Evgen Čopi Gorišek - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Tuesday, June 21, 2022 | Phillips

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  • One of the most exciting emerging artists today, Berlin-based artist Evgen Čopi Gorišek has garnered international recognition with his surreal faux-naïf figures, characterised by v-shaped noses and bleeding, Joker-esque smiles. The young Slovene artist has attracted the attention of big names in the art world, including contemporary art legend Takashi Murakami and the late fashion visionary, Virgil Abloh. Humorous yet simmering with undercurrents of ominosity, calling into question the complex motifs of false pretences and psychological facades.


    Virgil Abloh (left) and Johann König (right) with the artist’s work, 2021


    Inspired by the dripping faces of Japanese artist Madsaki, the blurred grins of Gorišek’s subjects possess a mask-like quality, as if they were hastily plastered on to conceal inner turmoil, as unsettling as they are insincere. ‘People smile but inside they are really sad or unhappy or angry, and they're hiding it,’ the artist says. ‘Most people in our society, and even I am like this sometimes, find it hard to tell the truth. That is why I keep using the smile.’ The present work, Safari for two please, depicts a couple on a horse, pleasantly posed, their seeping, blood-red smiles stretched across their faces. Contrasting their apparent delight, the horse they are riding is miserable, two streams of tears flowing from its eyes and pooling at its feet. A testament to Gorišek’s talent in merging the hilarious with the macabre, the present work emanates a sense of discomfort, unsettling albeit its comical presentation. The lack of clarity invites theorising from the viewers, leaving us to ponder the context of the situation and the intentions that hide behind their perpetual grins.



    Despite their deceptive visual simplicity, Gorišek’s works are thought-provoking, appearing to be saturated with complex social commentaries— many consider his canvases to be a mockery of insincerity and plasticity in social media culture. When asked about his intentions, the artist muses: ‘I don’t really have a particular thing that I hope my audience will take from my art, because it depends a lot on what kind of works are they looking at. Sometimes they laugh which makes me happy that I made that person smile or laugh, sometimes they start questioning themselves and thinking a lot on the subject or motive that I painted. So this is maybe one thing that I like from my audience. To make them think.’ ii



    i Evgen Čopi Gorišek, quoted in Chris Erik Thomas, ‘Evgen Čopi Gorišek Is The Virgil-Approved Painter You Need To Know’,  Highsnobiety, September 2021, online

    ii Evgen Čopi Gorišek, quoted in Yannis Kostarias, ‘Explore The Contemporary Absurdities in Evgen Copi Gorisek’s Paintings’, Art Verge, 8 June 2020, online

    • Provenance

      42 art space, Beijing
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Safari for Two Please

acrylic and oil stick on canvas
164 x 152.2 cm. (64 5/8 x 59 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

HK$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for HK$176,400

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 21 June 2022