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17 Oct 2009

Viktor Freso at Open Concept Gallery

© Viktor Freso
WORK WITH MODEL 12 - Would you be so kind.. , 2008
Print on aluminium 70x40 cm, edition of 10

"Viktor Freso in Chicago"


October 22 - November 24, 2009

Opening: 22 November 6 PM

curated by Vladimir Beskid


Open Concept Gallery
50 Louis St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI
495 03

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Viktor Freso

Young promising Slovak artist, intermedia sculptor, graduate from AVU (Academy of Fine Arts) in Prague, musician, organiser, gallerist, and ego-artist – that's a brief characterisation of Viktor Frešo (born in 1974 in Bratislava).

Frešo constantly likes to create new critical and charged situations that touch a viewer and his perception of the world and art. He sets up a training communication field where he doesn't bother a viewer by his impressions and feelings, but he hits him straight as if hitting a target, he fires him like an explosive charge.

In each of his works, an open or hidden confrontation is encoded, whether with an unprepared viewer, or with dense curators, their institutions and conservative cultural environment. His primary, direct, and clear expressions contain in them also a virus of uncertainty or derailment in accordance with the tried-and-true saying 'table has four legs but it can still trip'. In Frešo's case, from the beginning the key role is played by self-portrait, auto-presentation and self-promotion in media when the artist himself becomes a product of art, and not vice versa. The point is a purposeful egocentric performing and presentation of oneself including the photographs of one's physiology, short erotic videos, or laconic web messages in the image-building style, like „Kiss your idol'. In his works, he often uses reversed optics for viewing the course of shown things and situations. He reveals his intimate world with a certain dose of arrogance and machismo, he creates non-functional and illogical objects, openly parasitizes on the popularity of celebrities when he lets them photograph him in a fancy suit of a local „king'.

Having been educated as a sculptor, he freely passes through various media as David Copperfield through a concrete wall. He always leaves something behind in a given material: fragments of his ideas, his stubbornness, and his contemplation of a good sculpture: screwdriver sticking out from the wall, bar inserted in the wall obstructing movements in a gallery in Bratislava, unusable training cube for a loud-speaker system carrier or six-metre long frame fixed in the wall of a gallery in Trnava.

Sometimes, Frešo makes only little gestures, tiny interventions. The point is a single focused input, a single moment: a photograph of a slap on a girl's rose-cheeked face, emptying a whole can of spray at one spot, pouring out Coca-Cola light at a gallery floor or connecting white paintings with a sticky tape.

At the same time, Frešo also works with text. He makes short autobiographic records and sarcastic messages: lettering by a marker, authentic sprayed statements of „I was here' or „take it personally' type, the ironic and pathetic illuminated expression of thanks to the Slovak National Gallery for everything it has done for Slovak art. These are pointed slogans and nice juicy bits of text that vividly voice 'sufferings of young writer'.

Following from post-conceptual positions and minimalism, Frešo focuses on a powerful free gesture, a simple solid shape, and a principal declaration 'with live ammunition'. As an inserted implant usually tests and irritates its environment, he creates a challenging game which questions our stereotypes and monovision. He goes straight to the point, leaves out obligatory aesthetic preludes. Sometimes, he brings with himself a gust of fresh wind (fresh-o), sometimes he delivers a surprise blow, creates a strong flash (flash-o).

Vladimir Beskid