Mitja Tušek

 ( 1961, Maribor, Slovénie)

Born in 1961 in Maribor, Slovenia
Lives and works in Brussels, Belgium

Presentation

Of Slovenian origin, the Swiss artist Mitja Tušek exhibits since the mid-80s. His paintings play of figuration and abstraction. The figurative paintings are almost abstract, and in abstract paintings the presence of the image is never completely evacuated. The materials he uses are part of this ambivalence : wax, lead, interference pigment, by their power of absorption or reflection, they induce an ambiguous perception of the image; we guess it more than we see it and yet we retain an almost palpable presence from it.
Life on Mars

In the exhibition entitled Life on Mars, Swiss artist Mitja Tušek captures the ambiguity of "living things" through pictorial creations that waver between representation and abstraction, protocol and chance.
First the large paintings from the Cercles series started in 2015 evoke the genre of portrait. Cercles 2018 consists of more group portraits. Each dislocated figure is a combinatory variation of nine black disks of various diameters arranged on a pale background that appears both unified and shifting since it is made of prismatic pigments that reflect the whole chromatic spectrum based on light orientation. The circular geometric punctuations hold a symbolic meaning: they represent the nine orbs of Dante's inferno as well as lighter sign-images -grotesque variations around Mickey Mouse. The blinding smudges also evoke the abstract face machine conceptualized by Deleuze: "white wall- black hole(s)".
Then, female nudes deceive their very academism through forms that emancipate and break free from their design and toward shapeless chaos. "To remember that a painting, writes Maurice Denis at the end of the 19th century, before being [...] a female nude [...] is essentially a plane surface covered with colors assembled in a definite order." Here, each acrylic canvas is precisely the result of a concretion of successive layers of pictorial matter residues. Based on the same creative process, each layer of glossy paint thinly laid on one canvas is immediately transferred onto a second one while still fresh in order to obtain a replica, a print of the ephemeral matrix. Each canvas is therefore laminated with an accumulation of about sixty printed transfers. These thin pictorial layers give live to female figures distorted by the materiality of their pictorial flesh. They dissolve in reversed symmetry and the strangeness of a non-iconic resemblance, a "contact resemblance." Reversibility and dissimilarity are at the very core of printing. With Femmes nues, 2004-2011, matrix and print merge. Which one is the other side? These painting transfers cast some doubt.
The Peintures texte series, 2009-2018, exacerbates this symmetrical reversibility through playing the process of the famous Rorschach tests again. But beyond the visibility of these imaginary projection surfaces and the perception of their sensitive materiality, one can simultaneously read vertical words lying under the pictorial signifier. Like a both visual and textual chiasm, the faces of a same coin echo one another: "Pride/Shame". But also "What should we do?" This quote borrowed from Lenine and Mario Merz (in his work Che Fare, 1969), expresses a both existential and political questioning while reflecting the viewers' unsteadiness, their hesitation between what they would like to see and what they are able to conceive. Aren't all visible things wrapped up in an invisible coat? "You only have to look around you to see life on Mars", says Mitja Tušek with seriousness and humor.

Anne Favier


Ceci/Cela

The show, Mitja Tušek's fourth with the gallery, will offer a first glimpse into a new series entitled 'Circle Paintings', in which black circles (always nine of them) of varying size floating on a background of interference paint sometimes fuse into one another and always suggest, in their combination, a figure that never quite materializes. Those familiar with Tušek's work will immediately recognize formal similarities and shared concerns between the works in this new series and in the 'Text Paintings'. In the latter, the artist folds the canvas over to create a mirroring effect, and the mirrored word produces a Rorschach stain that wavers somewhere between the legible, the purely abstract and the strangely figurative, though, here too, we can never quite settle on what figure they adumbrate.

Both series use interference paint, which varies in colour and shading in relation to our position and to the light, and lends movement to the work. The attention to movement and the attempts to bring it into painting without falling into the gimmicky has been a running thread of Tušek's work. He first drew the attention of the art world with his wax paintings, shown at Documenta IX. Some of these are figurative, but the layer upon layer of pigment and wax lend to a ghostly quality to the figurative elements, which, under certain conditions, seem almost to disappear. Others are first experienced as impenetrably shallow monochromes reflecting nothing other than our own shadow; but then, suddenly, a change of light or viewing position can open up a deep well, as if the inscrutable mirror had dissolved to reveal its liquid depth, or forms we could not have imagined there but a second before, or simply the traces of the waxing knife. In an earlier series, the artist uses lead for his support, thus essentially exposing the compositional elements and colours to the oxidation the medium is susceptible to: over time the colours lose their lustre and the forms merge into the support, surviving as little more than a memory.

A distinguishing, and admirable, quality in the work of this Swiss/Slovenian painter living in Brussels is that it raises these questions without ever seeming pedantic or moralizing. Tušek's work is a rare thing these days: if it can be incredibly self-aware without dissolving into naval gazing and reducing its context to a set of easy truisms, it is precisely because its self-awareness is born from an eye - playful, sardonic, tongue-in-cheek - aware of the gaze of the other and always attuned the mysteries just beyond the frame.

