Z motorinom v Maribor

Exhibition of Damijan Stepančič's works
Maribor Puppet Theatre

Damijan Stepančič is an illustrator with a very distinctive and original style. In his work, he maintains a profound connection with the noble tradition of painting and illustration, which he knows very well, and intertwines it, sensibly and effectively, with contemporary artistic expression. He endeavors, on the one hand, to follow tradition, while exhibiting, on the other, a strong desire to reshape and re-evaluate it. The harder he tries to depart from tradition, the more he upholds it, broadening and enriching it in the process.

Damijan is a painter who likes to tell stories. Why do I lay such emphasis on the fact that he is a painter? Because his painterly approach provides him with a much wider range of styles and techniques. But perhaps even “painting” is not the best word to describe what Stepančič does, for he is always switching and mixing techniques. He may utilize clean, dry media, charcoal or a paintbrush. He may stick bits of paper into collages or paint in acrylics. He may even make prints. He will use whatever he finds interesting and necessary. It may seem that he switches between techniques without rhyme or reason, pursuing the whim of his inspiration, but it only appears that way on the surface. The inspiration actually lies in outlining a solid project concept. In the execution phase, it abides quietly in every atom of the image. In the end, the whole appears to have been created in one instant. Everything is fresh and brimming with intractable impulsivity. Stepančič’s greatest strengths are his (occasionally outrageous) courage and his disregard for tradition, which he deviates from consciously as if guided by the principle – the further away, the better. I once characterized him as a brazen illustrator. His compositions are bold, and his segments of action unconventional. He has a tendency to pile techniques into rich palimpsest layers, and yet the viewer never feels that it is excessive – everything serves a purpose, a purpose derived from the story, character portraits, or even the literary style of the text. Adjusting his artistic expression to the text is personal to him. He very rarely merely follows the text, preferring instead to converse with it, even polemicise it, allowing himself an ironical take on the story. He twists the text visually and fills in any gaps he sees.

He is not averse to ignoring details that strike him as redundant – he is not by any means an illustrator who merely follows and embellishes the text. Stepančič is an erudite, mature and independent artist who never allows the text to steer his commentary on it. He is uncompromising in everything he does and approaches everything with great passion and intense creativity. That is probably the reason why he has recently been taking up so many personal projects, independent of commission. These range from bulky comic albums and wordless picture books to story books in which the writer is employed merely to help Stepančič express his idea in literary form. Projects such as these expand the field of play that enticed him to the world of illustration.

The books and comic albums that come out of these experiments are striking and unusual. He may be regarded as the enfant terrible of Slovenian illustration, but his stance also empowers other artists to break away from the beaten pathways and customs. The sheer size of his opus is astounding, and it hardly matters whether that is driven by his bold nonchalance, his energy and strong need for expression, or his appetite for telling stories his own way. Whatever the case may be, his creations are intense and, above all, charming artistic sensations for children as well as adults.

Opening hours
The LGM Box Office is open every Tuesday to Friday between 9 am and 1 pm, each Friday between 4 pm and 6 pm, each Saturday between 9 am and 1 pm and one hour before each event.
Where are we
Vojašniški trg 2, 2000 Maribor