Jakub Dolejs – AutumnFall
"The frontier is an elusive line, visible and invisible, physical and metaphorical, amoral and moral." Salman Rushdie. Step Across This Line, "The Tanner Lectures on Human Values". Yale 2002. Angell gallery is pleased to present the work of Czech artist Jakub Dolejš in his second solo exhibition at the gallery. Trained as a painter at the Prague Academy of Art, Design and Architecture, where he earned his MFA in 1998, Dolejš injects his painterly skill into theatrical photographs that grant constructed events a romantic, if fictive, historical presence. Dolejš is a visual minister, marrying painting to photography. While the mural-sized Lambda prints he creates present photographs shot in the studio, the multi-layered images contain painted backdrops in front of which live-action objects and characters act out thematic narratives about perception, language and memory. The trompe l'oeille effects that result are purposefully left in a state of low-fidelity, alerting viewers to the carefully arranged nature of the constructed tales presented. Close examination of what at first appear to be unified photographed worlds reveals tears in narrative truth, raising doubt in the trustworthiness of the storyteller and his fraudulent fabricated fairy-tales. In his newest work, Dolejš plays with semiotics and translation. As a child growing up in the former Czechoslovakia, he experienced confusion when Cyrillic lettering in the form of Russian communist propaganda constantly bombarded the Latin text used by his native Czech tongue. Depending on the cultural context, letters like 'NR' carried different meaning. Two different realities were imposed upon the young artist, each with its own moral objectives. In this work, Dolejš purposefully confuses textual circumstance to reflect the duality of the combating political realities of his youth. Continuing the themes from his earlier pieces, these new photographs delineate conscious efforts to fabricate history and memory from specific and urgent political perspectives. Jakub Dolejš's human-scale images crisscross the sinuous membrane that separates photography from painting, fiction from reality, and the second dimension from the third. By injecting formal trickery just below the surface of the images, he betrays the way content follows form; meaning in his work relies on the complex relationship between the various media in which it is transmitted. This young artist has exhibited in the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, and is the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. He lives and works in Toronto and is represented by Angell gallery.