Vojtěch Kovařík → Destinies Of Stone Faces

March 3rd - April 16th, 2022

Galerie Derouillon, Étienne Marcel

Born in 1993 in Czech Republic, he carries the multiple legacies of a generation born after the fall of the USSR with independence and openness to a globalized Western culture.

Kovařík’s large canvases reflect his deep knowledge of art history: schematic figures evoke Picasso, expressive colors summon Matisse and Gauguin while the work on volume lets us see Léger’s influence. But his approach to bodies is also deeply influenced by the Soviet sculptures of propaganda he was surrounded by during his childhood in Eastern Europe.

Kovařík tackles the figure of the mythical hero who legitimates painting since the Classical Age. He interrogates the other side of the heroes, their intimate torments, and depicts these men (according to most of the stories) regaining their humanity. Vojtěch Kovařík’s characters are gender fluid, assuming their bodies are like vessels for the secular story they carry. Like if the artist focuses more on the personal experience of the character than the well-known Greek mythology largely depicted in classical painting over the centuries. Why do these myths persist through the centuries and in our Western visual culture?

Vojtěch Kovařík is trying to address this question by updating our perception of these figures with new narratives. This is where his work shines: by marrying those different types of storytelling, the mythological one, the political propaganda one, the contemporary imagery one, Kovarik gives birth to a painting that bears the figurative tradition, yet opening a path for an open-ended future.

Vojtěch Kovařík
Somewhere in The Greenery, Nearby The River, Pan is Looking for Hollow Reeds To Create a Musical Instrument Bearing The Name of his Beloved Syrinx, 2022
Acrylic on canvas
137 3/4 x 110 1/4 inches

© Grégory Copitet