Luka Širok is one of the most prominent artists of the younger generation in the Goriška region of Slovenia. By basic training, he is a painter, but he creates in a variety of media, such as painting, drawing, collage, print, installation, digital art or combinations thereof. Even within a single medium, he applies his typically eclectic approach, for example in painting, he combines different techniques (pastel, ink, acrylic, oil, spray), languages (abstract, figurative) and styles. His installations, on the other hand, are composed of found objects and materials that he combines to create a new whole, sometimes by simply putting them together to form a composition, and sometimes by adding a small sculpture of his own making and/or some colour. Through this approach, he tries to convey an authentic picture of everyday existence, marked by the typical aspects of contemporary life such as perceiving the world in frames, the disintegration of the great mythological systems, the heterogeneity of ethical and moral codes, the pluralism of different opinions and views, extreme individualism, and so on. A brief survey of the artist's painting opus, which makes up the bulk of his work, shows that he was attracted to different artistic directions in different creative periods, and a detailed analysis extracts from this eclectic conglomerate anchor points around which he built a recognizable personal style. The first anchor point, the earliest and, it seems, the most personal, is urban street art, especially graffiti and murals, from which certain pictorial features of his style emerge, such as a palimpsest quality, flatness, stylization, use of signs and figures of pop culture, and last but not least, also spray as a technique. Almost more important than the usual pictorial characteristics, however, is the inner attachment to this form of expression, which for him, similar to street artists, represents a space of freedom, self-expression and communication, but also of social criticism, rebellion and subversion. The second anchor point that influenced the shaping of the artist's style was his schooling in Italy, first at the Art Lyceum in Gorizia, and later at the Academy in Venice, as well as his participation in various artistic initiatives, societies and residencies during his school years and a decade after that. Through studying and working on the Italian art scene, he became familiar with the Mediterranean art tradition, which resonates in his work in the sense of balanced and harmonious composition, the use of vibrant and luminous colours, an unencumbered, relaxed, optimistic atmosphere, and a general affirmation to life. Despite the above points, however, it would be wrong to label Luka Širok's creativity as typically Mediterranean. Immediately after completing his studies he established contacts with the German art world, exhibited several times in Berlin and also in Dresden, where he became acquainted with the art currents of Central Europe. It is in this connection that a third anchor point of his personal style is to be sought, for it was through this that the everpresent full expressiveness in the formation of figures, and occasionally also in the expressive use of colour and stroke, came fully to the fore. Even from the artist's earliest works, it is evident that his figures have nothing to do with the classical Mediterranean ideals of beauty, harmony and reason, but are characterized, in accordance with the Northern Expressionist tradition, by a deformed and fragmentary corporeality of contradictory relationships and unnatural colours, missing limbs, unrecognizable, blurred faces, merger with the background and fusion with other figures, objects or abstract forms. The sometimes expressive use of colour and stroke is also in line with this tradition, as muted colour surfaces and pattern fields overlap and/or alternate with expressive applications of paint, ink and spray or various forms of dripping...
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