Indoor feelings and single-door kennels in your soul
With ‘Indoor feelings, and single-door kennels in your soul’ Robert Roest inserts the anthropomorphic thermometer into the flesh of the retarded, stupid and weaker angels of our nature: our easily deceived minds and deceptive senses. One might also confuse or recognize these as mighty demons of the self. Who is even who?
The evil-looking, hostile dogs that haunt the viewers of these canvases have their origins in internet memes and stills extracted from YouTube videos. In the virtual realm – this loyal friend, tamed for centuries – is seldom shown as itself, but often appears as being human. It is still unclear whether the human is as tame as his dog, and whether man is better off as a tamed or an untamed entity. They say barking dogs never bite, but one easily starts barking oneself when feeling the heat of a wide maw in one’s face.
The mythical pack of Fenrirs, Garmrs, Cerberuses, Naguals and others have left their fantastic underworld. On the Internet, they have appeared in public, though often in various guises, entrenching themselves in the indoor feelings and kennels in our souls. They are closer to our skin than our warmly lit interiors and embracing blankets. They delve deeper into us than our loved ones, and yet we barely get to know them. Did they leave their fantastic places at all? Are they not always in place, always in their element?
Stylistically, these canvases force two contradictory visual languages together. A classic, academic, bourgeois style, refined and domesticated in a forced marriage with its opposite: the wild, free, uncontrolled and error-ridden aesthetic of the digital. The photographic blur, the phone-camera flashlight. A-compositional snapshots, impatient photos, shot in poorly lit places. One might also take this symbolically and personally. Recommended even.
If you see these paintings as an insult to the dog – because our faithful friend on four feet, is portrayed so ugly – then you have not looked close enough. Dogs do not look at art and hardly look at themselves either. They are incapable of the self-reflection we are doomed to participate in, they don’t share the strong instinct we have of looking at ourselves. The tragic is not in knowing or not-knowing one’s self, but in being condemned to do half the job. The macabre perspectives are provided by our (un)awareness of a vast, unexplored area of potential, of the senses that work like disposable cameras in the dark. What lurks as a threat in our unconscious is the discrepancy (or abyss?) between image and reality and not knowing how big this difference is. In the shadows, cameras all too often catch phantoms, grins and monstrosities. Everyone knows that. They also fail, however, in well-lit, cozy interiors. You can laugh wholeheartedly at this once you see things as they are.
All this leaves the dogs indifferent, “it shall to them, so to speak, be a sausage!” In the end, “Indoor feelings, and single-door kennels in your soul” is about the human, his ideas, his feelings, his jokes. His Hades. His view. His spins.
If you penetrate deep enough into the jaws of the beast, you may realize, there is no beast.