Schleifmühlgasse 18 - 1040 Vienna 
+43-1-9207778 - info@galerie-stock.net

galerie michaela stock
8.3. - 20.4.2019
Opening: 7.3., 6 pm

From March 7 to April 20, 2019, galerie michaela stock presents two solo exhibitions Ivica Capan: Candid and Alina Sokolova: Heracleumfall

The artworks displayed in the two exhibition rooms are characterised by a construction of "communication" between the different components. Both artists living and working in Vienna and responding to new conditions of surveillance and hypervisibility in their works. This may lead to the deconstruction and questioning the medium itself and provoke confusion between illusion and testimony. A subtly exhibition links personal histories with wider cultural and political issues from different perspectives.

Digital Control mechanisms are the central theme of Croatian artist Ivica Capan in his first solo exhibition at galerie michaela stock. Capan is using mass media images and gives a critical observation of today's world. Candid challenges the viewer's expectations of art and what the future of internet might be in light of a broader assimilation of digital technologies. Capan's subjects not always only indirectly involve social, media or political criticism. A general topic throughout his works of the past years was that of the armed drone: a weapon that stands for digital control, military and political power of rulers and their deceiving propaganda for clean, supposedly "humane", warfare. He oftentimes also practices this type of "overpainting", here in digital form, in oil on canvas in order to disturb both the clear identifiability of mass-reproduced and distributed pictures and to expand the context of their origin. His work contains thematic references to art history, literature and popular culture and he examines changes that digital technology has wrought upon conceptions of space, time and culture.



Candid remarks on the exhibition "Ivica Capan: Candid" at galerie michaela stock, Vienna 2019
Lucas Gehrmann

"Jumping around and holding your arms as if you were riding an imaginary horse. That's all there is to a dance style that inspired millions of people over night. ... Gangnam Style can be seen as a colorful, fun potpourri or as nuanced social criticism. Either way, the world loves it. However, whether one hit wonder 'Psy' will turn into one of the all-time greats, remains to be seen," an article on n-tv1 said in early November 2012. Just under two months later, the video of the K-pop rapper had reached one billion clicks and, with nearly 2.9 billion views, was the most viewed video in the history of YouTube until July 2017.

Ivica Capan examines the change in our perception of media images as well as artistically produced images in the digital age. Whether it is motifs from classical mythology and historical painting, iconic works of art history or characters from politics and pop culture, whether spread by the millions, copied and saved or hidden in the depths of museum depots: from the moment they are produced, these pictures are subject to varying degrees of attention. Which mechanisms and circumstances lead to such ups and downs, pulsating more and more rapidly, on the barometer of attention? And how can long-time continuities of perception curves – both high and flat – be explained?

Centrally, but small – this is how Ivica Capan positions a snapshot-like film still portrait of the South Korean rap star in his picture titled Ghost. However, there is also a ghostly appearance of a much larger figure, with one hit wonder Psy seemingly galloping out of its collar while performing. This figure is Hugo Ball, co-founder of Cabaret Voltaire, dressed in a Dadaist costume. The underlying photo dates back to 1916 and has been digitally transformed in a "pictorial" way – just like nearly all other motifs emerging in this picture – they include fragments of dogs taken from a hunting scene from an old master or eucalypt flowers swaying like sea anemones. Just like Dadaism is considered the pioneering movement of all performance art, all elements involved here appear to be swinging into action, performing and mutually animating. In another picture of this series, Capan uses a sentence that John Baldessari made his students write down repeatedly in 1971 – "I will not make any more boring Art" – while at the same time defeating its criticism of minimalism with its multiple repetition. The contemporary artist may well have used Baldessari's sentence in a literal sense, since the flickering fluid reality of a virtual media cosmos can hardly be achieved by purely minimalist-reductionist means.

