In early 1998 Zika took up an Australia Council funded four month residency in Barcelona. He went there to study the elaborate fusion of ornate decorative features into the complex asymmetrical architectural systems of the Art Nouveau / Modernismo style. On arrival he discovered a wonderful set of wildly ornate gilded 17th Century Catalan Rococo mirrors in the Museum of Decorative Arts. The “Cornucopia” series of works seeks to synthesize these two influences.
The infinite space of the mirror glass is replaced by a layering of Art Nouveau inspired patterns sourced from tile and wrought iron designs. The highly stylized frame dissolves into a juxtaposition of screens layered through to the wall, setting up an ambiguous reading of space. There is nothing illusionistic about this space, nor is it merely an abstract positive / negative optically ambiguous one (although these sensations are employed particularly at the lowest in the sequence of layers). The intention is to orchestrate this profusion in the articulation of a bewildering and disorienting pictorial space. Rather than extending the tradition of Malevich’s mystic white “nothingness”, the use of fragmentary decorative elements associates this quest with a digital “spaceless” space – a hyper-real space without the virtuoso illusionistic devices of Baroque hyper-realism.