Only excuses

Karel Dicker

Only excuses

18.01.24 → 23.03.24

Suspending time, remembering a morning color or an evening scent and placing it on the wood I paint on. With things ranging from basic human needs to cultural customs, a fresh glass of water with some juicy purple grapes or the leftovers of an old drink and ashes dying in an ashtray.

Liking to think that Karels’ paintings capture a moment that is still going on. Beyond the edges of the painting, outside the frame, live the people drinking from those glasses and sucking smoke from those cigarettes. Like a magnifying glass, the painting zooms in on a special part of an everyday situation.
Karel presents tables accompanied by a collection of man-made objects. Vases, mirrors, wine glasses, cigarettes and of course ashtrays. Everyday items we can’t imagine living without. And conversely, without us using them, these “tools” would amount to pointless materials. That ashtray would be strangely out of place if it were forgotten in a field of grass, only to be crushed by herds of wild bison or eroded by rivers, utterly useless, surrounded by the weeds that grow intertwined. That ashtray, lying on this rotating moving machine we called earth.

From NL contemporary

The deep melancholy of Karel Dicker’s paintings plunges us into the meanders of solitude. No figure populates his work, but remains.

Remains of moments lived, or not, alone, in company, or not.
Relic of soulerie and divagation immediately disappeared like volutes of smoke, the painting of Karel Dicker seems twilight. ??Yet it is the light that already appears, dawn gives way to too long nights and early morning we can finally distinguish the pattern of the tablecloth, the transparency of the ashtray, the smoke that still rises at the edge of the cold cigarette butt.

When you smoke, you don’t talk.??

Karel Dicker’s still lifes give us with deep honesty a daily routine that we are invited to observe. His painting testifies precisely to his attachment to simple things, to this banality gleaned by fragments. It is an almost childish look that is posed on the reality that surrounds it and from which one must escape well.?

A way to practice painting as one would write Haiku.??A ritualized, cathartic practice, made of repetitions, ashtrays by ten, the same, with its variations at the time of coffee, coffee makers too, painted from all angles, at all hours, or other liquids in stormy weather, at night.??His work on color and light relates to these various states. We can not but think of the composition of Morandi, so many pitchers, jugs on hot ground. A window, a table corner, a bottle and all the possible variations, Karel explores and studies techniques and materiality of painting, in repeated layers as well, as their motifs, their subjects, modulated. ??And then these wooden frames, also declined, to infinity, in baroque forms, ornate hoops specific to church paintings. As a slight irreverence made to the established order, to the norm, to the right thinking. A way of saying that everything is learned, a childish thirst to do and redo and understand how it is done, and do it again.

A window, a table corner, a bottle, an ashtray, a cigarette.
The sun is already rising, unless it sets.