Silvester Plotajs Sicoe was born in Ljubljana
on the 12th April 1965.
In 1988 he graduated under Professor Emerik Bernard
at the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts,
where he continued his postgraduate studies
in painting under Professor Gustav Gnamuš
and in graphic art under Professor Lojze Logar.
In 1990 he took advanced study courses
under Professor Martin Tissing
at the Minerva Academy in Groningen
in The Netherlands.
He works as a free-lance artist
in Ljubljana.

With their interplay of colors and communication through images, paintings take visually perceptive viewers into imaginary spaces. Color often shows the way; in the painting of Silvester Plotajs Sicoe it is a building block of unbounded expressiveness. Intense and varied, employed along the principle of more is more and never too much, it challenges the viewer to explore the boundaries between the expressiveness of color and the responsiveness of light in every work. The eruption of colors and the intensity of light combine in a rhythm of images that the artist carefully and deliberately arranges in space, despite their apparent ease, humor, playfulness, and even jocularity. He balances and controls the visual field with solid drawing, and within it, the line; the drawing and the line are his basic elements of expression, grounding and encompassing all subsequent applications of color and compositional relations.

Sicoe’s images are products of his particular sensitivity to the objects and subjects within and without himself. His subjects evolve gradually, expressing a variety of themes, from social relations and situations to personal experiences. The works form networks of represented (everyday) interactions and human interconnections, revealing the diverse ways in which a person can become close or grow distant, as well as the position of the artist himself in changing social and personal worlds. With their elements of visual expression, such as the application of layers of paint or choice of color, emphasis on a chosen motif, or direct thematic reference to a certain story or image, Sicoe’s works call for critical analysis and interpretation. The apparently simple and ordinary images become a varying system of the painter’s view of the world, life, and art. In an orderly, planned fashion, Sicoe presents a complex visual story, a personal narrative full of expressiveness, in which desires, emotions, feelings, the postures of figures (i.e., poses, gestures, facial expressions), imagination, fantasy, and childlike enthusiasm for color and light predominate. His recent artworks are also quite socially engaged or even provocative; their messages transcend the purely visual level and critically react to the profusion of visual images in our everyday world that drowns out the much more important level of content and meaning. As the images build up, the narrative evolves and becomes the painter’s primary mode of constructing an understanding of time and space. Sicoe goes with the flow of events, letting them determine the temporal rhythm, intervals, and sequencing of his subjects. Time becomes a cyclical system into which images from films, commercials, design, and photography are incessantly included, that is, images of past, present, and future art and culture, and, of course, also images of his personal experiences, as well as his own poetry. The narrative is sometimes elusive, especially in less easily recognizable subjects with multiple meanings, where recognition depends on our knowing what exactly the representation refers to. Titles such as Van Gogh + Partisan = Shaman, I BELIEVE IN LOVE, Nude among Birches, Don’t Look at My Tits, LET’S DO BUSINESS, and Vertigo indicate the contexts in which we can comprehend the works and their meanings. Thus the painting Van Gogh + Partisan = Shaman is in fact a paraphrase of Francis Bacon’s painting Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh V (1957), and Vertigo a visual allusion to Hitchcock’s eponymous film, the actress Kim Novak, and, above all, fear of open spaces. In this way his paintings indirectly (re)tell stories, at the same time remaining enigmatic and taking the artwork to the level of an extraordinary object, a part of hyperreality or of a chosen reality regulated by Sicoe according to his standards. A part of this hyperreal space is also a critical questioning of the position of painting and painters greedily striving for visual mass appeal, rather than content with significance (e.g. in his work White Bad Painter). Sicoe’s engaged art is very sincere, direct in expression and unaffected, disregarding current practices and trends. What he takes into consideration is the creativity of primitive cultures from all over the world, which retains some primary force and expressiveness and allows the textuality to evolve.

Viewing Sicoe’s works is like traveling into a world of a radiant color energy charge, in which a palette of yellows, reds, oranges, blues, and greens predominates. The painter layers his colors in a limited space, Gothically boxy, flat, and uniformly lighted. The flatness is often counterbalanced with depth, with some kind of empty view of the background. This indicates the fear of the empty core (what the artist calls Zzen) and at the same time the duality of realizing and obliterating any idea of true perspective, entry into space, or emphases on depth. The artist even creates anti-perspective, the visual sensation that an image is both near and far. The balance between the openness and airiness of space (due to the vibrant colors) and its constrictedness (due to the composition) is underscored by the figures hovering in space. They appear as though they were pasted on or suspended in the foreground of the painting, at times unexpressive, and at other times expressively powerful precisely due to their seeming helplessness. The space is too small for the figures; they are oversized, squeezed in and trapped in the relative space and time, and as a consequence, visually and narratively effective.

Sicoe sees visual art as a fluctuating field of various present and absent images. Their absence points to associative strings of possibilities; here the painter flirts with abstraction or with the structure of the visual power of the absence of visual elements. The intensity of the elements of colors, light, figures, and composition determines their relationships and indicates the extremely sensitive perception of an insightful, subtle artist, highly susceptible to what is going on around him. His works are open, sincere color statements, personal stories captured in the wild power of color.

Sarival Sosič