The name ‘Pop Art Nouveau’ is a combination of the terms ‘Pop Art’ and ‘Art Nouveau’ and is by itself a manifest or policy statement.
This style picks up fundamental ideas of the Art Nouveau movement, like the decorative ornaments and the close relationship with nature, and fuses them with elements of Pop Art, such as the fictional simplicity and the two-dimensionality, with the intention of developing something completely new. This art makes the connection between tradition and the modern era by creating a completely autonomous sense of form.
Pop Art Nouveau is a decorative artistic concept that picks up and advances the freely oscillating lines found in nature. This gives the paintings a profundity that relates the individual ‘stories’ of the elements.
By elevating the lifelines of the wood, Pop Art Nouveau bridges the gap between the memories of nature and the effects of experience and emotions on us humans. For the finished work of art is meant to affect the lives of the viewers and to turn their everyday life into a work of art as well – if only a little.
Beauty in the Detail
Stepanek’s works are not meant to merely lighten the room in which they are displayed, but also the beholder’s everyday life.
He uses composition silver and gold as a medium and apply it directly to the naturally oscillating grain of wood. With gold, people find it difficult to look the other way, and as a consequence, will observe the “beauty in the detail” again or for the first time.
It is Camillo Stepanek’s intention that observers, by realizing this beauty in the detail, not only see the fascinating lines in the wood, but also the magical lines in nature in general as well as the “lines” in our daily lives, such as the sweet smile of a fellow passenger on the underground/subway.
Pop Art and Art Nouveau
Even though Pop Art Nouveau has adopted fundamental ideas of both Art Nouveau and Pop Art, it differs significantly from certain ideas of these art styles.
Pop Art Nouveau sees the magic shape of the line and the ornament it creates as the source of art. The quest of Art Nouveau for the perfectly oscillating line both in nature and in art, perhaps with the help of artificially created templates, does not feel right. With Pop Art it is similar: Stepanek understands the concepts of Pop Art – for instance the emphasis on reproduction, the loss of uniqueness and the fact that art is “produced” – but they do not reflect his ideas of creativity.
The grain of the wood shows the “lifelines” of a tree – the growth rings a tree develops year in and year out. These lines are determined by several factors – the type of tree, soil, sunlight, vicinity of other trees, etc.
Thus, the life of a tree is pictured in the grain. By highlighting the lifelines of the tree Stepanek builds a bridge to us humans and asks how we draw our lifelines and by what they are influenced. What would a picture of our lifelines look like?