Jiri Svestka

Andrej Dúbravský

08 Mar - 20 Apr 2013

© Andrej Dúbravský
Zlaté piesky
8 March - 20 April 2013

Golden Sands is the first solo exhibition of the young Slovak artist Andrej Dubravsky (1987) in Prague. This collection of paintings, created during the summer 2012 in the artist ́s studio situated at – Golden Sands lake complex near Bratislava, had its first showing during a sunrise on one of the lake ́s islands. After this spectacular launch in form of a site specific installation, Golden Sands was exhibited at Jiri Svestka Berlin last fall (September –November 2012). We are now proud and pleased to present Andrej Dubravsky and Golden Sands in Prague.
Inspired by a visit to Florence, Italy and charmed by Renaissance sculpture, Andrej Dubravsky decided to study fine arts. This link to classical art is formally present in all of his work (reference to Baroque and Rococo style). A bittersweet experience of growing up, everyday moments of boyhood and relationships that bridge the generational gap are pervading in Dubravsky ́s work. These inspirations of classical art mastery, combined with the young spirit of the artists create an original and sometimes even disturbing tension. A loose narcissistic self-reflection is entwined with open reference to young sexuality. Dubravsky ́s iconic bunny ears are recurring motif in his work. Are these ears of young bunnies in the eyes of older men, or a group of young bunnies sharing the secrets and inexperience of youth?
Andrej Dubravsky studied sculpture at the School of Applied Arts in Bratislava. He continued his education at the painting studio of Ivan Csudai. Dubravsky is now in his final year at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava, in the studio of a conceptual artist Daniel Fischer. Even before his graduation (2014) Dubravsky ́s work has been discovered and praised by foreign and local audiences. Jiri Svestka Gallery has presented his work at prestigious art fairs in Basel and New York. Dubravsky belongs, with no doubt, amongst a group of young artists from Central and Eastern Europe, who are within a global context, contributing and reshaping the canon of contemporary art.
Andrej Dubravsky, born 1987 in Slovakia, represents the very young scene of the former socialist country. Gathering experience as sculptor, he graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava and is now mostly working in painting. Formally rather conventional, his paintings are dominated by unorthodox themes like self-gratification, homosexuality or intergenerational relationships. Taking his inspiration from old masters and actual social issues, his artistic gesture is subordinated to the acute need to find the right expression for the variety of feelings and (bittersweet) self-experiences of growing up.
Mainly centered on the male body, his artistic interests match with the up-to-date rules of popular culture: narcissistic self-presentation and inquiries of the own identity. This is somehow similar to Cindy Sherman’s masquerade, but with different intentions. Dubravsky’s ultimate fetish is the bunny-mask, which he (in contrast to Sherman) applies to a variety of portrayed persons, integrating them this way into his own world, which is dominated by the principle of pleasure and pain. Inspired by the myths of gay subculture, his playful bunny-dreaming transcends into a personal symbol, that makes each of his paintings complete. The bunny archetype is crucial to his work; becoming increasingly dominant, it takes a central position in the artist’s self-projection process, which transforms each of his paintings into a sort of self-portrait.
Using the visual language of sexual minorities, Dubravksy tries to seduce the viewer into an intimate relationship. With his paintings, he invites to a friendly journey into an unknown land, changing the visitor into a voyeur. Once caught in the mousetrap, one cannot avoid the variety of layers, which are deeply immanent to Dubravsky’s work. From this point of view, the content of his paintings can be understood as both; a metaphor for sexual awaking and glorification of the youth, or just as a simple image of someones (secret) everyday life. In both cases Dubravsky’s “private show” introduces the general discourse of male identity and male sexuality to a wider audience.

Tags: Andrej Dubravsky, Cindy Sherman