Lukáš Musil


6 June - 8 July 2017

Lukáš Musil aka Musa found absolute freedom working as a tattoo artist. When he started, the art was still in its infancy in the Czech Republic and many of his colleagues relied on copying foreign patterns or on repeating likeable, uncomplicated symbols. Musa, however, managed to combine his craft with a unique artistic approach. His tattoos eventually turned into a distinctive ‘body’ of art emanating from a dialogue between his original ideas and the emotional input of the receiver. The dominant linear character of Musa’s tattoos became his artistic trademark. He defined a new artistic style. He was the only Czech artist to participate in the world tattoo exhibition at the prestigious Musée du quai Branly in Paris.

A confrontation of the animal world with the world of people is a key theme in Musa’s work, though certainly not the only one. “Animals represent a certain kind of mirror for humans. We are all born free but a majority of us are tamed along the way. Only some animals remain completely free…” says Musa. He perceives the relationship between men and animals as communication rather than as conflict: “When I started to draw animals, I felt very safe; I sensed that animals know nothing of hypocrisy.”

His distinctive form of expression appears to return to the very beginning, the very core, the very dawn of existence, a time when animals offered humankind a means of survival, and yet, at the same time – and perhaps for this very reason – were subject to almost religious reverence. After all, the very first works of art ever produced by humans, i.e. cave paintings, bear witness of this approach to this day. In the same way in which Musa once engaged in dialogue with his tattoo clients, he is now engaging in a symbolic, inner dialogue with creatures produced by his pencil lines, brush strokes or spray can flourishes.

Musa combines drawing and writing, skilfully arranging textual fragments and symbols within a given space to create an original form of expression framed by his signature linear motifs, a unique form of expression which seems to offer a sensation of permanent trembling and vibration, capable of transforming signs into messages and communication into inspiration.

Musa’s solo exhibition includes two books published specifically for the occasion: a children’s spelling book entitled Slabikář, in which images of animals are playfully combined with the letters of the alphabet, and Bestiary (Bestiář), Musa’s unsystematic book of zoology for adults.

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