In Eastern and Central Europe, the past has been defined by political disputes and forced reinterpretations. Depending on the political regime of the moment, some aspects of the past are put under the spotlight while others fall victim to a collective amnesia and denegation. Daniel Pitín’s paintings are inquiries into this erosion of memories and their often violent rewriting. In his painterly approach, the artist frequently deconstructs urban spaces, archival photographs, film scenes, and architectural interiors. He tries to uncover the discrepant layers of memory and the historical conflict behind them. Pitín reveals the uncanny nature of the iconic spaces such as Mies van der Rohe’s villa Tugendhat; he portrays the rough historical unconscious of smooth modernist interiors.
The Time Machine, Pitín’s fourth exhibition with Nicodim and his first in New York, moves further away from the interior spaces by focusing instead on the relationship between light and volume in an open, natural environment. The artist evokes two different times: a dystopic future full of drones and odd flying surveillance objects and the fragmented memories of the past. In the painting Time Machine (2022), Pitín places an assemblage of geometrical bodies in a chaotic and organic painterly space composed of large brushstrokes, ink stains, and scraps of old yellowed newspaper sealed in acrylic resin. The artist acts as if – at least for a brief moment – he was trying to stop the passing of time and fix the memory of an image on the canvas. This combination of oil paint and a crust of acrylics, paper, and dust introduces two different temporalities within Pitín’s artworks and gives them a peculiar quality recalling the deteriorated surface of a badly preserved archival photograph, or layers of ripped street posters.