Krokus Gallery: Made in Japan

Erik Šille – Made in Japan

Opening of the exhibition: Thursday September 12th 2013, 7 p.m.

Private preview: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (for invited guests and media)

Location: Krokus Gallery, Námestie 1. mája 3, 81106 Bratislava

Duration of the exhibition: 13.9.‐11.10.2013

Open: Mon – Fri 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (and by prior telephone appointment)

The Krokus Gallery presents an individual exhibition of Erik Šille, entitled “Made in Japan”. It consists of a series of watercolours painted both during and shortly after his three‐month residency in Tokyo which took place at the beginning of 2013. As well as formal and stylistic references to Japanese art and its best‐known personality, Katsushika Hokusai, “The Adventures of Junshi and Stillborn” cycle also features tales from the history and present of the island nation.

In his work, Šille takes an interest in conflicting and exceptionally ambivalent themes, so it comes as no surprise that he preferred to highlight the darker sides of Japanese culture. For example, the phenomenon of traditional ritual suicide called junshi, or the dense forest of Aokigahara on the flanks of Mount Fuji which is surrounded by myths as well as a sought‐after destination for desperate suicides.

However, in his interpretation, it is not the question of death which appears to be the important subject, but rather the theme of a purposeful life. How to live “correctly” in the fast world of instant fashion hits, multinational corporations and ecological devastations. How to find one’s place in society, in a community. These are no longer Japanese topics, even though the participants in the pictures are popular comics characters such as Hello Kitty or Pikachu.

In the enchanting Japanese landscape under Mount Fuji depicted in several pictures, Šille further develops subjects which have occupied his attention for some time and are not localised in one region or place. His strategy is not to conceal his fascination for contemporary Western consumer pop culture and he serves us up with burning issues of ethics in a nice, cute wrapping.

Erik Šille’s work is mainly associated with the idea of large‐scale paintings in acrylic on canvas, as presented in the Krokus Gallery at his successful individual exhibitions in 2009 and 2011. “Made in Japan” is a sample of Šille’s small‐scale oeuvre. An exclusive limited edition of four serigraphs has been produced on the occasion of this exhibition. The exhibition is also a premiere in the gallery’s new exhibition space at Námestí 1. mája 3.

Text: Gabriela Kisová

Erik Šille (born in 1978 in Rožňava), graduate of the AFAD (prof. Ivan Csudai), winner of the Igor Kalný Prize in 2006, winner of VÚB Paintings 2009, laureate of the Tatra Banka Young Artist Prize 2010. In 2012, he took part in a residency project in the Banská St a nica Contemporary cultural centre, and in 2013 in Youkobo Art Space v Tokiu. He is represented in the collections of the Slovak National Gallery, the Nitra Gallery, the VÚB Banka Foundation, the Wannieck Gallery (CZ), the Marek Collection (CZ), EP Collection Brussels (BEL), and others.

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