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Istvan David & Colin Black: Adrenaline

04 November 2016 > 25 November 2016 Kindly invited to the opening of the "Adrenaline" exhibition by David Istvan & Colin Black, on Friday, 4th November 2016, at 8 pm, at the Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova.

Istvan David, a visual artist and Colin Black, a sound artist and composer are presenting themselves at the Alkatraz Gallery with their new art production at the junction of several domains; among the painting, drawing, digital print and sound. The basic topic of the exhibition is adrenaline. Adrenaline or epinephrine is a hormone secreted when a person is feeling a strong emotion such as anger, fear, or excitement. It increases the pace and the power of heartbeat, expands respiratory tract, improves breathing, narrows blood vessels in the skin and gastrointestinal tract and increases the supply of blood into muscles, thus enabling efficacious functioning and quick response. This powerful bodily response to stress is an ancient principle, facilitating us to survive in dangerous situations. Besides intensifying some responses it also brings to a standstill the momentarily unnecessary functions such as metabolism, growth and reproduction, while it concurrently enables clearer thinking and strengthens certain aspects of learning and memorising, says Dr. Robert Sapolsky, an acclaimed researcher and professor of biological sciences, neurology and neurological sciences.[1]

Istvan David is interested in the gush of secretion of adrenaline in a human body as a strong physical experience. This experience is, he says, what attracts people in an extraordinary way. What he finds most interesting is that it releases all the ties and limitations and capacitates us to feel alive at that very moment. As an adrenaline rush is not easy to present, the artist chose images from the realm of sport for its depiction. In sports the outside reflection of inner happenings is most evident to a viewer, amongst other things also because he is convinced that people who engage in sports, are not doing it only for the money, which represents only the secondary element of an award, but primarily for the adrenaline itself; and adrenaline is actually being secreted also at sports activities. These individuals are urged by something more powerful, something that endows them with a genuine feeling of being alive. The aspiration to attain this feeling is what is common to all people. The issue that Istvan David is bringing up for a debate is thus not only about sport, but reaches further and can be seen as a metaphor for the phenomenon of the contemporary time, so closely connected to the omnipresence of adrenaline in the life of a typical representative of the Western world. This phenomenon is a complex one, and can be positive or negative. The stress, when a result of a tight daily schedule, unvoiced demands for incessant personal and business growth and the social (ex)(in)clusion is not the same as the positive stress that we can experience with extreme, adrenaline sports.

The idea to visualize adrenaline rush has been present in Istvan David’s work for some time now. Its realizations always emerge in the form of a portrait. The face is, namely, the space on which inner processes get depicted with the aid of facial expressive mimics. In his portraits layering of images, colours and gestures is going on and supplementary intensifies these expressions in a somewhat scary manner. The works attempt to visually present the inner process by focusing on the representation of a feeling as something abstract, invisible and unclear. The artist invited an internationally famous sound artist Dr. Colin Black to join in, as he reckoned that an audio depiction is essential to round up the production. Thus they, in their common dialogue, influence each other in the aspiration to create a vibrating sensory atmosphere with visuals and sound that enable the viewer to live the experience of power, vertigo and the crescendo of the adrenaline feeling through a steadily increasing volume of the sound. Colin Black set to music - or better put - to sound the bodily processes, originating at the molecular levels which then, through expressions, come into our perception. He says that loudspeakers pump like sonic glands throughout the space, creating a sculptural audio dynamic that expresses the changing levels of hormones secreted by the adrenal glands. Going beyond fight or flight response the sound artist builds an abstract sonic rush, pulsing symbolically through the gallery space in sync with the visual artworks strung up on the walls. The sonic spatialized landscape is an expression of a new language of audio adrenaline, he adds.

The artists by their exhibition with a visual-audio interweaving present their perception of an adrenaline rush, not leaving the audience untouched. Their intention is to elicit from them strong feelings of uneasiness, aggression, hatred, impatience and power, simultaneously with the feeling of liberation the adrenaline fever is offering.

Ana Grobler

Istvan David (1982), born in Romania, of Hungarian origin, received his MFA from the Art and Design University of Cluj-Napoca; department of Painting. After exploring into drawing, painting and templates he devoted himself to digital medium and discovered a new and influential tool, the illustration. In 2010, in Ljubljana, he began a three-year co-operation with the cult Slovene magazine Tribuna, where his socially-responsible, philosophical, political and provocative illustrations and graphic works found their proper place. During the time of this co-operation, Tribuna received 5 awards for the visual image, amongst others in 2010 also the Silver Bra for the artist’s Pavlov Dogs animation, at the Magdalena festival in Maribor. His illustrations were represented at Moderna galerija (Museum of Modern Art) in 2015, within the “Tribuna; a nice newspaper” exhibition and the exhibition “Newspapers are Dead, Long Live Newspapers! Tribuna 2009-2013” (Novine su mrtve, živele novine!” Tribuna 2009-2013) at the G 12 HUB gallery in Belgrade in 2013 as well as in 2011 at the 5th Biennial of Slovene visual communications. Other important co-operations include the magazines Emzin and Razpotja, the newspaper supplement Objektiv and the publishing house Mladinska knjiga. In his attempt to connect his artwork with gallery space, he has discovered infinite creative possibilities to experiment in the collage technique. In the last five years he took part in two solo exhibitions at the Centre for Sonoric Arts at Vodnikova domačija, Ljubljana (together with Colin Blake); the Gallery Stolpa Škrlovec, Kranj, as well as numerous group exhibitions e.g. the International Comics festival, Belgrade; the Ernst Hilger Gallery, Vienna; Anaid Gallery, Bucareste, the Ptuj Ormož Regional Museum; K. O. K. E. M. Contemporary Art Museum and Gallery, Miercurea Ciuc, Romania … )

Dr. Colin Black is an internationally acclaimed composer/sound artist having won the 2015 New York Festivals Awards, 2003 Prix Italia Award and achieving the final round selection in the 2010, 2011, 2015 & 2016 Prix Phonurgia Nova Awards. As a result of this acclaim, Black has received multiple national and international commissions to create innovative sound works for installation and broadcast across major Australian and European networks. Black curator’s credits include, international festival/showcases of award winning acoustic art and radio art at London’s Resonance104.4fm, Kunstradio (ÖRF, Austria) and Toronto’s New Adventures In Sound Art. In 2013 he also curated the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Sound Fix: Your Weekly Dose of Transmitted Audible Art series. Black is a doctoral graduate of the University of Sydney where he was a recipient of the University of Sydney Postgraduate Awards Scholarship. More recently Black has become an adjunct fellow at the University of Western Sydney, a visiting research fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and previously been a casual academic lecturing at the University Technology, Sydney. Black is also the founding member of The International Radio Art (and Creative Audio for Trans-media) Research Group

For more information see:

[1]    Robert Sapolsky discusses physiological effects of stress, We’ve evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick, Stanford News, Stanford University, 2007, at:

Photos of the exhibition by: Sunčan Stone.