It is impossible not to think about vintage and nostalgic photos once we are confronted by large-scale monochrome paintings of Jakub Hubalek. Huge areas of dark colors, shades of gray, along with figurative elements and a feeling of a photographic blur, all of this forms the visual language of the Czech painter. Ponyhof artclub in Munich is proud to showcase the new series of paintings, whose grotesquely exaggerated language is a vehicle put forward by the artist and put in the service of provocation, examination of art history and questioning of existential loneliness that sits at the core of today’s society.
Jakub Hubalek is a nostalgic of our time. Not surprisingly then, he reaches back into the past attempting to better understand the present and to envision or to even stir the future into a place where the virtual world is not the dominating force. Hubalek attempts to do just this by focusing much of his work on the analyses of the state of adolescence, bringing forward the empty feeling inside of today’s society. The pressure of the capitalist society is slowly pushing the humanity to its bowling point, and the loss of a true identity along with the feeling of not being grounded in the shape-shifting world around us makes us all feel lost. The need to always be present and relentlessly active brought us all to a state of constant anxiety. This contemporary discourse vibrates from the surfaces of Hubalek’s paintings, which stand as examples of New Objectivity existing at a crossroad between figurative painting and abstract art.
The figures in Hubalek’s paintings are all active. They are all about the body, the action, the achievement, or the fight, and the lack of any detail of the faces reflects, even more, the feeling of alienation and mysticism. The painter on purpose plays with the natural and the supernatural against each other pin-pointing to the existential loneliness forcing the viewer’s curiosity to a deeper analysis by this juxtaposition. The artist’s color choice and the gray palette reflect the cool poetry of the world. The painted figures and the emotions that they attempt to convey almost seem forced. There is no color; there is no personality in the painted figures reflecting the idea that to grow up in a capitalist society and to reach the Facebook persona is a modern day Sisyphus’ stone.
The figuration of the Czech painter Jakub Hubalek is proudly brought to us by the Ponyhof artclub in Munich. By attempting to appropriate and to use elements of black and white photography, the nostalgic feeling is strong and it forces the viewer to reflect upon the state of the world today. The artist’s solo exhibition, featuring the works and reflecting the above-mentioned questions, is available to the Munich’s public starting 14th of July and lasting until 3rd September 2016.
All images courtesy of Ponyhof Artclub, Munich. Featured image: Jakub Hubalek – The Box, detail.