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Solo exhibition by the Czech artist Milan Houser on view at the Kunsthalle LAB
Bez názvu, lak, barviva, pigmenty na plátně, 100×100 cm.

BRATISLAVA.- Kunsthalle LAB presents a solo exhibition by the Czech visual artist Milan Houser, entitled Connecting Point. Viewers have previously been able to see his work at Colormetry, for example, his solo exhibition at the House of Art in Brno in 2016. Connecting Point is appearing as a complementary event to Vladimír Beskid’s curatorial project OBJECTive.

The Czech visual artist Milan Houser (*1971) has long been fascinated by the materiality of painting as such. He concentrates his research on painting’s basic means of expression and their capacity to sustain their own visual information. In Houser’s work phenomena and objects have their world and meaning even without human presence and interpretations. Hence he sees the picture more as a painterly body, a physical visual object, rather than an abstract painting or surface.

Houser mainly uses industrial materials and technologies in his works. He creates extensive untitled series of pictures, operating with strictly defined formal rules. For a long time he has been exploring and testing the possibilities of using a specially manufactured varnish, which is currently his principal technological means. His work is distinguished by formal tightness and consistency. Programmatically he inclines towards extensive pictorial series, actually never brought to a close, where he tries to encompass all the nuances and possible modes of manipulating his technology of casting. But it is in spacious monochrome fields with a high gloss that Houser makes his furthest advances. By creating strata in these “mirrors”, he achieves surprising depths in the interior of the picture. The viewer can thus “switch” between two regimes of visibility: follow the reflected surrounding world in a form where colour and proportion are distorted, or equally resharpen the focus and make one’s way within the material, and then observe only its volume, consistency and variety of colour.

In the present exhibition, which thematises colour itself as a phenomenon, pigments, and depth on the painting surface, the painter presents a series of concentrated monochrome or full-colour circles (series Untitled, 2018). These may resemble eyes, lenses, puddles, targets, cosmic bodies. They open up a space for a reading of the individual painterly strata and their possible connotations.

At his solo exhibition Colormetry at the House of Art in Brno in 2016, Milan Houser prepared a lavish installation of a network of hung red painterly threads or fibres. In Kunsthalle LAB this moment of the full-blooded “fibres” of painting is recycled into new bindings, wickerwork, and plaits, which “touch” and occupy the given space. They bring a certain plastic and organic moment to the geometric framing of space and pictorial contexts.

Besides the pictorial fields of circles and painterly-object fibres or cables, Houser presents a powerful embracing environment of colour and light, gilding the background walls and pasting transparent folia on the perimeter glass. What emerges is an intensive irradiation and superheating effect of yellow colour; also, however, the classical exhibition space is fractured. The artist creates a kind of laboratory setting where the atmosphere is saturated with expressive colour points and fields. With his interest in the actual “material” of painting, he thus makes a model of a dematerialised space full of colour and light – a unique “Color House-r”.

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