Jiří Georg Dokoupil is one of the most internationally famous and renowned artists of his generation. He was born in Krnov in former Czechoslovakia in 1954 and emigrated to Germany with his family as a child. He began by studying Fine Arts at Köln International School of Design in 1976 first and then at Cooper University in New York. As a founding member of the Cologne “Mülheimer Freiheit” group of artists, he rejected the reduced, strict and unapproachable nature of minimal and conceptual art at that time. His orientation towards a neoexpressionist and striking painting style largely influenced by the punk movement only lasted a short while. He developed and perfected his painting techniques instead, allowing him to produce pictures that appear playful and dynamic despite their conceptual and technically methodical rigour. The formal composition that results from the painting process itself and which the artist constantly develops, is absolutely masterful. Besides the “soap bubbles series” and “foam paintings”, Galerie Jahn is also showing a selection of works on paper with soap bubbles in its second solo exhibition. These works on paper are a special highlight that are being publically shown for the first time in this form.
The exhibition shows examples of the two series of works, which the artist is deliberately exhibiting together. The observer is able to compare the two pictures together and examine them for similarities and differences. What they both have in common is virtuoso aesthetics and a view of creative perfection. The artist continuously demonstrates various experiments with non-traditional and chemical processes. In these two cases it’s “alchemistic compounds” of precious pigments, for example diamond dust or lapis lazuli and soap bonded together. Dokoupil shows the results of chemical processes., which are soapsuds enriched with metal pigments and diamond dust. They look like molecular layers and transparent bubbles captured under a microscope. The resulting, organic shapes settle on the canvas with calculated spontaneity and reveal holographic tendencies as well as shifting perspectives. This applies similarly to the foam paintings, where the pictures have strong amorphous features reminiscent of sponges or corals. They appear to glow.
The new large-format “soap bubbles series” and “foam paintings” are the results of research work conducted since the early 1990s, which can be tracked since then by the virtuoso results in the form of the “soap bubbles series”. The paradigm described by Friedrich Nietzsche: “You shouldn’t be able to see the creative process in art but must observe it as having always existed,” can be proved and disproved equally. Without knowing the experimental and research nature of the pictures, they seem like the perfect imagery we would expect from a microscope. As perfect as creation itself. With the knowledge of how they were created, they are equally masterful results of artistic research. The artist becomes the creator, observes the result and sees that it’s good! It is only due to this decision that he elevates it to the sphere of art.