6. 5.—5. 6., Likovni salon Gallery

Celje painter Matej Čepin is presenting himself at Likovni salon in a solo show for the first time with a new series entitled Para-Noir, produced especially for this occasion.
The art practice of Čepin is characterized by existential themes and connections to various phenomena from the field of psychoanalysis. He explores particularly those psychological processes that deviate from the dominant social norms and ideological thought, which aims to persuade that a healthy mental functioning is subject to a constant feeling of happiness. His paintings indicate a different type of reality. They focus on the conditions that communicate feelings of apprehension and discomfort to the viewer, express anxiety and inability of achieving the object of desire, and talk about the isolation of modern man. The awareness of the fact that an individual within a social framework can only express himself freely in part and is forced to suppress multiple layers of his own existence is persuasively translated into the images by the artist. Typical for Čepin’s paintings is the display of personal emotional landscapes, where the artist validates the time and space in which he lives through metaphors and symbols. He uses archival photographs, mostly found in newspapers, to which he adds his own figurative elements, integrating them into absurd constellations. The figurative elements are transformations of the figurines found in popular children’s sweets. Most of the scenes take place at night, and the images can also be read as dream scenes. Overgrown gardens often represent the place of action.
The new series, which again takes place in the dark of night, could be called black paintings. The artist, who was until recently recognized for his heavy impasto style, surprises us with a flat style and an exclusively black-and-white palette. Instead of the typical relief structures saturated into a coloured mass, the new paintings are soft and airy, the figures are not abstract – rather, the painter has tried to transfer them onto canvas in as credible a manner as possible.
The series presents diverse and unusual situations. We see a group of hunters, to whom the painter has added a small figure of a golden king. He takes us to a group of young maidens in the lake, the maidens are watched by a male figure holding an appendix in his hands. In the family portrait, we again see a male figure in the background, who watches over all the family members. A man with a ram’s head observes a large group of women. The self-portrait of the artist in the background is also accompanied by a good number of observers. The constant appearance of observers is a constancy in Čepin’s painterly practice. The observers are separated from the events in the painting and have the function of dislocated figures who survey the staged reality with scorn, ridicule and condemnation. They are the symbol of the way in which the artist sees contemporary society. Or on the contrary – they are the signifiers of desire, which expresses the call and at the same time the powerlessness of joining in the events.
The Para-Noir series demonstrates the topical nature of portraiture. The paintings feature family, group and individual portraits, finished off by a self-portrait, in which, positioned frontally, the artist invites the viewer into his own intimate world.

Curator: Maja Hodošček

Matej Čepin (1977) is a self-taught artist. He has presented his work in several solo shows (La Notte, Galerija Plevnik Kronkowska, Celje, 2015, Owls are not what they seem, Miheličeva galerija, Ptuj, 2015, The Wondrous Gardens of Mrs R, Kibla, Maribor, 2014, …) and group shows (Shame on you, Center for Contemporary Arts Celje, 2015, Selection from the Permanent Collection of Galerija Murska Sobota. The Permanent Collection as Tradition, Galerija Murska Sobota, 2015, …).


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Likovni salon Gallery / Trg celjskih knezov 9, 3000 Celje / Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday and for holidays closed. entrance free