Martin Lukáč

  • Slovakia (b. 1989 in Piešťany)
  • Currently in Prague, Czech Republic.
untitled 2016

untitled 2016

  • 2016
  • Oil on Canvas
  • 145 x 110 cm

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    "No Love all Hate" | 2016

Let´s get serious now. I´m listening to 90´s hip-hop and browsing Tumblr looking at new drawings by Martin Lukáč. The non-stop perusing of internet blogs with it´s overwhelming tide of information is just as typical for Martin´s work as it´s reduction of style. This contrast seems to me to be of great significance. You need to first absorb as many of the outside world´s influences as possible to then be able to reduce them to their essence. Running a hip-hop playlist in the background while i "consume" Martin´s drawings seems also important to me because of a story he once told me. When he was growing up in the seeming shadow of Bratislava´s largest housing estate Petržalka his attention was captured by a graffiti of a basketball player on a wall. He was not pictured as a winner or a loser. It was just a picture of him with his back hunched, maybe tired after a match. Maybe there was a strange mixture of happiness and sadness inside his head and he wasn´t able to see the difference between them clearly enough so he hid himself from the world in his hands. This basketball player theme can also be read as a throwback to the 90´s, the african-american culture taking form in basketball and hip-hop, that influenced Martin. But can Martin´s artwork even really be read? We are entering an exhibition space. The black and yellow coloring greets us with it´s boldness. We meet it half-way, the paintings are silent but at the same time they are projecting some kind of strange energy. We hesitate. Should we move right, left or just stay still? We move closer and examine the coat of red paint dissolving itself into green. We are framing with our eyes the essence of painting – brushstroke and color in their clarity and fullness. We step back and a red eye presents itself. It pulls us in, to an oil-scented landscape. Of course we can talk about Martin´s paintings. Of course they can help us verbalize references to the history of art. Find the time periods with with they are flirting. We can wax lyrical about their randomness or just as easily argue about their strict construction. We can see emerging figural motives that are being abstracted. We can also observe certain markings, their repetition and variation. For example the authors initials often in large scale, not ment as a signature but as a part of the overall composition. Floating through space, sometimes even becoming a one singular component and that´s not even mentioning the ever-present and repeating symbol of a line-grid. Even the reduced color palette invites different interpretations. Black and yellow are far from each other. Just like love and hate. But despite that they share, in these painted surfaces, some kind of mutual aggression, that forms an assault on our sight. But at the same time we feel a harmony that is brought on by the taming of the aggression using the right-angled order of the frames. The installation of the paintings on plywood is supposed to bring us closer to the authors experience. It is created everyday by him drawing on a wooden table in his studio. Recreating this visual situation is crucial because it is what the author wants to relocate to the context and space of a gallery. The spacial context is just as important as a singular painting in the authors and also our perception. The exhibit becomes not a sum of its parts but a sum of reflections (like the spacial one). The landscape of reflections that is created this way is much more immersive. It can pull us in and break our detachment. Yes we can read it but should we? History is defined by the relationship between literal and visual culture. The clash between them is the clash of continual logic and magical looping. Vilém Flusser said that the time of the image is the time of the eternal return of itself. It appears that Martin achieves this with his obsessive freeing of painterly gestures. It is important to realize this while walking through the exhibition space. You can read the past, the present and the future here but the paintings represent a kind of timelessness that we can immerse ourselves in. So let us avert our eyes from this context. Throw it away and see the black and yellow jungle before us. -František Fekete