Jakub Dolejs – Tribune
Jakub Dolejš's photographic images have always straddled the line between painting and photography. Incorporating painted elements and backgrounds in his photographs, Dolejš has consistently played with notions of perception, viewership and pictorial traditions. His latest body of work, Tribune, is a full-blown exercise in this mode: presenting a staged painted background, based on a historical work of art, and in turn photographed from varying perspectives. Drawing its compositional elements and inspiration directly from 18th century artist Johan Zoffany's painting of the same name, Dolejš' Tribune is an epic, complex, and multi-faceted installation, which includes two large-format photographs alongside accompanying smaller photographs and paintings, varying in dimension. The unmistakable theme of this body of work is one of visual excess and pictorial abundance. Another key element is the context and setting of the work, in which a portrayal of a historical art gallery is placed in a contemporary context via a very contemporary interpretative presentation. Dolejš' Tribune summons to mind myriad art historical references, and reminds us of the leisurely tradition of enjoying art and attending galleries. The lush rococo style of these works - photographs and paintings alike - is directly connected to the famous galleries of the Uffizi in Florence and the Louvre in Paris, upon which these works are based. At the same time, however, Dolejš infuses these works, and the installation as a whole, with a very edgy concept: in re-creating and subsequently photographing his staged galleryscapes, he is reminding us of the conventions of painterly authorship and illusionism. If you look closely at the photographs, it is possible to discern some of the trickery Dolejš has applied to complete his results, and indeed the nature of the works themselves invite closer and repeated viewing. This is Jakub Dolejš' third solo exhibition at Angell Gallery. He recently returned from a three-month artists' residency in Paris, granted by the Canada Council for the Arts. He has exhibited widely in Canada and internationally, and in 2004 was included in the exhibition EASTinternational, at the Norwich Gallery in the UK, curated by Neo Rauch. This year, his work was selected for the prestigious Carte Blanche, a juried catalogue of Canadian photographers as well as its accompanying exhibition at the Gladstone hotel in May. In June, Jakub's work will be included in an important group exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada entitled: Acting the Part: Photography as Theatre.