Jiri Georg Dokoupil- Chech Republic’s most renowned artist opens his new and unpredictable exhibition at DSC Gallery in Prague. While Dokoupil is renowned for switching styles and methods of working (sometimes even daily or weekly) – those who are familiar with his practices wide spectrum couldn’t anticipate these fantastically delicate looking “ furniture” objects. Functional/ dysfunctional they delude the viewer: from a distance they look like 2D flat free standing objects, yet on closer inspection their 3D volume is revealed, creating a playful and joyful object based installation. On even closer inspection one discovers they are not only functional but also versatile – Dokoupil’s genius vision allows for most of the “furniture” to turn sideways and/or upside down giving a completely different perspective and purpose on each occasion, yet still retaining its 2D to 3D quality.
This new body of work derives from Dokoupil’s laziness – so he jokingly claims –and by which he means he sees the entire universe as his inspiration and daily life as his research. He cannot pin point one particular influence for his ideas but rather a cacophony of sounds/ visions/ thoughts/ conversations/ sexual energy and dreams.
Dokoupil does, however, makes suggested contextualisation for this installation by its symbolism for current culture, or rather the lack of it: as today’s generation hides behind a 2Dimensional social media existence, screens and TVs, the world perspective is changing, much like his objects – vision is blared and the world becomes a bizarre illusion of peoples lives. The truth veiled behind the screen, and emotions and real communication -masked.
Refreshingly and in sharp contrast to most artworks presented in pristine white galleries- Dokoupil’s sculptures permits if not demand’s interaction- the crowd is invited to sit touch and move the installation as they please while the artist documents the experience on his camera, this live performance documented by photography becomes an interesting artwork in itself, creating a human sculptural piece.
This playfulness is a thread throughout Dokoupil’s vast bodies of work and is even further extenuated by some of his most renowned “bubble paintings” presented on the lower ground floor of DSC magnificent space.
Dokoupil invented the bubble paintings technique in 1992 and it remains his signature body of work. He fills large soap bubbles with pigment allowing it to organically float about and explode into the canvas. The result appears as a magnificent unrefined variegated shapes resembling live primal sea creatures or ameba, maybe even sperm.
Speaking of which, when questioned about the apparent absence of sexuality in these two bodies of work -Dokoupil- a self proclaimed sex addict explicates that his idea of sexual energy is the source of his creative drive, thus, does not necessarily manifest in the artwork’s subject matter itself but is set as a backdrop- the energy which initiate his life his work his passion. Dokoupil further explains his view and belief of a more sexual existence – influenced by theories of Tao- where sex is the core of the human spirit its “ Chi”.
This sub context to his approach brings all of his artwork and what seems to many people as his “madness” or “inconsistence” into perspective: Dokoupil is a brilliant, spiritual, intellectual artist who declares that the complexity of humans can not be represented with one line- one style – one concern topic, and for such he still remains an outstanding artist. You never know what you will get to see in his next show- but you know it will be good.
Words: Michal Cole – Photo: Deyan Pavlov © all rights reserved
Jiri Georg Dokoupil “Furniture for Fotos” opens at DSC Gallery, Prague 18/May- 22May DSC Gallery Dlouhá 5110 00 Prague Czech Republic www.dscgallery.com