Piotr Janas
Istituto del Cervello

The works by Piotr Janas are monuments to the fleetingness and urgency of painting. On the canvas the artist creates ambiguous shapes resistant to definition, figures only hinted at but at the same time denied: brains, intestines, guts, indistinct body parts with clear scatological references are some of the recognizable elements which then tend to dissolve. The compositions seem to be subject to a metamorphosis making them unstable, between figuration and abstraction. Janas’ mode of painting reveals the process through which it was created: smoke, fluid explosions that drip, stains that reveal an hypothetical clash with the canvas, as well as lacerations, swellings, throttles. They are the result of imaginary actions to which the artist has submitted form, like strange and unpredictable experiments performed in a laboratory.

The fluid lines that recall the body - from sex organs to fragments of epidermis - contrast with the sharp tips and precise draw of the geometrical forms which the artist often incorporates in his compositions. Triangles, circles and rectangles can be superimposed as disturbing elements; or they can look like containers that explode or dissolve, contaminated by the irrepressible strength of organic irrationality. The geometrical elements become anthropomorphized presences, representations of the rigour of pure form in opposition with the chance-nature and the “mistakes” of body and gesture. In his challenge to painting, Janas enacts a metaphorical battle between the formalism of geometry and the instinctive passion of expressionism. The encounter-collision of figure and form generates on the canvas an interweaving of picture planes and a consequent sense of depth, without establishing a spatial hierarchy. Tridimensionality and bidimensionality superimpose and blur, projecting the viewer’s gaze into the image in an ever-changing way. The works, in their apparent rampant urge, manage to convey great harmony and compositional equilibrium, a seductive voluptuousness that contrasts with the hard strength of the paintings. The different intensities of body, skin and blood colours oppose gloomy and enigmatic tones. Janas’ works hang between the organic and the mechanical, between sexual allusion and an implicit violence; they can repel and, at the same time, inexplicably attract.

Piotr Janas is almost an unaware witness of the canvas’ transformation, seemingly surprised to reproduce a process he cannot foresee. The artist stops the image when it is on the verge of becoming something else, leaving it to evolve in the viewer’s eye. Janas’ paintings originate as portraits of an existential condition and become universal representations of the unconscious and its fleetingness. They respond to the never ending question of painting by staging a complex and unresolved dialogue between the necessity to build an image and the way in which this image translates an inner condition.

text by Sarah Cosulich Canarutto