There was a lot of talk about Italy in the recent weeks cause of their football team’s accomplishments at the Europe Cup, but at the same time, another important part of Italian tradition was put into the spotlight by Evgen Čopi Gorišek and Plan X gallery. Paying tribute to the “sweet life” in the sun-basked Mediterranean, the gallery inaugurated their new space on the beautiful island of Capri with a solo presentation Dolce Vita.

For this showcase, Čopi Gorišek painted a series of female portraits, capturing the essence of that iconic lifestyle that’s been a subject of many movies, books, songs since Federico Fellini’s 60’s classic La Dolce Vita. Born in Slovenia, next door to Italy, and clearly familiar with the attitude and the ambiance surrounding the term, the Berlin-based artist’s muses are captured in moments of leisure and while enjoying life’s small pleasures. Reading the newspaper by the pool, walking their canine friends, lounging at the sofa, or enjoying a refreshing glass of negroni, they are the embodiment of the “sweet life” which the show is titled after. And displayed in an authentic old tavern, in between arched ceilings, pillars, and windows, the presentation is creating a harmonious synergy between the setting and the work itself.

Portrayed in the artist’s signature style, his stylish and elegant sitters are placed in grand and flashy settings, and a lot of attention is put into depicting their flawless skin and hourglass figure, capturing all the branded items around them, and the smooth, shiny surfaces of the surrounding furniture and scenery. Yet, as his signature touch, Čopi Gorišek reduces their facial features and expressions to a stickman-like face with an unnatural grimace-like grin. Both suggesting an eternal pleasure and enjoyment, while questioning the authenticity of everything depicted, this element completely switches the otherwise glamourous mood which is oozing from every corner of the presentation. As if they all experienced an alien abduction-like treatment, during which they were subjected to physical and psychological experimentation, the muses feel teleported back into their natural setting, but stripped of their individuality and sensitivity. Physically perfected across the line of good taste and adorned with accessories and company that signifies their social status, they seem to be stuck in an emotional limbo between reality and their projected ideals of that “sweet life”. —Sasha Bogojev