A MYSTERIOUS FEMALE FIGURE
Rudi Skochir has successfully cultivated the tension in the narrative of the painting between the content and the visual exploration with radical changes to the iconographic program and a balanced use of different visual approaches. The female figure, which becomes the central character of his compositions, originally had the role of a metaphor for fundamental existential questions but it gradually changed into a reflection of the painterís personal mythology.
The transience of life on this earth and the frightening reality of our existence on it is the central theme of äkocirís early paintings. The painter makes use of universal symbols (the egg as the beginning of life, and the apple) and some of the basic elements of artistic symbolism, e.g. an almost monochrome or dull colour scale, which heightens the feeling of unease and anxiety. A similar role was played by empty scenes in which female figures are arranged, and sharp illumination with simple light-bulbs. In this series, which at first seems to be dedicated only to the passing, departing and transience of human existence, the painter has also looked for answers to some fundamental questions concerning manís existence. How to conquer time and eternally preserve the memory of an individualís existence despite being condemned to an inevitable end? One answer is offered by an old black and white photograph fixed to a canvas, which has become a starting-point for some of Skochirís ďportraitsĒ. Joie de vivre, hope and yearning are at least indirectly present in the depictions of girls and brides.
Rudi Skochir is considered to be one of the best Slovenian drawers. Drawings, prints and illustrations have an independent place in his opus. It is worth drawing attention to how the drawing is the carrier of both the creative process and the painting, as well as to the supplementing of the surface of the painting with other materials. In the beginning, such ďcollageĒ additions were pieces of puckered-up drapery, later also lace (a series on miners in Idrija). The painter also began covering the haptically inviting surface with painted ďcollageĒ features.†† ††
The aspiration for visual synthesis which we can say is a constant feature of Skochirís painting, is even more evident in the newer compositions. The few, carefully arranged visual elements have gradually been replaced by an animated painterís fabric, which bears the mark of the painterís intervention in every small part. Parts of the paintingís surface, which could live independently without any connection to the figure as perfect examples of modernistic† level fields, have become letters, numbers, brushstrokes, abstract forms, blotches and fields of colour, lines, playing cards as one of the central attributes of figural heroes and titles written with large letters, which highlight the fact that individual compositions may be considered on their own.
In the arrangement of female figures on a background, which despite its animated appearance retains a steady rhythm, ornamental scheme and leading colour tone, we may see a distant echo of Byzantine painting in the composition and style of the slender, elongated figures while the carefully placed hands are a reminder of secession art. The figure portrayed in the vertical, central, Christ-like compositional scheme seems caught in a synchronous entanglement of diverse visual elements and is literally encircled by them. Nevertheless, both components mutually support each other.
In Skochirís canvases, the mysterious female figure has gradually been changing in terms of composition and content. The only thing that his early painting compositions have in common with the works of recent years is the universal attribute Ė the apple. The early, concrete depictions of, for example, a child, girl, woman and old woman have been replaced by elegant, typified female figures, which the painter never depicts indifferently. His approach is respectful and spurred on by his emotions. The heroes of Skochirís canvases have become mothers with children, erotically tempting female forms and mythological beings, which determine our lifeís path. The Fates, which determine the fate of a child by placing playing cards in his cradle, come from folk tradition. In Skochirís canvases we can see the projection of his own internal experiences; they are at least partially set out as an autobiographical story. The visual space has become a place of meditation and that is why the symbolism used by the painter in this case is veiled. The communicative nature of the compositions is shown by the large, dark eyes of the depicted heroes which focus on the viewer, and the careful use of warm or intense colours, e.g. blue, reddish brown, ochre gold, which rather than attaching the depicted imaginative world to concrete reality, emphasise the retreat from it.
Translated from Slovenian by Marko Petrovich