Hyperrealistic provocative paintings, frozen figures that are both familiar and alien, old paintings in a new context, were all on display in 'Soft Power', the recent successful exhibition of art works by Janos Kujbus at the B24 Gallery in Debrecen, Hungary.
The works are visually appealing and provoke thoughts about the stories behind them. The series of paintings can be interpreted as an experience of reading a book, the story and characters come together to form an individual interpretation by the audience.
Applying oil colors, Kujbus portrays his characters based on photographs. He changes colors and reduces the number of tints as well as other details. He scrutinizes, devises, hence places his figures, which seem to be lonely even if they are not alone in the particular situation, into a devised environment. He uses figurative painting to communicate his ideas, tell stories and capture moments.
Soft Power is part of a current discourse about the younger generation of contemporary visual artists, who are mostly inspired by online surfaces, and are no longer interested in the traditional view, but rather in the digital public. The imagination of Kujbus is captured by consumerism, commercial events in the alienated urban environment, advertisements in the fashion world and the easy-to-decode messages of billboards.
Kujbus' works move on the borderline between reality and imagination, the reality of which is his own. His assembled characters move lonely, as if they were objects, alien to a surreal, sometimes absurd reality that lacks warmth and shelter in its frigid environment. Only the commercial stage environment and the artificially lit limelight suggest to us that this illusory world never really existed.