Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana: Good Day Today!

Matej Čepin: Good Day Today!

08 May – 24 May 2013

Matej Čepin, Funny Games

With clichés like ‘Good Day, Isn’t It?’ and killingly boring staring exhibitionists, weirdoes, and derails of all kinds slurp the energy from Čepin’s paintings, demanding attention from the passers-by in the secluded corners of dark parks. The victim experiences a trauma and the image of the molester and the surroundings impresses on the person’s memory instantly. Matej Čepin, a painter from Celje explores exactly the images of otherness and familiarity provoking the feeling of uneasiness through his paintings and installations. In his attempt to understand the characters of his imagination, he becomes a voyeur, a passive ally, depicting petrified images of a shock.

The phenomena that simultaneously attract and repulse, the feelings of familiar and yet strange often force us to reject the object of observation even before we should be able to understand it. The creations of Matej Čepin build up exactly on these feelings of the Freudian Das Unheimliche. It is about the fear of oneself, of which we wish it had not existed, yet we suspect that it is well with us. The fear of death and us being doomed for the dear ones.

In his setting up of the exhibition Good Day, Isn’t It? into the exhibition space the artist places by-the-content related scenographic installations. There are figures clad in old-fashioned attire, frozen in the moments of unusual chores representing a constitutive part of the installations. Alienation and entrapment into the morbid outdatedness in time and space that suddenly develops into a shock can be linked to films of David Lynch, e.g. Eraserhead (1977), videos from the series Clown Torture by Bruce Nauman, (1987), or performances and videos of Paul McCarthy, e.g. The Painter (1995). It is in the works of the mentioned artists that Matej Čepin is looking for the ways of how to create an appropriate psychological impact of the paintings and installations on the viewer.

His creativity is certainly defined by the fact that the author is employed by a shelter for the homeless in Celje, as there he witnesses unusual fates and occurrences stemming from social and character traumas. The daily press represents an inexhaustible source of his bizarre topics. He collects photographs and unusual headlines. He glues the selected cut-outs on his studio walls, creating a collage of folk morbidities and obsessions who represent a kind of a wall newspaper conveying the message: ‘That can’t be true, but it is!’

The collages serve as a model for the canvases of big format, entitled ‘obscure gardens’, where the figures, depicted flatly and realistically, protrude from the thick coating of the relief of the secluded impressionistic nature by their purity and their effect. The retrospective of the author’s opus shows various stages of his research. In his early works we can notice similarities in relation to depicting carnival crowds, like James Ensor’s, or intimate portraits of Gabrijel Stupica, as well as the obvious decomposing figures of Francis Bacon. At the same time the artist’s abstract expressionistic experimenting can be sensed especially when painting secluded nature. Even though Matej Čepin often exhibits in Slovenia and abroad, there is a part of his extensive and varied opus in a solo exhibition in Ljubljana for the very first time.

Jani Pirnat

Matej Čepin, Ein Garten in … (And She's Not Even Pretty)

Alkatraz Gallery
Masarykova 24, 1000 LJUBLJANA

Opening hours:
Monday – Thursday: 11am-3pm & 4pm-8pm
Friday: 3pm-11pm

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