‘Evgen Copi Gorisek’
An interview with artist Evgen Čopi Gorišek, published by Floorr Magazine on 21 May 2021.
The interview focused on their solo show, EXIT, held at Duve, Berlin (13 March — 9 April 2021), which display an assortment of characters in different activities — sporty, summery and fashionable; people ‘Living Their Best Life’.
As well as The Artist Is Online: Painting and Sculpture in the Post-Digital Age (18 March — 18 April 2021), a group show organised by König Galerie, again in Berlin. The show was viewable in three ways: in person, through a digital avatar in the gallery’s virtual viewing room, and on Decentraland, a virtual world based on the blockchain where artworks can be purchased as NFTs.
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“Charlie Mills: There is a tension in your work between freedom and restriction. The former of which manifests through a youthful lens, one that is optimistic and aspirational but also naive in character. Is your own faux naïf style influenced by the politics of youth, especially how this plays out online in new generations?
Evgen Čopi Gorišek: Absolutely. I get most of my inspiration and ideas from social media platforms and other internet websites and magazines. I see my work from two different angles; on the one hand it is a critique of the current situation we are living in. This is why I like to include humour. For example my bodybuilder paintings; I don’t understand at all why someone would spend their everyday in a gym just to get so many muscles that ultimately they can be showcased on Instagram. To me this is totally bizarre. But from the other angle I totally respect and admire their hard work, persistence and all that time invested into a single purpose, in the end resulting in a display of their muscular bodies. So all of these motifs that I paint represent the “ideal” life that much of the youth fantasises about or aspires to. At the same time I like to question whether this is truly an ideal; a good life that we see on social media, tv and magazines?
CM: A central motif to your work is the gormless grin. There is a clear contrast between glamor and triumph and this insipid melancholy. In some cases, it appears as though your characters are almost content with diminished happiness, as if they have knowingly resigned to their fate. What is the emotional tension you hope to reveal with this motif, and do you think it is one of complicity as much as subjection?
ECG: This is one of the things that I like to leave up to the audience to decide. It can definitely be an honest smile which for me is one of the most important attitudes towards life; an approach to anything I want to do in my lifetime. Always be positive and smile. It sounds so simple, but I think it’s the best and the only way to survive. But those smiles on my characters can also be “fake” smiles. Those are like masks concealing the real feelings and grimaces. I’ve experienced that sometimes in my life; people smiling at me while thinking about something completely different, perhaps they were actually sad or angry, or simply didn’t want to show a feeling so they’d smile. I even painted characters smiling and crying at the same time and people would ask me why those people were smiling if they were sad? Perhaps they are crying because something nice has happened, perhaps they are tears of joy, of happiness. This is why I leave it up to the viewer to interpret the smile; the “realness” and the “fakeness” of it.”