On the Difficulty of Coming Home

12/11/2010 15:56

Sometimes you feel you need to go away in order to become yourself, so you walk out on your family and friends and head for the unknown thinking that in that space, free of expectations, judgments or imposed images, you will find sufficient room for self-definition. Leaving home is never easy and involves a lot of pain, yet coming home after you have burnt the bridges is even more difficult and heart wrecking. This is a story that Tula Turanská tells through her exhibition titled Coming Home.


Situated in the Gallery M++ (Loď, Tyršovo nábrežie), the exhibition is divided into two meaningful sections. The upper floor houses chronologically ordered emotion-laden oil paintings, each of which tells part of a story that is hard to discern and put together. Yet it makes you spellbound. You are standing in front of the pictures, unable to completely suppress the feeling of embarrassment that spreads over you when you realize that you see what you shouldn’t—something so acutely personal and intimate that you feel you should avert your eyes. However, you can’t resist the voyeuristic urge to look. You look and wonder. You look and gasp for breath as the paintings stir real uneasiness in your heart. You look and suppress the tears that threaten to start streaming down your cheeks any minute. You look and feel obliged to respond to the call for help, unable to ignore the broken expression in the face of one of the portrayed figures. You look and see demons that could be as well yours.


Tula Turanská has a remarkable talent for expressing in her paintings emotions of great power and her use of pure, primary colours adds even more intensity to them. The most prevalent colour seems to be red, evoking associations with fire, blood, roses, and hell and denoting love, sex, energy, alertness, danger, but also cruelty, aggressiveness, war, wrath and even sin. The way Tula’s brush works with red retains all these multiple meanings (however contradictory they may seem) and conveys them very effectively, making it the most emotion-filled colour of all.


The second part of Tula’s exhibition consists of—according to the artist—more recent pastels with special tonal subtlety. They are a proof that the young artist is equally good at both painting techniques. Some of the pastels have a dream-like atmosphere and are so pleasing to the eye that you wouldn’t hesitate to hang them in your living room, some are technically flawless, but in my view, they do not achieve the emotional intensity of the oils, which of course does not mean that they cannot be liked. In fact, most visitors to the opening seemed to appreciate the pastels more than the oil paintings—less can sometimes be really more.


American theatre critic Louis Kronenberger once wrote that “in art there are tears that lie too deep for thought”. Creativity and melancholy go hand in hand. Some people even say that the greater the genius, the greater the burden. Tula’s burden of sorrow may be as unintelligible as any artist’s despair, but its visualization won’t leave you cold.


The exhibition Coming Home runs until November 18.

Lucia Otrísalová


"Coming Home" Gallery

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