Marko Jakše: Grief Eater
Marko Jakše: Grief Eater
24 February–22 March 2023
Kranjčar Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia
You are cordially invited to the opening of the solo exhibition Grief Eater by Marko Jakše, which will take place on Friday, 24 February 2023, at 7 p.m. at the Kranjčar Gallery (Kaptol 26, Zagreb, Croatia).
Archaic nomadism in the timeless
Marko Jakše is a painter. The visions in his works are integral. This means he is also a dramaturge, a carver, a choreographer, a screenwriter, a set designer, an aquaphile, a jutegrapher, a colorophile, an architect and urbanist, a demographer, a psychologist, a sociologist, a philosopher, a poet, a humanist, a gerontophile, a biologist, a naturalist, a fashion designer, a zoologist, a tripper, a slovenophile, an individualist, an underling to flies, mosquitoes and other insects, a brother antagonist, a narcissistic protagonist, an emphatic escapist...
Jakše’s paintings are a vivid anthology of visual skills and approaches: trompe l’oeil, perspectivic illusionism, optical geometrical constructions, visual anagrams, anamorphoses, magnifications and minimizations, lucid transformations of retinal perceptions into visual artistic structures, atmospheric surfaces and depths, the fusion of absurd forms, distorted shapes, vehement and compact compositions, color harmonies and disharmonies, three-dimensional modeling, thematic color gradation, grisaille... in short, an anthology of old-school fine art inventions.
Grisaille mastered by a master, the rabbit...
He is equally dedicated to the conception of large paintings as he is to the most minute details within the painting. Large-scale canvases, like those with the surface of about three square meters, could be cut up into square decimeters, and still each of the pieces would function perfectly well on its own. Like memory game cards for Alice in Wonderland.
The detail of the eye. Eyes are one of the most beautiful things to be found both in the animal, as well as the human world. Or even in the world of plants. Jakše’s eyes are tremendous, they ooze character, a myriad of attributes and sensations; tired, suffering, staring, cunning, evil, cruel, kind, gentle, disappointed, sad… a stereoscopic fountain of emotions and feelings. A manifestation of suffering and deadness in the constricted pupils, the cloudy colorful irises, and the bleary, watery scleras. Purity within the impure.
Jakše’s depictions are a serious game; matured fruits of accurate, piercing, hedonistically lethargic, multiple long-lasting observations of nature. Wonderment. The painstaking and pleasure of mimesis, the fundamental task of painting as such; then a few turns to the side, a couple of swings forward and circling, submersion, a leap ahead and – a strange meta-fusion is created, combining something entirely partial and universal at the same time; unique blends of playful imagery, of extrovert emotions and complex, unfathomable mental images; trippy lush voyages from the here-and-now to the archaic once-upon-a-time, onwards to a microscopic orgasmogram and backwards into the disappearing, zero-horizon points of meta-romantic glades.
»...the green-carpeted river banks, the golden rock riverbeds and white pebble shorelines; a pair of herons in a luxuriously slow-motion flight; a couple of buzzards high above; gliding ducks and grebes sleighing under the surface; lascivious, slippery, twinkling, yellow-spotted huchen; a scruffy old wolf pattering solitary under the cupola of the embankment; tiny purple dragonflies sipping at the sweet bug-world...
There, inside an old boat, two figures, soaked by the soft, warm, sprinkling rain and from wading through cold water. Vindiana and Mezlem are paddling in an unsteady rhythm across the seemingly light, yet very heavy structure of the vast, restrained waters, intoxicating and covered with the still warm mist of the grayish air on that last August day...« — Saša Belina
Jakše's paintings span a dramatic arc of empathy for every earthly being, through a critique of the collective evil of the Anthropocene to the perception of the global imbalance of four fundamental elements: fires, dirty rising waters, depleted earth, and extreme air shocks, where very soon, only an islet of earthly paradise will be left. Marko Jakše vigilantly and sensitively translates individual, and collective fear into visual images tells beautiful and frightening stories with light in landscapes of calm and eerie epic dimensions and contrasting color compositions in dominant figures tied in disharmonious knots.
