Ádám Dóra’s series, Chunky Steps was started during the global pandemic. Portraits of sneakers on canvas; figurative oil and acrylic paintings using the language of formalist and modernist art, drawing on pop-culture. More specifically, on the world of fashion. The artist evokes his models by the conscious blending of varied material qualities and tactile textures, all of which appear in natural landscapes that form a diverse, yet coherent universe. A generous indulgence in character can be discerned in each painting, despite the fact that the main stylistic line of the shoes is always recognisable: they have personalities of their own.
In his book The Language of Things , Deyan Sudjic explores at length the ambivalence that fashion holds for the theoretical question of individuality. Namely, that fashion simultaneously carries the possibility of belonging and not belonging. It constantly draws on the fields of art and design, and– it’s particularly characteristic of the attitudes of the fashion industry in the 20-21st century – juxtaposing design trends and a variety of visual art media. In this way, fashion, in the hope of its own renewal, in its pursuit of ‘novelty’, inevitably integrates subcultures into itself that may lose their identity in the process.
According to Sudjic, shoes are particular players in this phenomenon. Their hybrid character is more accepted, more allowed, even celebrated in the world of popular aesthetics. In 20th century fashion history, we have witnessed the triumph of the sneaker, which is to support the human foot’s anatomy and its performance. As a related trend, the sneaker transcends the humble consideration of the human foot’s anatomy and takes on increasingly otherworldly, alien-like forms. The sneaker, which was intended to represent comfort and for a long time was present as a ‘substitute’ – an accessory that provided agility – has over time taken on the role of formal footwear.
The sneaker alone is capable of illustrating larger-scale social fault lines. While it gradually became an accepted casual wear in the second half of the 20th century, narrowing the gap between social classes, it later reasserted its status as a social symbol through limited edition pieces and the illusion of collections. Almost single-handedly, it has the capacity to represent social unity and division.
Dóra Ádám a művészet irányzatait és médiumait öncélúan, kontextusából kiragadottan felhasználó divatot művészetébe emeli, és játékosan megfordítja a mediális átjárás megszokott áramlási irányát. Sorozatában így az absztrakt és figurális festészeti tradíciók mellett a divat sajátos statementjeit is katalizálja. A művész így tudatosan alkalmazza azt a motívumtárat, azokat az esztétikai jelentéstartalmakat, amit ezek a tárgyak kifejeznek és kifejezhetnek, egyfajta társadalmi tükörré transzformálva műveit. Érzékeny és átgondolt munkáin keresztül ezért nem kizárólag a festészeti és a képi ábrázolás kérdéseivel foglalkozik, hanem egy olyan konceptuális társadalmi témakört is a diskurzusba emel, amely a tárgyak társadalomformáló jellegére hívja fel a figyelmet.