Saturday, 8 December 2007
Stuart Kolakovic exhibition
Finally got round to meeting the brilliant illustrator and comic artist Stuart Kolakovic at the opening of his exhibition in Projekts MCR skateshop last night. A runner-up in the recent Observer/Jonathan Cape short comic competition, Stuart's style and subject matter is closely linked to his Serbian ancestry, and seems to effectively capture the mood and tone of what little I know about Eastern European folk art and storytelling. Partly this is achieved by use of his muted colour choices, which make the images seem as if they have been lining a draw full of vests for 60 years. Combining bold soviet graphic styles and patterns with delicate and detailed brushwork, Stuart creates a world of magic realism akin to Gilbert Hernandez's Palomar stories, or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I'm also reminded of Emil Kusturica's brilliant film Black Cat White Cat, in which every scene seems to have geese or chickens running through it (not unlike a Muppets musical number descending into chaos).
This exhibition's richness in detail ( the patterns on the fabrics of the shawls and aprons, the somehow 50's Latvian firework display) seems to both contrast and enliven the poverty of the rural village life depicted, creating an epic diorama far more busy and exciting than any city.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Stuart goes on to do with this impressive talent - a modern-day Josef Lada perhaps?-
Lada's Soldier Svejk
Never Been by Stuart Kolakovic is on until 3rd Feb.