Marko Jakše: Against the Flow

You are hereby kindly invited to attend the opening of Against the Flow, an exhibition of art works by Marko Jakše. The opening will take place on Friday, 17 January 2020, in two parts: at 6 p. m. at the artKIT Gallery, Glavni trg 14, Maribor, and at 8 p. m. at the KiBela Gallery of the Multimedia Center KIBLA in Maribor.



Marko Jakše's debut in Maribor took place in 1996 in Pekarna and at the Maribor Art Gallery (UGM). Two years later, his exhibition Noetova barka (Noah's Ark) laid the cornerstone for today's KiBela Gallery. Since then, one could say that Maribor has become, as it were, a second hometown for Marko Jakše. Always a favorite in the eyes of both the crowd and the critics, this rebel »with a cause« fights the Establishment because he believes that the system impoverishes art and strips art of its basic postulate, which is freedom.

"The necessity for renewal is urgent, so much that it burns...and I'm as eager as hell! The day is fresh and shiny, the sun rays glimmering through the linden tree like crystals, the sun grinning straight at me...I'm sorry, but this really isn't a day to be spent in the studio, behind closed walls!"

Against the Flow is a manifest rejection of the structure of the contemporary art space, which is being slotted into red tape mechanisms and dictates. With ruthless honesty, it works through the terminological apparatus which dominates our space and time: project, concept, study, conemporaneity, series, cycle, curator, intellectual, theory, and understanding – Jakše deals with each of the terms separately:


......and when it comes to painting, I don't give a fuck about:

            - the word P R O J E C T (because "mental planning" has got no place in painting, especially not at the beginning. Intention and purpose reside in projects, which are hostile and hazardous to a painting in the making.) 

            - the word C O N C E P T (because it eradicates the elemental spontaneity, "the ethics of art" ...)

            - the word S T U D Y (because we never learn anything anyway, and because a painting is not there for us to understand something, but rather to feel and marvel at it, to "reminisce", to awaken, to encourage and to stay in touch (with ourselves).)

            - the word S E R I E S (because it reminds me of monotonous, repetitive work on an assembly line, which painting is definitely not.)

            - the word C Y C L E  (because everything flows, and there are no borders.)

            - the word C U R A T O R (because there are just distastefully many terrible curators-parasites in this world; and anyway a good curator can only be the painter himself, or better yet, the painting itself.)

            - the word I N T E L L E C T U A L (because if the painter's quest is not primarily playing, but rather a reflection of the intellect, which imagines knowing something and being really good at it - then it is boring, and harmful.)

            - the word T H E O R Y (because it tends to explain and thereby imposes, restricts and directs, which is not what art needs.)

            - the word U N D E R S T A N D (because painting is neither science nor philosophy, but rather - if anything - far closer to a "visual music of colors and shapes", where the mind always comes up a little short, a little featherheaded, and even loses its entire meaning.)

            - the word C O N T E M P O R A N E I T Y (because "the contemporary" is becoming increasingly unfree, pressing, inhibiting, stifling, unlifelike-inorganic, calculated, bogus, artificial, synthetic, feeble-minded, tawdry, etc.)

Mohorje, 14 October 2019

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. Paintings like Bela čreda (White Herd), Rekonvalescenca (Reconvalescence), Bela žlica (White Spoon) 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?    

(Aleksandra Kostič)

Admission is free, and we look forward to your visit.
The exhibition will be showing until 15 February 2020.

Foto: Janez Klenovšek

Photo: Janez Klenovšek



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