Vojtěch Kovařík: Even Heroes Need a Nest at L21 Gallery, Spain
June 4 – July 17th, 2020
All images courtesy of the L21 Gallery
Recent events have changed our perception of time. We held our breath and the dizzying speed at which the world was revolving abated over the last few months. In return, the plethora of hours has become palpable.
For many artists, this has provided an opportunity to slow their pace, reflect on their own practice, and give it the time it deserves. It appears that the mythological characters of the new paintings by Czech artist, Vojtěch Kovařík, have also taken their time and found an opportunity to rest. Their bodies have become heavy, their faces show certain tranquillity and their muscles are relaxed. A kind of dramatic stillness envelops them. These burly heroes now live in an eternal present. Even Kouros, who tends to stand straight up tall, reclines beside a tree against a reddish sunset. Others seek rest by the river or the seashore.
For Paul, Virilio speed is what characterizes the modern world. Now that we have collectively slowed down, what age are we living in? Different eras have been characterised by different ways of thinking and of experiencing time. Whereas the Greek way was a cyclical concept expressed through the cycle of eternal return, the modern concept of time is linear and influenced by the notion of the end of history. An arrow propelled to the wind: an irreversible process in which historical time accelerates and vast transformations take place even during the life of the same generation. The arrow then reached hyperspeed… and this has been interrupted. What kind of time characterises our age then?
Vojtěch Kovařík’s new paintings can provide silent clues to this. His characters do not pick the arrow up from the ground rather they bury it under their enormous feet or rest beside it. The corpulent figures that were so frequently engulfed in dynamic activities such as fighting now appear calm. Like an echo of the Greek era they seem at once mortal and eternal. Perhaps we can learn new ways of being from them and rediscover, for example, that sometimes it is also heroic to immerse oneself in idleness and rest.
Esmeralda Gómez Galera
Vojtěch Kovařík (1993 Valašské Meziříčí) is a Czech artist who lives and works in Rožnov. He graduated from the Faculty of Arts in Ostrava and since then has devoted himself to painting, developing a plastic language that mixes classical influences with a contemporary approach. Kovařík uses a technique of spray and acrylic painting to achieve the mottled skin tones and textures that characterize his work. The strong, muscled characters appear in his work, usually in large formats, as the main theme.
He has participated in residencies such as L21 x Camper Foundation (Palma) The Cabin (LA) or The Fores Project (London). Some of his recent solo exhibitions include “Capture Hypothesis”, The Cabine, Los Angeles (USA), “Lovers and Fighters” Public Gallery, London (UK), “Landscapes of Muscle” or Galerie Dukla, Ostrava (CZ). His work has also been featured in contemporary art fairs such as ARCO Madrid (L21 Gallery) or Frieze NY (Mendes Wood