What is the thing that tames us and lies within us, squeezes from the inside out and the outside in? Grisly damaged nature is rapidly devouring our living space, and global pandemic measures have strongly undermined freedom; this essential value clung into this double grip. Responsive dialogue with the only existing entities here and now is the virtue of Marko Jakše. He is not yet a fugitive from the inevitable, and in the studio, he struggles with difficult to tame and uncontrollable opposites ...
Nature is complete co-dependence; an a priori connectivity of the individual into the collective, or the divisibility of the collective into the individual. Like a shaman, Jakše translates to us the forgotten laws of nature, like they used to be understood and abided by men, and vice versa, he projects into nature the spectral fusions of human emotion and mental onanism.
Social satirist George Carlin said: »Whenever I look into somebody’s eyes, I see a wonderful unique individual. As soon as they form packs, they become ugly.« The instrumentalized social pack analyzes, demolishes, differentiates, establishes rules followed by new rules, to the benefit of the ruler; plunders, and kills.
Jakše’s herd is a community of solitary individuals. They are together and yet they are alone. Tamers of the beast. The latter rests inside us. Sometimes, he is an all-accepting masochist. Like a doormat, a carpet, or a coat. Warm and protective. The archetype of mother. At other times she snarls at us, wildly aggressive, in an agony of fear ...
Like the ebb and flow of the tide, through decades, where »everything flows and there are no borders«, colors thicken and thin, from a blue-red harshness of the Marseillaise trumpet, to translucent blackness, gloom and depth, and then back again into light, into the broad, delicate, airy, pastel-light spectrum of high-mountain landscapes, tableland mists, layers of sky, the sun and water; open-closed spaces, inconceivable figures...and just as you think you've put your finger on him, he retreats back into the fire, into the embers, smoldering and burning in Tugomer's* oblivion. *Tugomer is the title and name of the main character in the first Slovene tragedy written by Fran Levstik and Josip Jurčič.
»...Everything and everyone in me, let's stay here, in this comfortable lukewarm puddle, and play again with mud like children, and ravish in tadpoles and their perky tails...Because, my dear frogs, I am with you and I wish to stay with you...for good! I wouldn't want to be like Jure D. or Fernando P. or Franz K. ... but now it's time for me to finally free-dive...take one breath...I don't have much time left, if I wish to exist entirely for a little longer on this tranquil surface...«
It is uncontested that humans are essentially religious beings. However, not in the sense of the rigid, fake, cruel indoctrinations, but rather through all that which distills the essence of what is good and kind in a human being. The drive of religion must be a sophisiticated instrument, which helps to strengthen, or even retain this precious and abused essence of human existence. Would this save mankind, raise the level of humaneness and mutual love? No, it wouldn't. But we must keep on fighting, no matter how hopeless things seem.
And it is precisely in this way that we perceive the art works of Marko Jakše: we see him as a healer of the human soul, as a translator of the spirit in all its intricacy and complexity, as someone who takes in the unbearable pain, as a comforter who points the way up (and down) and who illuminates the darkness with the skill of a sentient listener and a refined savant, through art, the most wonderful of human undertakings. Exhibited paintings and countless others, distill the good and the beautiful; they are the warmest comfort and the most effective medicine. A difficult task, which only true priests can handle – not the self-proclaimed and self-appointed, but those genuine, rare holy men, such as Marko Jakše.
Is that not the best and most wonderful thing that art can give?
… to be continued.
Aleksandra Kostič (2017, 2020, 2021)
The exhibition is curated by Peter Tomaž Dobrila in collaboration with Kranjčar Gallery and is on view until 22 March 2023.
< Marko Jakše, Grief Eater, 2020. Photo: DK.
Kranjčar Gallery, Kaptol 26, Zagreb, Croatia.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3-7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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