Artist: Martin Lukáč
Exhibition title: Two Hands and a Magnifying Glass
Curated by: Christina Gigliotti
Venue: Fait Gallery, Brno, The Czech Republic
Date: November 30, 2016 – January 17, 2017
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Fait Gallery
With Two Hands and a Magnifying Glass, Martin Lukáč is searching for something and so am I. We are searching for completely different things. Within his work, I am hunting for a deeper meaning that goes beyond his skilled aesthetic decision-making. He is searching for a way to escape this.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were named after Italian Renaissance masters – Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael and Michaelangelo. If anything this represents an example of the re-terretorialization of art into the realm of pop-culture, which is not an uncommon occurrence. Portraying these fictional crime-fighting characters on canvas plucks them out again from their designated position, and a constant back and forth shifting takes place. Their forms have been ground down to shabby silhouettes bearing sniggering grimaces and their numbers surge, they multiply and transform into ghoulish or uncanny versions of one another. These are not portraits, but likenesses, looking into cracked mirrors. Repetition and excess are ever-present throughout Lukáč’s work, which suggests a long pursuit, an exhaustive endeavor. For this exhibition the focused effort has been magnified, however, one cannot say that there is any sign the artist has found what he is looking for – there is no hint of satisfaction or closure. Instead, there is a feeling that the repetition may continue unceasingly, whether through creating twenty paintings or a thousand.
This notion of excess also leaks from Lukáč’s work as he regularly traverses the barriers between art, design, and fashion. Taking symbols from pop-culture, his gestural abstract paintings can be found placed within installations that resemble stage sets of Nike sneaker commercials. These deliberations are neither critiques of nor odes to consumerism – but lie somewhere in between. The question is whether or not the viewer can tell the difference between the very references he uses, and the original sources themselves. Perhaps it does not matter. I believe that Lukáč and his work are one in the same – that he takes on a kind of Deleuzian “controlled hysteria”, where the artist becomes the work, which in turn reflects the intensity of sensations and impulses present within him. Perhaps the works do not mirror one another after all, but the artist himself – the reflection of which is a bit arrogant, distorted, and unfinished – as all humans are.
Martin Lukáč (born 1989 in Piešťany, Slovakia) is a painter currently living and working in Prague. Lukáč’s work often nods to or directly references the recently-past aesthetic forms he encountered during his life growing up in post-occupied Bratislava. Subjects or motifs from 90s pop-culture (music, sports, television) are often present, and declare themselves through a certain gestural repetition on the canvas. Lukáč graduated from the Painting Studio of Jiří Černický and Marek Meduna in 2016. His most recent solo exhibitions include No Love all Hate at 35M2 Gallery, Prague, and “Bon Appétit” (duo show with David Krňanský) Ivan Gallery, Bucharest, Romania. He exhibited his work in group exhibitions in The National Gallery in Prague – Trade Fair Palace (2016), Leto, Warsaw (2016), I: project space, Beijing (2016), and Galerie AMU (2015), among others. He will exhibit his work in Nevan Contempo (under the name BHG) in December 2016.