Pictures by Otto Felber
Igor Hosnedl’s creatures are bread in test tubes and greenhouses – if possible without sugar but not completely without additives.
Images the size of posters with floral patterns and shiny surfaces and vases containing flowers sitting atop pastel colored side tables merge into a clinical total work of art.
Closer inspection of the perfect surfaces reveal cuts and abrasions that fan out similar to a half onion painted in a multitude of layers in a style similar to that of the old masters (Alphabet still life, 2017-19). The painting with the alphabetically arranged roots and buds can be interpreted as the key to Hosnedl’s approach in which meticulously executed surgeries distil a multi-layered relief with an almost obsessively recurring artistic vocabulary.
The traditional genres of painting, Occidental iconography and classical avant-garde, merge in the space which is more of a laboratory of contemporary alchemy rather than a tasteful Art déco interior. Hosnedl extracts, sublimates and then allows different substances to react with one another. Female figures with flowing hair align themselves in endless rows that merge into trunks and reach towards the viewer from curved openings with their mutilated arm stumps (I’ve never felt so lonely; Character from borrowed book, 2019). An anthropomorphic Nature morte underneath a glass hood that shows its wounds.
An open wound that brings the flow of time to a standstill and spirally leads into a two-dimensional, shadowless cosmos, in which strong outlines let figurative shapes emerge from a colorful primal mass.
In Still life with emerald Fig (2017-19) and Hand catching an apple (2017-19) the decorative line underneath the hood flows towards a grotesque apparatus – an all-encompassing, snake-like, winding capillary system equally comprised of plants and fabulous beasts. A pump that releases energy and is self-operated, incessantly producing similar to a snake’s process of self-renewal by molting.
According to cultural theorist Mark Fisher it is encounters with the weird Chimera and the eerie phenomena* that allow us to distance ourselves from the everyday perspective. Not without shuddering they remind us of the agency of the non-human and our integration into larger, universal processes.
The Czech artist’s surreal imagery occasionally reminds one of the ghostly, deserted and proportionally warped pictorial spaces of the Pittura Metafisica, thus conveying a similar state of experience to the viewer.
Like beautiful war-veterans, the other, looks at us from a stage like setting and with a lascivious look luring us into an artificial world of the imagery to let us walk against the invisible glass wall. The mutilated limbs cause a kind of phantom pain. It lets one’s gaze drift to their own intact hands and back again to the image – to those parts where they disrupt the natural cycle in their ghostly fragmented way. In the satirical thriller-series “The Addams Family” it is a severed yet freely mobile hand – Thing T. Thing –, the mascot of the undead family, that opens the door for the human visitors towards another world. In Hosnedl’s mysterious tableaus it is the amputations and gaps that haunt us beyond the pictorial space.
Text by Elena Setzer