BEHIND THE SMOKESCREEN
September 12, 2015 - October 24, 2015
For Ivan Grubanov, the entire public sphere is a smokescreen, an image artificially designed in order to occupy the senses, while complex strategic maneuvers are taking place behind it, unseen. Grubanov designs his painterly smokescreen with layers of oil, petrol and thick black smoke, alluding to the ongoing battle for resources. He refuses to use a brush, but performatively soaks the canvases in fluids and uses an old flag of the proletarian movement as a tool to spread them - “Proletarians of all countries, unite–€. Although his process is non-pictorial and every painterly action has a deeper meaning, Grubanovs canvases carry a captivating beauty and power, they precisely mimic the mesmerizing and deceptive smokescreen of the main publics that conceals what lies underneath.
The latest series of works by Grubanov is taking us behind the symbolic smokescreen, enabling us to see through it and realize the hidden. Below the layers of paint and smoke and embedded in the surface of the canvas, are tactical military diagrams used by the US Army and NATO to deploy troops, organize the chain of command and establish battlefields. Deriving from different army websites, these schemes illustrate that behind the smokescreen lies a global battlefield created by the Military-Industrial Complex.
Born in Belgrade in 1976 and described by many art critics as one of the leading international painters of his generation, Grubanov has had over a hundred solo and group exhibitions worldwide and has received numerous artistic and scholarly awards. His painterly installation "United Dead Nations" in the Serbian Pavilion is one of the most poignant artworks at this year's Venice Biennale. The German magazin ART recently listed him as one of the most important 14 upcoming painters.