In 1992 – 1993 Jiri Georg Dokoupil begins a series of so called “Soap Bubble Paintings“, which are painted by letting soap bubbles mixed with colour or ink burst on primed canvas. The soap bubble series is one of several techniques, other examples are the “Soot Paintings“, “Tire Paintings” and “Whip Pictures“, through which Dokoupil seeks to transgress conventional approaches to making pictures and reinvent painterly expressivity. The soap bubbles are connected to several fundamental themes in Dokoupil’s work: weightlessness, actions, and transience.
In the exhibition “Mistakes” the soap bubble technique has been reintroduced, but in contrast to the earlier works now leading to a totally different aesthetics. The colour scheme is for example radically different. The new paintings are based on pearlescent paints normally used for coating expensive cars, and this gives the soap bubbles a metallic, dense shine that literally glows in the dark. Furthermore the colors are iridescent so that they appear to change as soon as the angle of view changes. A blue soap bubble will for instance seem light green when viewed from the side. Thus the pictures are perceptually in constant transformation. Because of the black painted background, the individual soap bubbles are far more autonomous as forms than in the earlier works. They feel heavy and spatial, and give the impression of sculptural volumes you could potentially hold in your own hands. The bubbles vary from semi transparent membranes to fossilized surfaces. The dark background behind the bubbles has an infinite depth reminding of images of the deep ocean, photographic close ups, or the space within the body. The new paintings no longer seem in direct contact with abstract expressionism. If they are connected to earlier art it is perhaps primarily to artists such as Matisse, Warhol and Klein, and the Renaissance.
Jiri Georg Dokoupil (born 1954 in the former Czechoslovakia) lives and works in Madrid, Berlin, Prague and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. He has since the early 1980’s been exhibited widely in EUrope and USA, and is represented in art institutions such as Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Neues Museum, Weimar; Horsens Kunstmuseum, Horsens; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, and Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid.
Courtesy Galleri Susanne Ottesen