Friday, January 31, 2014
my opening is tonight!!!
KONEC /// THE END
paintings and drawings
Rokycanova 33 (in the courtyard)
This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of everything that stands
Jim Morrison – The End
Its probably not a good idea to have a skull in the studio. It sits on the shelf, empty eye sockets blindly gazing back at you. You start to have too many negative, even apocalyptic thoughts, and besides its in the air these days, environmental and economic collapse, mass extinction. Fun fun fun. What do we paint about at the end of the world? Is there a point to art anymore, if our grandchildren might be the last to walk the earth? Is this just some bizarre christian American obsession that got stuck in my mind from growing up over there? Or do our nightmares only come true when we keep thinking about them, giving them power?
A big ship on the horizon is evocative of travel, of times past, of the urge to escape. Like skulls, the Titanic has also become a kind of kitsch, almost all representational imagery suffers from this cynicism, the power of the image is being sucked dry. Can we say the word Titanic without thinking of Leonardo di Caprio? Hollywood is slowly but inexorably colonizing the imagination and the internet is destroying culture as we know it. In my paintings, the party’s over, there’s nothing left but a few sad monkeys, and the ship is moving away like a mirage. Are we going down like the Titanic, a one-way voyage to the bottom of the sea? When I emigrated I made my artistic journey explicit, and now I am like a ship at sea.
I might be tempting fate to call my exhibition The End. Will it be my last exhibition? To be a great artist, one needs a little black magic. It may all be smoke and mirrors, but you cant see the sleight of hand. The paintings group together and, like a good magic trick, become something greater than the sum of their parts. If I could clap my hands, spin around and vanish in a puff of smoke, I would. I’ve already disappeared twice, and every time I reappeared in the Czech Republic. I guess I’m a bad magician, it may take some time before I disappear again. That will be my last trick.
Lawrence Wells (1965) studied painting at Indiana University, and he received his MFA from the University of Mississippi (1992). He has lived in Prague for more than 12 years. In the years 2007–2008 he had a residency at Meet Factory. In Prague he has exhibited at Berlinskej model, AM180, NTK, and now at Galerie Kytka.