The TAXIDERMY exhibition presents the artist's ongoing efforts to liberate painting from its conventional structural and material constraints. Milan Houser examines the material character of paintings with a meticulousness that is comparable to that used in taxidermy. As far as the works on display at Bořislavka are concerned, he tries to break down the stereotypes of how painting is perceived by stepping away of the established principle of hanging works, rounding edges, removing the frame, or emphasising the spatial aspect.
The title of the exhibition is a metaphor for the artist's approach to the medium of painting. The picture is an object – the body - the coloured paint the skin, the frame the skeleton. Houser’s relationship to creation is essentially not that of a conventional painter, and might also be described as painting in an expanded field. For years now, he has been using industrial materials and technologies. More specifically, he has recently been using a special lacquer paint which he has custom-made for him. In the current series, Milan Houser also broadens the material treatment of works with an admixture of metals and organic pigments, in doing so elaborating on his need to create paints that are applied to the foundation by casting. Thanks to the lacquer paint used, the finished works retain their authentic shape, drawing attention to themselves with their stalactite overlaps, contributing to the three-dimensionality of the piece.
“These are works that stand on the boundary between painting and sculpture. They were created as paintings, but liberated themselves from the frame and from the wall and became objects in open space,” says the artist in describing the result of his unconventional approaches. “My painting is something that has mass, weight, structure, that is 3D and that is brough to life in some way,” Houser adds. As a consequence, visitors can literally “dissect” his spatial objects – view them from all sides or explore how they are constructed.
Houser will present almost thirty of his works at Bořislavka in total. Alongside distinctive spatial objects on special metal structures, a large-format abstract painting with a length of 440 cm and a height of 220 cm will also be on display. It is also interesting that most of the works on show were created over several years, with one piece of work weighing an average of 30-60 kilograms. The artist applies the layers over time, pouring and layering them one over the other, taking months to dry. Works in open space and on the walls are complemented by graphics that make reference to the analogy of cast coloured layers.
“When you enter Houser's studio, you really do feel like you're in a chemical laboratory, a physics study, and a taxidermist's workshop all at the same time. We wanted to imprint this authentic feeling in the concept of the exhibition. The leitmotif of the exhibition was therefore the tendency to transform the entrance foyer into an exhibition room, and in doing so take the visitor closer to Houser's creative process and the relatively complex path that leads to the final work in a more intensive way, ” says curator Alžběta Horáčková in explaining the concept of the exhibition.
Thanks to the support of businessman Karel Komárek's KKCG Group, Milan Houser's TAXIDERMY exhibition is freely accessible to the general public from 6. 4 to 11. 6. Exhibition works are available to buy. Visitors can reach the foyer by taking the elevator from Bořislavka shopping centre or can enter directly from Evropská Street (entrance to KKCG and Sazka). The foyer is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and at weekends from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
This exhibition is part of KKCG’s vision of making the Bořislavka Centre a cultural space and a place in which people can meet. Alongside the exhibitions, Milan Houser's exhibition being the fourth in line, the programme includes classical music concerts, some as part of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, and multi-genre benefit concerts in support of the Piano for Schools collection. The aim is to make the foyer space more and more accessible to people, using it for a variety of gatherings, festivals, or performances.