Emiliano Battista
Solo shows at Ceysson Gallery
Mitja Tušek, Luxembourg
September 08 - November 05, 2011

Mitja Tusek, Geneva
May 02 - June 29, 2013

Mitja Tušek, Saint-Étienne
October 02, 2014 - January 09, 2015

MITJA TUSEK, Paris
September 05 - October 17, 2015

Mitja Tusek, Saint-Étienne
April 26 - June 02, 2018


Group shows at Ceysson Gallery
La Ligne Passée, Luxembourg
June 30 - September 16, 2012

La Ligne Passée, Luxembourg art moderne
June 30 - September 15, 2012

“The lines of life are various, like roads and the contours of the mountains…”, Wandhaff
September 10 - October 29, 2016

10 YEARS in Luxembourg, Wandhaff
June 02 - August 04, 2018


Solo Shows

2018
Mitja Tušek, Life on Mars, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Saint-Etienne, France

2016
Small World, Albert Baronian, Brussels, Belgium

2014
Mitja Tušek, Don't make me repeat it, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Saint-Etienne, France

2013
Mitja Tušek, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Geneva, Switzerland

2012
La Ligne Passée, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Luxembourg

2011
Great Balls of Fire, Etablissement d'en face Projects, Brussels, Belgium
Mitja Tusek - success and Failure, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Luxembourg

2010
In de Wind, centre culturel Strombeek, Grimbergen (Strombeek-Bever), Belgium
Pantalone, centre culturel Strombeek, Grimbergen (Strombeek-Bever), Belgium
Pantalone, centre culturel Mechelen, Malines, Belgium

2008
In the Future Even The Past Will be Better, LLS387 Ruimte voor actuele kunst, vzw, Antwerp, Belgium

2006
Galerie Nelson, Paris, France

2000
New Paintings, Kohn Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Galerie Nelson, Paris, France

1998
No doubt, Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium
Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, United-Kingdom

1996
Laura Carpenter Fine Art, Santa Fe, USA

1995
Somehow, Anyhow, L'Aquarium, École des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes, France
Galerie Nelson, Paris, France
Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

1994
Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zürich, Switzerland

1993
Quelconque, Fundatio Joan Mirò, Barcelona, Spain
Galerie Nelson, Paris, France
Galerie Bruges la morte, Bruges, Belgium

1992
Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana (cat.), Slovenia

1991
Galerie Bruges la morte, Bruges, Belgium
Galerie Nelson, Lyon, France

1990
Galerie Froment & Putman, Paris (cat.), France
Shedhalle, Zürich (cat.), Switzerland

1989
L'Ecole de Nîmes, Nîmes (cat.), France

1987
Centre d'art contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland

1986
Objets photographiques, Galerija Ars, Maribor (cat.), Slovenia


Group Shows

2015
Eminent Domains (proper names), Robert Miller Gallery, New York, USA
Echoes, ING Art Center, Brussels, Belgium

2014
Biennale de la peinture, Roger Raveelmuseum, Museum Dhondt-Daenens, Museum van Deinze, Deurle , Deinze, Belgium

2013
Cadavre Exquis. A Figure of Painting, LLS 387, Antwerp, Belgium
QNX4, Bruges, Belgium
Le Pont, MAC, Marseille, France
E-Motion, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

2009
Jeugdzonde. Over opus één en opus min één, LLS 387 Ruitme voor actuele Kunst, vzw, Antwerp, Belgium

2007
25th Anniversary, Galerie Nelson, Paris, France
Géométries variables, Galerie de Multiples, Paris, France
Multiples, La lettre volée, Brussels, Belgium
Curating the library, Singel International Kunstcampus, Antwerp, Belgium

2005
Contrée, FRAC Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême, France

2002
L'effet Larsen, processus de résonnance dans l'art contemporain, Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz, AU & Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg (cat.)
Peintures, Galerie du Cloître, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, France

2001
Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Remember Camembert, FRAC Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême, France

1999
A Quiet Storm : Painting in Abstraction, Kohn Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

1997
Abstraction/Abstractions, Géométries provisoires, Musée d'Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne (cat.), France
Radicaal-Beeld, Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam, The Netherlands
Heaven, PS1, New York, USA

1996
The Event Horizon, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (cat.), Ireland

1995
Pittura/Immedia, Neue Galerie, Graz (cat.), Austria
Pittura/Immedia, Kunsthalle, Budapest, Hungary
Collection fin XX° 1983-1995, douze ans d'acquisition d'art contemporain en Poitou-Charentes, Musée Sainte-Croix, le Confort moderne, Hôtel de Région, Poitiers, France
Color and Structure, Galerie Lelong, New York, USA
Kohn Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

1994
et passim , Kunsthalle Bern (cat.), Bern, Switzerland

1993
The Sublime Void, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp (cat.), Belgium

1992
Documenta IX, Kassel (cat.), Germany

1990
De Pictura, Galerie Bruges la morte, Bruges (cat.), Belgium

1989
Burki, Lanz, Tušek, Voïta, Le Confort moderne, Poitiers (cat.), France
Figures, FRAC Rhône-Alpes, Lyon (cat.), France
Schlier, Tušek, FRAC Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême (cat.), France

