Michal Skapa belongs to the expressive wave of Czech writers with a large amount of realism. He is devoted to the endless amounts of graphic activity of the magazine Free Magazine and Upstream from visual festivals, books, CD music covers, design posters and invitations to cultural events right up to the creation of his own fonts. Recently he has created a series of silk screen graphic letters. He imparts a colourful imagination to this works, which create techniques of painting using acrylic combined with airbrushing. In co-operation with The Chemistry Gallery he organised in 2011 his own exhibition in the premises of Trafacek and together with Jan Kalab and Pasta Oner realised The Chemistry Gallery exhibition concept ‘Can you dig it?’ which the gallery presented in foreign institutions (The Prague House in Brussels and others).
Michal Skapa, on his journey from the numerous forms of graffiti via the graphic primitivism of latin-american pixacao and pop-art irony, has arrived at abstract canvasses. He created the character Mr Spray, in some ways the personification but at the same time a send-up of graffiti revolts. The gently mischievous Spray with his countless colleagues take part in already lost battles, put on criminal masks and, like melting ‘emoticons’, will end up on civilisation’s rubbish dump. The ironic subtext of his at first sight accessible and well known pictures (Skapa works with enduringly well known advertising motifs, like the emoticon) with progressive abstraction acquires respect. The pointed message is emphasised when we find ourselves at The End of the World, surrounded by thousands of literally used up sprays. Spray and his nonsensical activity, whether creative (decorated walls) or revolutionary-heroic (spray battles in which we do not know who is the actual hero) could be a reference to the futility of human endeavour, or in a metaphorical sense to futility in general.
This existential theme, present in all of Skapa's pictures and graphics, came together in his work INVISIBLE FUTURE FOREVER! which he created for Expo 2010 in Shanghai (and shown later at the DOX). The biggest of his creations was called TRON (one of Skapa's identities), which was a simulation of a large city, the blinking blur of homes, glass, concrete, movement and noise and at the same time the externalization of a certain dignity and elegance of the frantic megapolis. It recalls replicants, Neuromancer, Terry Gilliam's film Brazil or the cult Style Wars. The beauty glimpsed in endless futility, or rather the ability to notice it there, where there is no place for it. Zero zero nothing?
We can see the swarm of the big city in his other works, starting with the tens of tin cans (127 tin cans and so on), through 'anti-heroes (Avengers, Super Mario and so on) up to abstract motifs (Versus, Big wall, Dark materials and so on). The layering of the content and form and subsequent covering of surfaces has its own specific rhythm. The realistic (ironic and parodying) becomes fused with the abstract (serious and dark). For now the most abstract are the so called Walls and the picture Dark materials from which projects a cuboid stuck in solid magma. The zenith of this inconspicuous scepticism is thus the End of the world. The mythical Leviathan here rises from the dark clay.
Skapa’s creations up to this point might be considered from his implied ‘evolutionary’ viewpoint. Their peak may be the abstraction towards which the author has now grown. The zero startpoint is thus the phenomena of signs in a thousand modifications. Skapa’s works have sprung up spontaneously, linked to the new stimuli of the naturally curious observer. It is not possible therefore to artificially force it into any evolutionary tree. Although the ‘abstract season’ of the master of parody actually begins.
Interview from 2015 (Revue Art):
http://www.834.cz/…-postapo.pdf (project Post–Apo 2015) http://www.834.cz/…a_muraly.pdf (realization in public space) http://www.834.cz/pub/gr-man.pdf (an artwork from the exhibition Graffoman 2014) http://www.834.cz/…rrrafika.pdf (graphics – mostly silk screens) http://www.834.cz/pub/00-nic.pdf