Evžen Šimera is known for pictures and objects employing the technique known as “new dripping”, which Šimera has been working with since 2006. His work is striking for the way in which it combines a conceptual approach with painting.
Šimera is freely inspired by the work of Jackson Pollock, one of the leading representatives of abstract expressionism. This is acknowledged in Šimera’s paintings, but only in order that the artist create his personal antipole. While Pollock threw splatters of paint expressively around the canvas, Šimera places a drop at the corner of the frame and leaves it trickle down freely: the droplet itself “paints” what gravity forces it to and the artist is not present in the process. Šimera does not work with emotions and the unconscious, as was the case in Pollock. A subjective intervention is excluded and the painting itself works in accordance with simple physical laws. These are pictures created from 2006 to the present day and entitled From the Cycle New Dripping.
While Pollock was simply a painter, Šimera tests the limits of painting by applying the technique of new dripping to the creation of objects. The result involves frames and circles “painted” by trickling droplets of paint. The largest object of this series was the Monument of Gravitation (2008), which in 2008 saw Šimera nominated for the prestigious Jindřich Chalupecký prize.
The series Pictures from a State of Weightlessness (2009), in which the artist attempts to quash the earth’s gravitation, links up to the paintings from the cycle New Dripping. The paintings of freely poured paint on canvas were created in an aeroplane in a state of weightlessness, in which, in the artist’s words, “chance and the suppression of the artist’s intention acquire their maximum form”.
Another of Šimera’s projects based on the principle of chance is the series Paintings of Global Positions (2011). This involves large-format papers (several metres in length), which the artist places in the landscape – in a park, a forest glade, on the hard shoulder of a motorway or on the roof of a building, etc. Helium-filled balloons hover over the paper surface in the wind and carry a felt-tip marker on string that does the painting. Abstract pictures result, which again are created without the touch of the artist’s hands. Šimera says that he wanted to draw attention through this project to the importance of experiencing the landscape, which we nowadays only follow digitally (we navigate using sat-navs, we find our place on the internet using Google Earth, etc.).
A reworking of the abstract painting and new dripping is represented by the Artist Tape Paintings, 2011, in which Šimera uses cardboard instead of painting. In the art world cardboard is usually used as secondary material: the artist glues it to the canvas, paints something, and then discards it. However, in Šimera’s paintings the multi-coloured cardboard “paint” the lines without any need for canvas. All that is left is the frame and the cardboard lines, which cast shadows on the wall on which the frame is hung.
However, it is not only abstract expressionism which captured Šimera’s attention from the history of 20th century art and which he comments on. He was also fascinated by another influential movement of the post-war period, minimalism, and his redefinition of the concept gave rise to Barriers (2001). Šimera simply copied minimalistic geometric shapes from the work of American minimalists, placed them in the open ground around the National Theatre where skateboarders like to congregate and practice, allowed them to be skated over and then exhibited them.
As well as painting and objects, Evžen Šimera’s work includes various events. This will often involve teamwork, in which other leading voices of the young generation figure, for instance Ondřej Brody, Jiří Skála, Marek Thér and Viktor Frešo. The events are based on a conceptual principle and explore the possibilities of interpersonal communication. An example would be I Take It Personally (2005). The participants in the event wrote what they were envious of on the wall of a gallery. Another project entitled Conceptual and Inter-media Creation (2005) linked up two art schools (the Academy of Fine Arts (AVU) and the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (VŠUP)) and their similar opinions, and thus reflected upon the complicated relations on the art scene. In the event Lesson (2003) the participants worked with an English native speaker who taught visitors English. We Are No Longer Queers (2003) was an event to whose private viewing only heterosexual couples were invited. However, the men were refused entrance. These men became indignant and called for their partners. The result was a society divided into two groups. However, neither group was able to look objectively at the event, because the actors affected each group through different factors. These projects, with the spirit of happenings, are gestures which provoke and criticise. They comment on the contemporary scene, above all the art scene. The artists were fascinated by the closed character of the situation and the hypocritical relationships.
2010 Věci, o kterých s nikým nemluvím, Galerie hlavního města Prahy
2009 Důležitá Náhoda, Galerie kritiků
2009 Po Sametu, Gelerie hlavního města Prahy
2006 AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, Tranzit&Secession