Albert Baronian

Mitja Tusek

Mitja Tusek moves freely within the canvas of the painting. Working with sequences that follow one another, he examines the various options of colors, materials and techniques : a very tactile basis from which he departs to generate image and meaning. The result is at first sight very different but continually strives to build up a tension between materialized abstraction and abstracted figuration. There is abstract in the sense that there is no clear representation. The figurative paintings are almost abstract, and in abstract paintings the presence of the image is never completely evacuated. The materials he uses are part of this ambivalence : wax, lead, pigment,… by their power of absorption or reflection, they induce an ambiguous perception of the image; we guess it more than we see it and yet we retain an almost palpable presence from it.

 

Tusek first drew the attention of the art world with his wax paintings, shown in 1992 at Documenta 9 curated by Jan Hoet in Kassel. Some of these works are figurative, but the layer upon layer of pigment and wax lend to a ghostly quality to the figurative elements, which, under certain conditions, seem almost to disappear.

 

A distinguishing, and admirable, quality in the work of this Swiss/Slovenian painter living in Brussels is that it raises questions without ever seeming pedantic or moralizing. His work is a rare thing these days: if it can be incredibly self-aware without dissolving into naval gazing and reducing its context to a set of easy truisims, it is precisely because its self-awareness is born from an eye – playful, sardonic, tongue-in-cheek – aware of the gaze of the other and always attuned on the mysteries just beyond the frame.

Artworks

Exhibitions