The exhibition In the smile of a day, its title inspired by a song by Slovenian songwriter Tomaž Pengov (original: V nasmehu nekega dne), showcases the moments when people feel and believe their life is opening up. Our awareness that every moment of happiness we feel is given and will be taken from us therefore instills a sense of nostalgia and encourages certain restraint and distance. We are caught in a retroactive loop which shapes us and defines the way we see the world and ourselves. This leading idea is the foundation of the main concept of the exhibition 'In the smile of a day', which consists of two cycles. Each of the cycles explores in its own manner the questions relating to the physical and overall existence of man, as well as the passing as a shared destiny of humans and animals.
The exhibition is divided into two parts and presents two separate cycles linked by a common theme of memory and time, referenced against an image as a construct of reality. The first cycle features depictions of the artist’s dog. The dog, a female, is not merely presented as an animal in the context of the anthropocentrism that argues that human beings are more significant than any other entities. On the contrary, the artist paints the dog through the lens of her personal experience, attempting to recreate the animal’s personality, characteristics features and its sense of physical body by making the canine the subject of the painting. A similar paradigm can be seen in contemporary art, where dog as a subject of a work of art is individualized. Such artistic perspective can also be observed in the works of the British painter Lucian Freud, who portrays with exquisite skill the physicality that both his human and animal sitters share. Another artist with similar beliefs is David Hockney, who painted his dogs in different positions, discovering in the course of the process that there was a special technique that allowed him to portray the character of his four-legged companions. These artistic endeavors clearly put an end to the myth that we animals cannot possess the traits we see as typical of men, traits which define us as human beings and, admittedly, bring us closer to animals than we would care to admit. We are all sensitive beings capable of emotions, and this creates considerable similarity in the way we see the world. The second cycle exposes the body and its image as the central point of inspiration. The painter is mostly intrigued by examining the image of the body, which gives rise to the philosophical and anthropological questions about the subject in its existence and presence. Drawing from the humanistic tradition and the Neoplatonic heritage, in this cycle the artist develops her authentic auto-poetics and builds on her artistic expression making use of the illusionistic tradition of a classic métier, with figures becoming progressively textured, towards impasto, blurring into abstract background.
About the author
Patricija Knap is an artist of a younger generation, whose artistic work focuses on the relationship between the visual, seen and depicted. The artist’s preferred form of expression is painting and graphic art, which she complements with contemporary media such as video and photography. Patricija Knap, a holder of a university degree in painting (Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, 2019), is currently attending a master’s study in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana.