Coming back for his third solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Gallery is Sao Paulo-based Stephan Doitschinoff. Inspired by the notions of appropriation, consumerism culture and the imminent ecological crisis, the Brazilian artist, also known as Calma, will present a new body of works consisting of series of paintings, sculptures and drawings. Stephan Doitschinoff is known for his site-specific projects which often explore religious symbolism and urban aspects. The 2009 documentary film TEMPORAL follows his research of Bahia, regarding Brazilian folklore, African animism and religion syncretism. He was named Most Promising Artist by the Sao Paulo Art Critics Association and is one of Brazil’s most intriguing contemporary artists.
In his work, Stephan Doitschinoff assigns contemporary meanings to recognisable religious symbols. Striping them down from any abstract context, he turns icons like the altar or the procession into elements of popular culture, intertwined with his own observations and thoughts. His artworks create multiple dialogues between spiritual traditions of the past and the systems of power influencing modern-day society - politics and marketing. The vibrant and information-packed paintings and drawings depict a sort of a utopian world, where letters, crosses and flags build surreal, yet warning scenarios of the end of life as we know it. In a way, they represent both intriguing works of art and eerie predictions of the fatal consequences of our (un)intentional actions.
The complexity of the environmental issues of today are one of the backbones in Stephan Doitschinoff’s creation. One of the greatest influences on the new works in Three-Planet Lifestyle were the teachings of Estonian activist and writer Kalle Lasn, who pronounced consumerism culture as one of the main reasons why we are facing a massive ecological crisis. While organisations like the World Wildlife Fund confirm the fact that there will be a great lack of resources and very soon too, it seems like the humankind still shows no interest in resolving the issue. By almost completely ignoring it, we somehow rely on the problem solving itself. Many of Stephan Doitschinoff’s pieces carry the artist’s signature inscription CRAS, drawing our attention to our destructive habit of procrastination, threatening to be the end of us.
The exhibition is a reminder of the poor state of our planet at this moment and an invitation to take better care of it and to really start making all the individual improvements we can. Let us not be scared away by the complexity of it all, because if we do, its simple outcome will make us matter no more. Stephan Doitschinoff’s Three-Planet Lifestyle exhibition will be on view at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City from September 10th until October 10th, 2015. The opening reception is scheduled for September 10th, from 6pm to 8pm on 557C West 23rd Street.
Featured image: Stephan Doitschinoff - Mandala 1, detail
All images courtesy of Jonathan LeVine Gallery
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