Juraj Florek

  • Slovakia (b. 1986)
  • currently living and working in Budapest


In general, the city itself is a material for research for me. I am a 100% urban plein-air painter and my idealism motivates me to reinterpret plein-air painting and to adapt it to the current post-industrial landscape. The subject matter is about environments, things and places we can see every day, which acquire a new and fresh angle of view as they are transferred through the medium of oil painting.

I do not shy away from difficult environments and often select dysfunctional, ‘Stalker locations’ with industrial architecture, seemingly unobtrusive corners of present-day cities, or examples of current overwhelmingly poor architecture. All these provide inspiration for the painter who is seeking their unadorned truth. At the same time, painting represents an honest celebration of everyday life, explores the author's social environment and is an expression of his enjoyment of life in the city.

I like applying the method of plein-air painting to new urban environments. I am also gradually developing the painting of industrial objects – whether functioning, abandoned or converted to a new function – as my favorite sub-genre of Cityscape painting, since they are an integral part of the modern urban landscape.

In painting, I prefer the freshness of an immediate painting record to the perfectionism of veristic painting. The resulting images are intended to invite the viewer to share in an adventure, which open-air painting in an urban environment certainly is. They are also meant to convey the nature of the explorer’s mind, which I transfer to my painting, especially through the search for motives in urbanized countries. Although the main aim is to introduce the viewer to ‘out of comfort zone’ painting action, the choice of topics is usually sophisticated and deals either with some overlooked interesting part of the city, a banality, or thematises the contemporary visual trash of our cities, which are paradoxically all very picturesque. Thus, paintings developed in this way become a living documentation of our times.

Plein-air painting is on the periphery in the context of contemporary painting. Among the reasons for this are its inherent difficulties, such as testing the author’s limits while painting outdoors and not being afraid to go against the stream, that is, the mainstream of current major trends in the field of painting. Cityscape plein-air painting seems to be a landscape painting genre that is not outmoded and offers an extensive field for exploring painting themes and technical approaches nowadays. Plein-air painting, however, is reduced to an educational tool in Sunday schools of painting and preparatory courses for art novices.

My long-term intention is to raise awareness of the Cityscape painting genre. In the current excess of technically reproducible visual images, authentic, fresh plein-air painting, which does not provide only valuable content, but also fine form, appears to be a good possible direction in which painting can progress.    /JF/