Ever since his childhood, Evgen Čopi Gorišek has been marvelling at oiled bodybuilders who lift weights all day to keep their perfectly formed muscles in shape. The competition for the better body and the monotony of the always same exercises it required seemed like a very pointless thing to do. But there was a moment when he changed his perspective and began to admire them for their determination and perseverance.
Today, these athletic bodies have become the main motive of his paintings. Airbrushing is the most important technique Čopi Gorišek uses—it enables him to achieve the extremely smooth effect of the flawless bodies.
They pose with expensive handbags in perfect interiors with designer furniture or by the pool, showing off their perfect lives. Others celebrate their victories on the tennis court or flex their muscles in the boxing ring. What Čopi Gorišek is interested in are the body standards of today’s society and the values associated with them. As was the case with the statues of athletes in Ancient Greece, we still link muscular bodies to glory and success.
Always putting his figures in a humorous light, Čopi Gorišek drastically simplifies their facial expressions to contrast with their realistically depicted perfect bodies. Using only the most necessary lines, Čopi Gorišek paints the ever same smiley face into their smudged and blurred faces, as if they were hiding behind a mask. Putting the perfectly staged moments of triumph and nonchalance into a completely different context, it can be read as a symbol of superficiality in society, which is reinforced by the media. Based on his personal experience, the artist alludes to the fact that a smile does not always reveal true joy and happiness but often serves as a protective shield to hide feelings like sadness or anger. Whichever truth the smiley face conceals, he leaves the interpretation to the viewer.
For misa.art, Čopi Gorišek is releasing one of his most distinctive works as an open 24h edition. It features a bodybuilder in a bathing trunk showing off his biceps at the waterside.
1. Your edition is titled THE SECRET TO SUCCESS. What is yours? How do you define success for yourself?
I don't really have a secret to success, I guess it's just doing what you love to do, having fun while doing it, and not giving up. To me, success was when I started to make a living just by making art and didn't have to worry any more about finding jobs to pay the rent at the end of the month.
2. Who is your biggest idol?
I have quite a few idols because I have many different things that interest me. But in art, my idol is Friedrich Kunath.
3. If you could choose one superpower, which would it be?
I would definitely choose flying.
4. Are there certain movies, books, or songs that inspire your work?
Almost all my inspiration comes from new movies, books, and magazines that I read, and, of course, songs, because I can't work in my studio if there is silence, so I'm constantly listening to music. I think one of the last things that I watched that really inspired me and motivated me as well was the mini-series "The Last Dance," about Michael Jordan's life and career.
5. How do you spend your perfect day?
My perfect day starts in the morning when I play tennis first. After that, I have breakfast and check a bit of social media and the news, and then I go to the studio where I spend the rest of the day. I usually finish my perfect day with a good dinner at a nice restaurant. I'm actually having one of those days today!
Evgen Čopi Gorišek (b. 1994 in Koper, Slovenia) is based in Berlin. He has had solo and group exhibitions with galleries in Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea Spain, and the USA.
Čopi Gorišek will release THE SECRET TO SUCCESS in an open edition, exclusively available on misa.art for 24 hours. Click HERE to learn more about the 24 HOUR EDITION DROP: 31 March 2022, at 6 pm CEST.