The middle generation painter Mitja Ficko (1973) designs his paintings based on his own feelings and experiences, and most often he leaves the paintings to happen. His practice is characterized by intense play with space and perspective, and most of the paintings are built in one way or another on the principle of layering, re-overlapping and concealing. In the realization of this visual language and the construction of content, he helps himself by using variously rough glitters and a very specific, unique use of geometry, colors and textures. His atmospheric, subtle mystique-filled images are nowadays quickly recognizable by their varied, daring compositions, indefinable, fantasy content, and constant transition from the narrative to the abstract. The depicted scenes represent various excerpts of personal metaphors and experiences of feeling. The paintings, saturated with mysterious creatures and an ambivalent atmosphere, invite you into a world that encourages and encourages each viewer to observe the work and to interpret independently. At the exhibition in the Gallery of the New University on Ljubljana’s Mestni trg, works of smaller formats are exhibited, in which figurals and virtual narratives are much more expressive, in some places even emphasized. Unlike the recently exhibited, somewhat more abstract and glittering works in the Celje Gallery of Contemporary Art or the SLOART Gallery in Ljubljana, this fresh production is a bit more playful, pavlihasta and distinctly zoomorphic. The majority of the works were created in the last year, and slightly older works are also on display, such as the playful spotted horses Red Carpet (2020) and the hanging colorful ribbons Strange place (2019). Most of the works are dominated by thoughtful collage of volumes and constant overlap and combination of depicted subjects such as tropical birds, pennants, bloodthirsty tigers and domestic foxes. They are accompanied by the author’s favorite wrapped clouds, stylized trees and peripheral rainbows. The latest works are full of charming surprises and hidden details. The authors are interested in the artistic interweaving and creation of images that appear as a kind of illusion in an undefined space. Definable images of orange foxes, tall trees and milky pets move in a lack of space in a way that slightly irritates the viewer’s eye. The saturation of colors and shapes and the used collage strategy enable a wide range of delving into individual works that function in the sense of painting, but in linear space and time act as a perspective trick or illusion. Some of the works are based on animal puzzles for children. Exploring and composing wooden cubes depicting portraits of forest animals led the author to further play with composition and discover interesting combinations. He was also inspired by the format and versatility of a variety of children’s magnets and stickers, which are shown in the pictures in the form of humorous combinations, now animals, secondly weather phenomena, wave stars and even the interior. Even though the entrances to individual works are distinctly figurative, the author’s desire is to move away from the narrative and provide the viewer with an independent experience of understanding and feeling the image. Animals by themselves do not have a serious allegorical meaning or narrative arc. Sometimes they simply happen and occupy the most appropriate, artistically suitable place in individual paintings. Later, they may repeat themselves and play the role of a random protagonist in new mystical worlds and sensual occasions. Although some completely abstract paintings are presented, which are primarily built with geometry and color, the exhibition is united by the author’s recognizable figurals. The extremely fruitful period is reflected in a number of smaller experimental series, of which the most representative and interesting examples are presented at the exhibition. Mitja Ficko shows us his developing art world at the exhibition Lying Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It arises intensely, constantly strengthens, and encourages the viewer to take a bolder and unencumbered approach, reading and feeling.
About the author
Mitja Ficko (1973, Murska Sobota) graduated in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in 1999 with professors Janez Bernik and Gustav Gnamuš. In 2002 he received his master’s degree under the mentorship of Metka Krašovec. During his career he has had solo exhibitions at the Equrna Gallery in Ljubljana, Kibla Maribor, Piran Coastal Galleries, Srečišče Gallery in Ljubljana, UGM Studio of the Maribor Art Gallery, Alkatraz Gallery in Ljubljana, Kvartirna hiša in Celje, Kusthalle Ravensburg, Galerie Sechzig in Feldkirch house in Ribnica, in the Städtische Galerie Villingen-Schwenningen, the Celje Gallery of Contemporary Art and the SLOART Gallery in Ljubljana. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, such as Presences, KIBLA Portal, Maribor (2018), The Unheard of World I Have in My Head (Metamodernism and Metaromanticism in Slovene Painting, KGLU Slovenj Gradec (2019), Time Without Innocence. Newer Painting in Slovenia , Moderna galerija Ljubljana (2019), Apokalipsa 2020, Galerija Equrna, Ljubljana (2020), The Curious Minds in Die ich rief, die Geister, werd ich nun nicht los, LIA Leipzig International Art Program, Spinnerei, Leipzig (2020). and works between Ljubljana and Leipzig.