Adam Šakový develops reflections on the function of painting and its (in)ability to reflect reality in the latest cycle Stones (2019/20), in which, unlike artificially constructed “landscape paintings”, he works with (relatively) existing material. Šakový’s program takes over figural scenes, details or lesser-known views of the top works of European late Renaissance and Baroque sculpture. He trims the composition in a punk way. Follows gestures or specific body details of figures. He approaches historical material analytically and without emotions. He is not interested in an excursion into the history of art, nor in mythological stories or iconography of saints. His curatorial selection is connected by an interest in the motif of drapery, ecstatic body, athletic muscles or round curves. He chooses tense and exciting situations that contrast with calm to post-mortem motives. The difference between life and death is even more blurred. He tears the scenes from the historical context, thanks to which they expand the ideological scope of the topic of interpersonal relationships and unexpected erotic tension. The sculptural quality of the masterpieces used lets the juicy spatial modeling sound, which supports Šakový’s interest in the play of light and shadow. The choice of black and white monochrome color reminiscent of the appearance of digital 3D renders confirms that the selected sculptures are only a modulatable material for him. Despite the fact that it is fascinating to watch a perfect transcription of a spatial object on the surface of a painting canvas, the whole concept is further developed by levitating objects, which with their spatial qualities and cast shadows change the nature of scenes. Sculptural figures soften and blur in dynamic-static situations. The focus shifts to fragments of stones and abstract structures of marble slabs, the hardness of which contrasts with the soft modeling of the sculptures. The elusive logic of space and time is accelerated by absurd shadows that actively dynamize calm situations and physical metamorphoses. At the same time, the motifs of the stones blur the imaginary boundary between the painting and the object. The idea leading to the author’s spatial realizations resulted in “marble” blocks, which symbolize the initial phase of the newly emerging sculptures.
Text by Michal Stolarik
The Central Slovakian Gallery