Cry of pain

Jan Jungling has long painted movement, ranging from the run of horses, through the anatomical articulation of ballet, to scenes of theatre and the circus. In this, he captures the rapid and changing pace of life. His horses rush onward with power and a frantic energy. With ballet, Jungling explores the positions we take in life, straining to maintain balance and grace. The theatre paintings show the procession of characters across the stage of life, and the circus shows it’s joyous absurdity. In this new series of work, he captures the commencement and ceasing of all that movement.

“Krik Bolesti” : “Cry of Pain” are images of birth, and death. In keeping with his capture of the power of life, here Jungling shows the power that rends through the body birthing a child. He then shows the power of death throes in a body relinquishing life. This is a continuation of his former themes, as the horse race ultimately leads nowhere but a finishing line, and the curtain must fall on the stage. We see the mesmerising force of the movement in its beginning, and the entropic unwinding of the end. In combining these two stages in this one series, some of that linearity is broken down, and we also see the simultaneity of birth and death as a constant.

By presenting us with these two realities, which most of us shy away from in daily life, Jungling forces us to see the temporality of our individual existence and the boundaries imposed on our journey. There is an equality in these paintings. While the race will have a winner, and the performance will have a star, in birth and death there is absolute sameness. Jungling’s scenes of birth and death repeat, over and over, the variation cancelled out in the overwhelming humanity of the series as a whole.

Jungling’s work has always had a strong physicality. He uses anatomical precision to keep his art grounded in the natural world. However, he moves from this into abstraction, combining physical reality with its phenomenology. The metaphysical elements of time, and the spirit, are present in Jungling’s use of colour and geometry. In this sense, his work a complete representation. In this series, he has emphasised that completeness with this all encompassing subject matter.

Ultimately, the “Cry of Pain” series is a call to move through life consciously, and joyously. Seeing our incontrovertible beginnings and endings, we are presented with the absurdity of violence, war, and self-denial. Jungling shows us the borders we all fill, and so demonstrates the value of the space in-between. After we have seen the “Cry of Pain”, we can perhaps return to the race reminded that the freedom of that rush is all we have, and it must be savoured. We can return to the stage, and think carefully about how we fill our performance with meaning.

© Jakub Kavan