Patrik Proško

On the Edge of Reality

Illusion Art Museum Prague, 2018

Independent exhibition

On the Edge of Reality

The core principle that permeates the art of Patrik Proško (1974) first surfaced in a series of drawings that he created fifteen years ago after his graduation from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (UMPRUM) in Prague. It is the manipulation of lived reality, most often through a specific method of optical illusion and a variety of artistic devices, with the ability to transform the common world of everyday habitual perceptions into a magical space full of changes and unexpected occurrences. The origins of such thinking are already present in Proško’s fascination with hyperrealism. The artistic effect produced by hyperrealistic sculptures is not merely the result of their extreme precision, but also of the unexpected change in relation to the context of surrounding reality. Sometimes it is through the simulation of an unexpected environment, at other times of a shift in time. His site-specific works in public space also follow up on this principle. They are based on interventions into “the usual”, making visible a “parallel” reality and relating to our everyday lives along with the existential feelings that arise from within us. In this way, Patrik Proško tries to change our way of perceiving reality. Proško’s landscape interventions can in some ways be likened to the philosophy of street art or land art, so it is no wonder that they appear online on websites dedicated to these genres, yet they go beyond them in many ways. Although they are based mainly on a careful selection of location, in/dependence on the viewer, and impermanence, their nonetheless important aspect is also a search for one’s limits, one’s own place in life, and one’s own personal qualities, with the knowledge that transience is the only default value of human life and all being. One of the key motives here are boundaries and their transgression in both subjective and territorial meaning. It is for this reason, too, that Proško’s projects have been realised all over Europe – in Italy, France, Germany, the Pyrenees, Scandinavia – including the Norwegian Nordkapp – on Corsica, Sardinia or the Baltics and, of course, in the Czech Republic as well. If there is one central idea that characterizes his work, it is mainly the idea of freedom – personal but also artistic and mental freedom. His interventions take on various forms. Sometimes it is the contour hatching of a particular detail in the landscape, through which he mystifies the original perception of the chosen object and transforms it into a sculpture. Other times his spatial installations, in the form of expansive object-based sculptures, use pressure moulding which is a reference to the social parallel of this process – the moulding of a person through the pressure of society’s mechanisms. Proško’s compositional work with negative space in natural environment reacts to the idea of perceiving reality as a logical system with a structure enabling one to gradually understand and uncover its individual layers and then retrospectively giving meaning to the general image of the world. In his works, Proško continues to balance on the edge of reality. From its mystifying thematization in his hyperrealist mode of expression and illusionary anamorphic visuals, he has moved on to working with reality itself, turning it into his canvas or sculptural material. The centre of his attention has shifted to visual art itself as the primary object of reflection and a “method” for life. He expresses himself through classical artistic techniques but in a “liberated” way. It is thus not a coincidence that he sometimes speaks of his interventions as he would of landscape paintings. It is similarly so with his method of documentation in which he intentionally photographs his temporary realizations in landscape, created by bio-degradable paint, “as if they were a painting or an image”. His work does not lack broader context referencing to the history of art either, be it the German romantics or the evangelizer of art brut, Jean Dubuffet. Much like Dubuffet, Proško finds art in its “raw state” on his journeys and makes it visible. He actively searches for it and strives to uncover it from the appearances of common reality, thus spreading the knowledge that art is everywhere around us. While it may appear that his interventions are meant mainly as mere aesthetizations of landscape, the true nature of his work lies somewhere else completely. He is not content with just evoking emotions; he is not after the moment of surprise, or random distraction. On the contrary – through visually encoding his interventions into matter, he is trying to mediate his thought process as a manual on how to survive in today’s intricately-arranged world. Radek Wohlmuth Curator of the exhibition

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