Jiri Georg Dokoupil
03 Jun – 12 Aug 2016
Jiri Georg Dokoupil’s new bronze sculptures appear somewhere between figurative and formless. Their making involves pouring paint over found, mass-produced figurines – Buddhas, Madonnas, Jesus on the cross, bullfighters, ships etc. – and casting the resulting forms in bronze. The bronzes are then patinated in various colours and shades.
Because of their status as reproduced objects, the found figurines are connected to the loss of aura typical of modern commodities; they are things we normally encounter as copies or ‘simulacra’ made for sale in unlimited series. Further they belong to a group of objects classifiable as religious or sentimental kitsch. Maybe in this way they are still embodying a kind of transient aura. By pouring paint over the objects the outlines of the figures are blurred and transformed into shapes which are alternately grotesque, humorous, uncanny or enigmatic. Their blurred or melted appearance reminds of how things are sometimes covered up or otherwise taken over by organic processes if left alone in nature.
The new sculptures are also works highly involved in process. As the clear identification of the figures become destabilized, the work process is instead made articulate as a language partially beyond conscious intentions. Process is evident especially in the works’ reference to gravity and in how gravity helps to determine the flow of paint. Both the accent on process and the interest in religious and mass cultural icons can be traced in much of Dokoupil’s work. In this way the sculptures are in dialogue with many of the painting series of recent decades.
Besides the bronze sculptures the exhibition also contains new paintings made of soap bubbles mixed with colour pigments. Dokoupil began making the so-called soap bubble paintings in 1992-93. Since then he has been extending this technique in different directions. In 2013 we presented a selection of soap bubble works painted with metallic coloured soap bubbles on black grounds. In contrast to these works the new paintings in the exhibition are all made on coloured grounds. The overlapping of colour and colour increases the all-over quality of the image space as front and background of the picture become equally intense.