The series on which Petr Dub (1976) has been working on for roughly the past year and is now being presented to the public for the first time is logically integrated into his previous work, and at the same time it represents a new clearly defined section. The continuity lies in the fact that, as many times before, these are works in which there is a lack of obvious conventional content. The emphasis is put on their formal qualities. Paintings expand towards reliefs and objects, and finally explore the very assumptions of the existence of the image itself. On the contrary, the difference could be described by the following shift. One of the central problems that Dub was observing in his earlier works was the material boundaries of this medium, defining when we can still speak of a painting. Sometimes he squeezed the monochrome, traditionally conceived canvas without a blind frame into amorphous structures hung on the wall. In recent years he stretched canvases on wooden structures and added a third dimension to them. However, he now goes further into this survey, literally “beyond image”.
The actual theme of the exhibited works is visual perception itself as the de facto most basic condition for the existence of the image in our world. His intellectual approach to art is characterized by the fact that he thoroughly studied the physiology of vision from the impact of the light beam on the retina to the construction of the image of external reality in the relevant part of the brain. The pair of eyes plays the same role in it as our visual memory, so the plastic image in our mind is not a mechanical reflection of reality, but rather its specific reconstruction. Petr Dub challenges this process by presenting us with a dual reality in the form of similar but clearly different diptychs. On the first level, we can perceive his contemporary images as an optical test, an analogy of Rorschach’s tests in the field of visual perception.
At the same time, however, they are still visual works of its kind, composed of two basic components of a classic painting: a stretched canvas as a traditional painter’s pad and colors in a wide range of types. Petr Dub combines top-class acrylic-based materials using their high viscosities to form three-dimensional shapes with cheap industrial paints as well as classic oil paints. Sometimes he “gestures” them with a brush, another time he uses cutting tools by which he cuts raw painting material and often applies it to the canvas in the form of amorphous blobs.
At first glance, the multicolored depositions of pure colors appear as pure chaos – rather as a palette than an image – but a certain order is always present in them. Each looks different and in the mind of the viewer watching them they evoke certain visual memories – sometimes as if we are in the middle of an island of floating plastics, sometimes in the sweet landscape of marshmallows, in the cabin of a spaceship or in an animated film. In short, they are images that evoke certain emotions (see the title of the exhibition) and set off visual fantasy into different directions, but always associated with different spheres of contemporary or even futuristic visuals.
It is also important that, unlike previous smoothly stretched embossed canvases of shiny tones, they are not primarily attractive. In some ways they resemble early raw monochrome Antipaintings, in which Petr Dub explored the potential of a painting gesture and reduced it to its essence. On the other hand, there is so much to see. The sight that is all about … (Marcel Fišer)