“Mainly centered on the male body, his artistic interests match with the up-to-date rules of popular culture: narcissistic self-presentation and inquiries into one’s own identity. […] Using the visual language of sexual minorities, Dúbravský tries to seduce the viewer into an intimate relationship. With his paintings, he invites us onto a friendly journey into an unknown land, changing the visitor into a voyeur. Once caught in the mousetrap, one cannot avoid the variety of layers, which are deeply immanent to Dúbravský’s work. From this point of view, the content of his paintings can be understood as both; a metaphor for sexual awakening and glorification of the youth or just as a simple image of someone’s (secret) everyday life. In both cases, Dúbravskyý’s private show introduces the general discourse of male identity and male sexuality to a wider audience.”
“ABOUT THE ARTIST” curatorial text by the Švestka Gallery
We’ve interviewed Andrej earlier this year exclusively for SWARM Mag. Enjoy what he had to say below.
Can you give us a sneak peek of what you’re currently working on?
I enjoy the fact I can paint outside in my garden these months. Some of these works I am working on now will be used at my first solo show in New York in October at the Launch F18 gallery. Not sure I can give you a sneak peak but I’ve been painting some compost piles recently and dystopic twink portraits, I think compost is a good subject to show in New York City nowadays. At the same time, I am working on a 128-page zine called “ANDREJ”, which is published monthly. It’s the biggest and most exhausting project I am working on this year. It’s mega fun. I love it.
What’s the main theme of your works?
I’ve always thought my main theme is painting itself. If it’s not enough, one could find themes such as sex or nature or ecology or queer eastern Euro slav homosexual identity, I guess? Whatever you want…
Are ecology or environmental issues somehow reflected in your works?
I think it’s reflected more or less subconsciously. I usually spend quite a significant amount of time abroad during the year, so I can worry about not only Slovakian but American or European politics in general, too. I am quite a sensitive person so I am trying not to read the news every day… Politics affects everything – the art world and my world and everyday life and how people behave toward one another and so on, even if we don’t think about it…
Some of your paintings feel like they have an environmental-activist edge to them. Could they be interpreted as a call to action?
I’ve been interested in the environment since 2015, since I bought a house in the south of Slovakia in this very agricultural and rural area where I spent approx. 5-6 months a year and where I am working (in the garden and in the “studio”) at the moment. As I said before, I guess my main theme is painting itself so I am not trying to produce illustrations to some environmental issues or activist slogans. I am trying to use all the painting tools and hacks, which were cultivated for centuries to make a good painting first– that’s my main goal. On the other hand, I need to have subjects that personally interest me and which I feel are worth painting. I really don’t think something like a painting could change the glyphosate usage in Europe or reverse climate change. I am not that naive.
BIO / Andrej Dúbravský, born 1987 in Slovakia, represents the very young scene of the former socialist country. Gathering experience as a sculptor, he graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava and is now mostly working in painting. Formally rather conventional, his paintings are dominated by unorthodox themes like self-gratification, homosexuality or intergenerational relationships.
Taking his inspiration from old masters and actual social issues, his artistic gesture is subordinated to the acute need to find the right expression for the variety of feelings and (bittersweet) self-experiences of growing up. Several times, he held solo exhibitions in Slovakia, Czech and in Germany. He was also presented in Italy, France or Brazil.
He is represented in collections of the Slovak National Gallery and Prague’s DSC Gallery where he exhibited in 2015. After that, he moved to the USA on a long-term contract.
Artwork / Andrej Dúbravský
Interview / Markéta Kosinová