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Gallery STOLP,

Andrej Ciuha: The power of pictures and words

Gallery STOLP at Bled castle will be hosting painting exhibition from Andrej Ciuha in August. Below read more about the artist.

Andrej Ciuha, a Master of Law and Real Estate Management and a Bachelor of Economics, has published two successful collections of poems: “You are so beautiful” in 2004, and “Black and White Pearls” in 2012. He was invited to present his poems in the Mentor and Apokalipsa magazines, and in literary nocturnes of the First Programme of Radio Slovenia.

In 2014, his creative interest and inspiration for poetry shifted to fine art, and Andrej Ciuha started painting. As inspiration, he initially chose some of his poems, highlighted the most decisive verses in terms of content, placed them in an artistic composition, and wrote them directly on the painting. Although he often draws motifs for his paintings from his own poems and illustrates them, this is not always the case; half of his exhibited works have no connection to them. Perhaps the poems will be born later, when the images become the inspiration for poems and not vice versa.

Andrej Ciuha’s paintings are larger than book formats of poetry collections, so these are not illustrations in a 1:1 ratio, but much larger formats of works of art, which are completely independent even without poems, although some works are interdependent. Motifs recognisable in paintings evoke associations, but their content or iconography is extremely complex (neither a fable nor an allegory), so the author highlighted and explained it in the supplementary leaflet to the exhibition. It is a universal content of global dimensions, with an emphasis on Slovenian peculiarities, which everyone can identify with, especially with the lesson of the story, which the author conveys to us through the painting and the poem, or only through the painting. Such explicit emphases on content are not common in contemporary fine art. Thematic premises are defined, but they provide a wider range of associations, while the lesson conveyed to us by Andrej Ciuha is clear, exact and direct, presents a mirror to us, and expects our definition, answer or, at least, a comment. The issues he highlights are always current and at the same time global, and stem from the psychology and ‘corruptibility’ of man: man’s vanity, vices, pursuit of profit, culture of conduct, ethics… Hence, the presence of animals in the painter’s works. These always have a symbolic meaning, as their characteristics are comparable to those of man, and correspond to the painter’s unique presentation of the content. In Andrej Ciuha’s paintings, the recognisable building blocks of the composition are always symbolically connoted and arranged in balance within the pictorial field. Artworks made in using the acrylic technique are compositionally clear, balanced, with expressive colours and colour combinations, and cannot be placed in a single framework in terms of style. We can recognise the form of the comic (Three blue baldies), Bosch’s presentation of the content and playfulness (Wheel of fortune, Judicial evolution), symbolism (Choice of beauty), etc.; however, the decision on stylistic presentation of the motif is more intuitive and follows the author’s feelings and intent to present the selected content as clearly and multi-layered as possible. Unfortunately, the imbalances, injustices and nonsense that Andrej Ciuha points out remain in abundance in society and in the country, and those who point them out are rare and courageous individuals who care about change and do not react passively to what is happening in society, as most do in such cases, brushing them aside, saying, “Nothing can be changed.”Therefore, let us become the change we want!

Written by Nuša Podgornik, art historian and art critic
Please note that an entrance fee to the castle is required to be paid.

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