Enej Gala
born 1990 in Ljubljana — lives in Turin and works in Venice/Turin
Enej Gala
born 1990 in Ljubljana — lives in Turin and works in Venice/Turin

In Gala’s paintings, constant dialogue between hyper-realistic, almost photographic elements and objects and scenarios with very abstract and opaque foregrounds and backgrounds force the observer to constantly change the point of view, and to adjust their perception to the content. The strategies with which the artist confronts the mythological narrative, the various concepts of history and the relationship between tradition and contemporaneity, are on the other hand characterized by a great capacity for mediation and reflection. With this exceptional technique of his own, Gala follows a short circuit in human perception to reveal the ideological viewpoints within the image. In Enej Gala’s art, a particular symbolism – the Slovenian – is capable to elevate itself into the universal human symbolism. The distinctive stroke of his work lies in the methods that he uses to constantly make fun of cultural, economic and ideological myths of the past and the present; and it is in the latest that we find common points with the concept of history of Walter Benjamin and Franz Kafka.

Taking into account the strong and universal interest of Enej Galas work regarding the relationship between the old world of traditions and the contemporaneity, Gala does not stop at the point of the dialog with rural environment that has been the basis of Slovenian culture for centuries, but develops the comparison between art and agriculture up to a very contemporary world of hunting; in his paintings and sculptures there is represented often the hunt for the depiction of history, the hunt for the way that we use to represent economic and cultural processes, in the manner in which – on a personal level and on a national scale – we represent ourselves.

Enej Gala is also fascinated by the dialectical relationship between the title of his works and his paintings, between word and image, thus wanting to emphasize the importance of the process by which knowledge and wisdom, irony and cunning, but also superstitions and ingenuity of the folk-tale were transmitted through writing and oral traditions, in synchronism with the history of the visual arts.

The omnipresent connection with nature, along with the expressiveness of the language and art, is probably the only real stroke of Slovenian identity whose borders and political systems changed over the centuries. Trying not to disregard the reflection of the connection with nature, which is often present in Gala’s works, also the pagan aspect of the cultural heritage can be retraced; therefore traditional carnival masks appear, with their horns and tails, skins and evil, fantastic, grotesque kits linking the historical consciousness to the corporeal, material world. This evaluation may be the strategy of every human being for dealing with the present-day impasse demanding humans to be both – hunter and prey, producer and consumer of images, as well as for addressing the dialectic between community and individuality in a world in which new forms of capitalism and economics have emerged.

In the history of art there have been many examples of artists who tried to understand reality through the world of agriculture or through the metaphor of the animal: from the most prestigious exponents, like Pieter Bruegel, who revived a world made up of grotesque figures that give life to compositions of simple peasants in a delirious orchestration of elements addressed to create an empathy with the entire universe, to the genuine spontaneity that specifically characterizes creative processes of the French Art Brut movement.

Like Bruegel, Gala presents absurd world surrounding him, a babel of a teeming multitude of strange figures, objects and forms sarcastically transfigured in order to create a vision that can capture even the most bizarre aspects of reality. While in Italy various schools of painting were emphasizing the divine and universal concealed in human perfection, Pieter Bruegel focused on details that make up the teeming and active world of everyday reality, not considering as subjects of history the princes or potentates, but rather the multitude that comes from popular culture. The attention of Bruegel towards the minuscule detail is part of a more pragmatic tradition in which universality is manifested especially through the ability of bringing together the multiplicity of particular. This is not a characteristic that is exclusive to Northern and/or painting tradition, but also one of the characteristics of texts, treaties and schools of Jewish, Arabic or Indian thought. With Gala, this same approach can be found, one that sees him recover aspects of Slovenian tradition and that rises up to transform them into humorous caricatures of themselves.

Enej Gala has graduated in 2013 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, where he also achieved his master in painting in 2015. Since 2010 he has been invited to several group show all over Europe: in Milan, Lisbon, Tirana, Rotterdam, Slovenia and also at the Dakar Biennale (2013).

In 2015 has been invited during the opening of the Venice Biennale at the Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market at the A plus A gallery in Venice. He has been selected for the 31st International Biennale of graphic art Ljubljana (2015) by the curator Nicola Lees. He has won an artist residency of one year at Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa, Venice (2015) and is the winner of the walking with art Stonefly price 2015. He lives and works in Venice.

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