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Make War Not Love

16. 10. 2013 - 17. 11. 2013

Michal Cimala's paintings show the same features as his nature. They are both ironic and contradictory, composed in interpenetrating layers. Cimal's work needs to be seen as a stream where disciplines and styles mix. The texts grow out of each other, connect with electronic music and further crystallize into drawings and paintings, so that he eventually uses them all occasionally in his film experiments.

The worlds in which Michal moves could not be more different. One of them represents a series of sculptural objects on which he plays, as well as his light sculptures. These can be considered part of the objective world in which we move. The other side of the coin is represented by images from the darkness of inner worlds and a disturbed psyche, which are closely related to his rap lyrics. In one of them he says: "I can't live without the smell of gasoline, I can't live without exhaust gases, there's smog everywhere...". We can directly feel this from his black and white paintings, and not only that. At a closer look, strange burning landscapes can be observed. In some, we find bombers in the sky flying over fictional isolated architecture in abandoned landscapes. The notorious and at the same time anonymous images of distant wars assault us daily from the television news. The black figures in Cimal's paintings resemble TV commentators. An ironic anagram of the hippie slogan "Make War not Love", as if it fell out of the screaming mouth of one of them. We live in a disturbing era full of conflicts that strongly polarize society, and Cimal's paintings are directly inspired by their time.

On the one hand, the objective world of presence in the dynamics of the shapes of Cimal's objects and sculptures, on the other hand, romantic-ironic comments without words. The gloomy mood and colors like from black-and-white expressive films create a feeling of depression and doom. In addition, the images are painted on aluminum sheets, which are further engraved and drawn with thoroughness and attention to detail. The series of small paintings feel like unintentional variations on Edvard Munch's The Scream. It's a series of mutated human faces and characters ranging from comic book stylization to psychedelic realism. The muted color enhances their desolation. Characters from never-drawn comics scream with their high-pitched voices, but the viewer cannot hear them because of the silence between the image and the eye. Cimala creates tension between the figure and the background as he carves into the background lines as straight as the strings of his instruments, stretched to the breaking point. The fascination with masts in the fields, antennas and radars is evident.

When he paints the outlines of airplanes in the sky, dark and full of dynamic spots, we don't know if it's
about the sunset or explosions under the silhouettes of airplanes, where it is not certain whether they are of a military or civilian nature. We don't even know where he's flying from and where he's going - just like the author himself! Black humor and insight in contrast with contradictions in psychological states are defining for this exhibition. In one case, a flying coffin and fighter jets appear in the sky against a background of ominous clouds. Here, the subconscious jets straight onto the screen. In some paintings-objects, the author works with the graphic element of a smiley, interpreted on the discs of a circular machine. These symbols, overused in today's electronic communication, grin and flow in new creations. They look like malevolent commentators on the visual surfaces on which things are boiling turbulently. But at the same time, these deformed emoticons are strangely appealing in their aggressive redesign.

In Cimal's current work, the influences of pop art are mixed with quotations from action painting and elements of chance. It is nice that, unlike the paintings that were created last year in the form of collage, Cimala abandoned this technique in the latest cycle, and most of the exhibited works are already completely painted. Not only in this direction, this is a shift that will certainly lead to other unexpected results in the future.

text: Chris Zimmerman

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