1988
Quand voir c'est faire, Salle Crosnier, Geneva (cat.), Switzerland
Centre d'art contemporain, Geneva (cat.), Switzerland
7 Künstler aus den Schweiz-Siebdrucke, Edition Artelier, Forum Stadtpark,
Graz (cat.), Austria

1986
Von Bildern, Kunsthalle Bern (cat.), Switzerland
Catalogues

2010
M.T. Mitja Tušek & Michel Troisgros, Cultuurcentrum Mechelen and Cultuurcentrum Strombeek, Grimbergen

2001
Mitja Tušek. Brussels: La Lettre Volée.

1997
Abstractions provisoires. Saint-Etienne: Musée d'Art Moderne.

1995
Pittura/Immedia. Graz: Neue Galerie.
Collection, fin XX° 1983-1995, douze ans d'acquisition d'art contemporain en Poitou-Charentes. Angoulême: FRAC Poitou-Charentes.

1994
Et passim. Bern: Kunsthalle Bern.

1993
Quelconque. Barcelona: Fondation Miro.
The Sublime Void. Antwerp: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten.

1992
Mitja Tušek. Ljubljana: Moderna Galerija.
Documenta IX. Kassel.

1990
Mitja Tušek. Paris: Galerie Froment & Putman.
Mitja Tušek. Zürich: Shedhalle.
De Pictura. Bruges: Galerie Bruges la morte.

1989
Mitja Tušek. Nîmes: L'École de Nîmes.
M.-J. Burki, E. Lanz, M. Tušek, B. Voïta. Poitiers: Le Confort moderne.
Daniel Schlier, Mitja Tušek. Angoulême: FRAC Poitou-Charentes.
Figures. Lyon, Saint-Priest: FRAC Rhône-Alpes.

1988
7 Künstler aus der Schweiz-Siebdrucke. Forum Stadtpark. Graz: Edition Artelier.

1987
Quand voir c'est faire. Geneva: Salle Crosnier.

1986
Objets Photographiques. Maribor: Galerija Ars.
Von Bildern. Bern: Kunsthalle Bern / Geneva: Centre d'art contemporain.


Articles

2010
Christine Jamart, "Naked painting", L'art même n°47, 2d trimester, p. 33.

2009
Luk Lambrecht, "Mitja Tušek krijgt eindelijk de expo die hij verdient bij LLS387 in Antwerpen", Knack, January 14.
Indra Devriendt, ART, January 22.
bart Van Peel, Zone 03, Februrary 4-17.

2006
Valérie de Maulmin, Connaissance des Arts n°641, September, p. 174.
Michel Troisgros, troisgros.fr (website), September.
Frédéric Bonnet, "Tour des Galeries Rentrée émotive", Journal des Arts, October 6-19, p. 25.

2002
Françoise-Aline Blain, "L'effet Larsen, vies parallèles et aiguës", Beaux Arts Magazine n°216, May, p. 36.
Christine Jamart, "Mitja Tušek : l'abstraction est une fiction comme une autre", L'art même n°15.
Maxence Alcalde, Paris-art.com (website), March 8 - April 13.

2000
Valère Bertrand, L'Oeil n°520, October, p. 90.

1995
"La peinture en recouvrements", Journal des Arts n°12, March.
Eric Suchère,- "Mitja Tušek", Beaux-Arts Magazine, September.
Claude Lorent, "Mitja Tušek", Art & Culture n°6, February.
"Mitja Tušek, Somehow, Anyhow", ddo, bulletin trimestriel d'information en Art Contemporain de l'Eurorégion Nord n°17, March-April.
"Esthétique de la disparition", Regards, Le Magazine de la Ville, Valenciennes n°16, March-April.
Michael Tarantino, "Review", Frieze, Nov-Dec.

1994
Michael Tarantino, "Review", Artforum, February.

1993
Luk Lamprecht, "De picturale Koregrafie van Mitja Tusek", De Morgen, November 5.
Françoise-Claire Prodhon, "Review", Flash Art, October.

1992
Daniel Kurjakovic, "New Swiss Art", Flash Art n°165.
Jan Middendorf, "Mitja Tušek", Metropolis M n°3.

1991
"Was", Knack n°27.
Julika Funk, "Mitja Tušek, Verspiegelte Bildflächen", Du n°8.
Manuel Jover, "Le tableau aveuglé de Mitja Tušek", Beaux-Arts Magazine n°93, September.

1990
Olivier Zahm, "Mitja Tušek/Galerie Froment-Putman", Art Press n°146, March.

1988
Lysianne Léchot, "Deux et deux font quatre", Faces n°10.


Interviews

1994
Robert-Jan Muller, KM n°9.

À la galerie Ceysson, les travaux aux variations lumineuses de Mitja Tusek

La tribune Le progrès - Clément Goutelle

May 15, 2018

ArtBrussels
April 25, 2019


The lines of life are various...

The lines of life are various...

November 03, 2016