DULK's Surreal Wildlife in "Legacy" at Thinkspace Projects
Thinkspace Projects is opening a new solo show titled Legacy, with Valencia, Spain-based artist DULK. The illustrator, muralist, and painter has created a huge body of paintings that depict an even larger array of biological species, placing them in surreal scenarios with his exceptionally detail-oriented style. Read on below for a succinct description on his work by Juan Bautista Peiró.
"For some years now I have been following Dulk’s art practice with increasing interest. The play of reflections in his boundless imagination forces us to think about what we are actually seeing in paintings which are as complex and beautiful as multi-colored precious stones set with the consummate skill of a true master. It is evident that he clearly envisages the end result in advance and that he relishes in every detail with the enthusiasm of someone building his own personal world.
Since time immemorial, the mirror has been the object of study and it has given us the word ‘idol’ (from the Greek eidolon, meaning reflection in a mirror or water), thus laying bare its deceptive falsehood. For centuries painting has played a perverse yet fascinating role as the mirror double of what we call reality. But Dulk’s painting leaves no room for doubt, and confronts us with a fantastic world where everything flows, changes and transforms in manifold different ways. That being said, the underlying discourse is unified, categorical and self-evident: man is killing Nature and its incredible biodiversity which we ought to love for many reasons but which, nevertheless, we are destroying day by day, step by step. Dulk’s work is an uncompromising exhortation written in images that cry out in silence with the amplified power of 1000 words.
We come from the earth and, in these fascinating paintings, everything seems to return to it. Although the earth keeps on turning on its axis and keeps orbiting around the Sun, for our everyday lives it is still the most solid ground base we have. In the same way, the multiple characters that swarm in the mirror-like depths of these paintings appear to be arrested, frozen and petrified. Everything flows in a motionless paroxysm.
The play of opposites is intricately and profusely rendered. Dulk seems to have adopted as his own the enigmatic and evocative words of Empedocles:
Twofold the birth, twofold the death of things:
For, now, the meeting of the Many brings
To birth and death; and, now, whatever grew
From out their sundering, flies apart and dies;
And this long interchange shall never end.
Whiles into One do all through Love unite;
Whiles too the same are rent through hate of Strife.*
Love and hate are repeatedly represented in works which are beautiful in form yet dreadful in content. Dulk makes use of a profound insight into age-old artistic methods such as accumulation, a taste for curves, a chromatic palette of surprising and varied intensity (Hieronymus Bosch, Arcimboldo…), but also recourses associated more with Pop and indebted to the mass media, printed advertising, comics and children’s television series. The heart, a symbol and icon of love, competes with targets, arrows and slit throats, paradigms of hunting and death.
The union of diversity is also executed with singular precision, profusion and mastery. Although animals are always to the fore, the main actors in this Great Theatre of the World, the plant and mineral kingdoms, are rendered as effective secondary actors and formidable scenarios. Paraphrasing Bachelard, one could claim that Dulk has taken on board the tetralogy of the four elements: earth, water, air and fire, a material imagination which is articulated in never-ending stories full of always different yet always connected characters.
Incredible spaces frozen in time, in front of our astonished eyes, on a horizon that connects and transmutes everything, that modifies and amplifies everything."
Juan Bautista Peiró
Universitat Politècnica de València