to the public, who rises above the strict execution of commands, as Hal starts to take decisions no longer based on human instructions, but on the basis of his own consideration. The presence of such themes in popular culture points to a primary apprehension, originating from the dread that we will become victims of our own advancement in technology that will liberate itself from the human supremacy. Technological development in the direction of artificial intelligence nowadays enables easier establishment of medical diagnoses, disclosure of fraud in insurance and stock-exchange, more precise analyses of the human genome, development of robots who could help people with various chores... Artificial intelligence is a capable system; its programmes are currently still finite and capable of solving problems in limited areas, however with technological progress as anticipated by some scientists, we are no longer far from technological singularity, in which artificial intelligence predominates the human. The coming true of this utopic future is not necessary gloomy and frightening; with the aid of technology humanity will be able to conquer, or is – to some extent – already capable of surmounting human physical limitations. The theory of technological singularity should – by the appearance of artificial intelligence – abolish the world as we know it, which is – at a less radical level – going on all the time. We could even say that we live and think entirely different worlds, regardless of the fact that we can observe the very same things, and regardless of the fact that the world keeps slipping away, being continuously overwritten by its new “updated” versions. In spite of the terms we connect to computer world, human combinations of creating meanings as well as ways of comprehension that the world is offering, are ever more varied than could have been foreseen or produced – at least until now – by a computer.
The painterly world of Adrijan Praznik is packed with ambivalent images and objects, evoking a certain emotional response in us. The perception of reality is conveyed by an image on the display together with mass production of images, getting formalized in re-mediation of the visual. The painting is no longer separated from its context of visuality, and it is not, like in modernism, independent and a closed-in-itself entity. We are faced with re-contextualization of artistic material or images from mass media and cultural industries.
Formal elements in the picture are tied to the painterly base in numerous meanings. The image is directly connected and conditioned by media images, closely intertwined with the individual experience of an person. Adrijan Praznik is aware of the trap of the inter-twinement and conditioning of his own vision of the world with the media one; with an adept analysis and disclosure of the strategies and techniques of visuality, he is opening up possibilities for artistic reflection.
With Adrijan Praznik and his painting we can notice a kind of continuation and upgrading of the line of the artists of the second half of the nineties, where the new role of the media imagery is explicitly present in paintings. The artist uses perfection of the painterly technique, the balance among the objects on the canvas, the in-depth sharpness by which he depicts the space in such a manner that it can breathe freely; each element is always exactly at the place, where – from the aspect of the rule – has to be, just like in cinematic space.
The painting of Adrijan Praznik is open to a contemporary visual culture; establishing personal, fresh, content - and formal possibilities of realization, directly touching social topical issues, and reflecting the position of an individual in contemporaneity. The paintings open up a vast area of visual messages, where the colour field – as a finite entity – is intertwined with images from popular culture, hence defining our relation to visuality anew.
Anabel Karolyn Černohorski and Jadranka Plut