Like in Ghost, Capan also uses the language and potential of painting, film and digital image generation in Flowerpower in such a way that we, the viewers, realize that many things are right about "information", and many things are not. The title figure in this picture – or more to the point, its textile cover – emanates from the James Bond movie Skyfall (2012). The artist gives Bond's "nasty" adversary, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a body of flowers and berries taken from a rare flower still life of (historical) painter Eugène Delacroix. Capan oftentimes also practices this type of "overpainting", here in digital form, in oil on canvas in order to disturb both the clear identifiability of mass-reproduced and distributed pictures and to expand the context of their origin. Looking at Flowerpower, Charles Baudelaire's poems Les Fleurs du Mal, published between 1857 and 1868, may come to mind. It is about the "biopsy of the abyss gaping in a subject suffering through the development of modern awareness as an emotional ordeal"²: "One, Nature! burns and makes thee bright / One gives thee weeds to mourn withal / And what to one is burial / Is to the other life and light."³

Ivica Capan's subjects not always only indirectly involve social, media or political criticism. A general topic throughout his works of the past years was that of the armed drone: a weapon that stands for digital control, military and political power of rulers and their deceiving propaganda for clean, supposedly "humane", warfare. One time, Capan lets it crash, like haughty Phaeton, in front of a photo reproduction of Peter Paul Rubens's painting Fall of Phaeton, or blusters about Hieronymus Bosch's great Last Judgment triptych, another time the drone – always of the Predator type (equipped with hellfire missiles) – flies over Paolo Veronese's painting Le Pene dell'Amore/Scorn (also Il disinganno), created around 1575, from his four-part series Allegories of Love (National Gallery, London).
As Martina Fleischer writes, Ivica Capan, on the one hand "makes a contribution to conveying [...] fundamental matters of value immanent to western culture in line with Fernand Braudel's structuralist understanding of history as 'longue durée'. On the other hand, he combines the painting values [of the old masters] with contemporary painting and digital media to create modern paintings ...".4 Even if the artist doubts the traditional production of pictures and therefore continuously challenges it anew, he is nonetheless thinks "that painting is called upon to take on the difficult situation of visual oversaturation and brings along the experience and knowledge to create new things again."5

1 n-tv, 3 November 2012, https://www.n-tv.de/leute/film/Gangnam-Style-erobert-die-Welt-article7651156.html
2 German blurb edition rowohlt, 2017, https://www.rowohlt.de/hardcover/charles-baudelaire-les-fleurs-du-mal-die-blumen-des-boesen.html
3 Charles Baudelaire, Blumen des Bösen/Les Fleurs du Mal, translated from French to German by Terese Robinson, Munich: Georg Müller Verlag 1925, quoted from: gutenberg.spiegel.de/buch/blumen-des-bosen-les-fleurs-du-mal-1363/1
English quoted from: https://fleursdumal.org/poem/216, Jack Collings Squire, Poems and Baudelaire Flowers (London: The New Age Press, Ltd, 1909)
4 Martina Fleischer, "Drohnen im Paradies – Eine alltägliche Apokalypse", in: Hieronymus Bosch 500, exhibition brochure of the Paintings Gallery of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, July 6 to October 9, 2016.
5 Ivica Capan, quoted in: Lucas Gehrmann, "Ivica Capan. Bilder sind nicht Bilder. Malerei zwischen Entmaterialisierung und gesellschaftspolitischem Appell", unpubl. manuscript, Vienna 2016.




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galerie michaela stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna
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PRESS
press release | Ivica Capan: Candid and Alina Sokolova: Heracleumfall

press image 1: Ivica Capan, Allegory, 2015, fine art print / Hahnemühle Photo Rag, matt, mounted on Alu-Dibond, 150 x 150 cm, edition 3 + AP, Courtesy: Ivica Capan / galerie michaela stock

press image 3: Ivica Capan, Ghost, fine art print / Epson Cold Press Natural, 162,3 x 112,3 cm, edition 3 + AP, Courtesy: Ivica Capan / galerie michaela stock

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