Rade Petrasevic & Dominik Scharfer | LOL
The recent history of civilization is the story of supersaturation. A ubiquitous virtual mirror has shown that the world is made up of a mass of circulating, disjointed contradictory realms, life being a multidimensional journey through these unrestrictedly accessible worlds. Consequently, the same digital window dilutes the singularity of reality and any subject-object dualism: Planes, cigarettes, and chairs quite naturally come alive and compel us to participate in their gatherings. Suddenly, we are all docile animists. A wild Magritte appears in the back of one’s mind warning ceci n'est pas and all that, but the perpetual motion between space and surface – the real and the virtual – challenges the view of human uniqueness by eliminating all limits of existence. A joyous combination of alienating anxiety and engaging desire now seems to have become a universal experience. The marionettists of this spectacle of duality unfolding under the exhibition title LOL are Rade Petrasevic and Dominik Scharfer, both idiosyncratic trailblazers of contemporary painting.
Rade Petrasevic (*1982, lives and works in Vienna) operates a distinctive set of effortless marker-pen aesthetics that art historically resides in the tradition of the Fauves, while ultimately destructing classical genres of painting by dissolving their pseudo-immobile structures: The still life surrenders its stillness, starts to move, and becomes flexible, while its singular components transform into individual conundrums. Unconventional details parallactically show humanoid limbs. Thinly applied paint, bold colors and dynamic compositions are juxtaposed with sassy titles: BYE BITCH. Lol, classic Rade. The semiotics of memes suddenly seem archaic in these spheres. Medium becomes the connective factor, as it is on fluidly blurred thresholds between drawing and painting that all these works move. This very ability to coherently operate such an irreconcilable logicality of medium to create his narratives is a testimony to Rade Petrasevic's finesse in sardonically absorbing categorical stereotypes of any mundane existence.
Dominik Scharfer's (*1995, lives and works in Vienna) paintings are also not only material and medial shapeshifters, but function as verbatim gatekeepers of numerous realities: Painting seamlessly merges with sculpture, comedy with tragedy, subconscious with conscious. As personal humor, madness, and distortion are always inextricably linked with childhood experience, Dominik Scharfer’s practice arises from mentally recollecting these stimuli and microwaving them into diaphasic reflections of the noema of the latest generation of artists. The artist unfolds manifestations of everyday experiences that invade our physical, psychological and emotional space. By appropriating materials with high recall value from our realm, the works meet us halfway through their sculptural elaboration. It thus takes no effort to imagine that all these depictions awaken to life as soon as one turns their back on them, quietly transforming the gallery into the coolest yet scariest club in town.
Like the title of the exhibition linguistically does, the works by Petrasevic and Scharfer therefore form a palindromic channel: from drawing via painting and sculpture into actuality and back. These works don’t compete for anyone’s attention and yet manage to potently occupy it entirely: The human observer loses existential balance, stumbles back and forth as universe and metaverse continue to collapse. Being ushered into this peculiar realm, one starts to marvel: Are we supposed to laugh at the paintings, or have the paintings been laughing at us all along? While the exhibition grapples with these humorous structures on multiple levels, it ultimately boils down to personal self-reflection and a collective yearning for a break from the daily grind. ITS OKAY.
Teresa Kamencek, 2022