An exhibition of paintings about space, surface, memory, structure and on the form of pictures and, ultimately, about why painting cannot die.
During the course of the twentieth century, the oldest medium has been consistently confronted with its own possibilities. Art criticism has repeatedly announced the death of painting, its conservativeness, its inability to picture reality, its hermetic nature and its materiality as an inappropriate object of desire. Contemporary painting has left the discussion arena strengthened, since in this era of the open borders of art, it has been able to absorb ideas and processes from other areas such as (post)conceptual art, installation or performance art. And the same is applied in the opposite direction: the specific discourse of painting has made its entry into other media. In the digital age, a painted picture can be understood as a legitimate space for knowledge and resistance.
Over the last few years, the Czech painter Zbyněk Sedlecký has been earnestly examining the environment of architecture and the social interactions which take place within it. His depictions of urban space in metropolises such as New York, London, Vienna or Budapest do not reveal their specificity, but rather unified situations which can be played out anywhere in our global world. Sedlecký’s pictures are model studies in which architecture sets the scene for the typical choreographies of people moving around a city. Alongside architecture, Sedlecký takes an interest in other elements of public space such as sculptures and memorials. In the process of reduction, they become abstract bodies outside time and space. Painting as he presents it is not a mirror of reality, but a system of signs changing according to the context and position of the spectator. His attitude is deliberately open; there are minimal differences between individual pictures in a cycle, as if he had taken a photograph of the same motif with a slight shift. Sedlecký’s work is on the borderline between the figurative and the abstract; his surfaces of painting combined with collage, his figures which on close inspection disintegrate into areas of colour and his almost geometrical compositions are all interesting features.
In her cycle entitled Pompeiis, Jana Farmanová paints the open spaces of the ancient town on the flanks of the Vesuvius volcano which was buried under volcanic lava almost two thousand years ago. Archaeologists only discovered the town in the eighteenth century and ever since, it has been one of the most fascinating centres of ancient culture. The simple architecture is surprising in its timelessness; the play of light, which is a free element modelling real space, is captivated in Farmanová’s paintings. The illusion of space on the surface of the canvas is brought about by a combination of coloured areas. Farmanová’s characteristic style of painting is brought out fully in these depictions of Pompeii’s interiors. In relation to the motif, there is an implicit reference to the style of Pompeian painting which is an important frame of reference for Farmanová.
In his cycle of pictures “New Paintings”, Rastislav Podoba paints a territory which is closest to him: his own studio. Canvasses propped against the wall are transformed into almost sculptural objects whose three-dimensional nature is heightened by a combination of light and shade. From time to time Podoba returns in his work to the motif of the interior, yet the phenomenon of the painter’s play with what is seen is at the forefront of his interest: the depicted space is transformed into the space of the picture. In this case, too, Podoba balances on the borderline between realism and abstraction; the depth of space and the perspective clash with the surface of seemingly abstract painting. He chooses another, more realistic, approach in his painting entitled “Bronze”, in which he paints a portrait of a sculpture of the representative of Slovak classic modernism, Martin Benka, in the cemetery in Martin. In this picture, too, Podoba turns towards painting, albeit through the figure of an artist whose work has many advocate and opponents. Podoba’s picture can be seen as a slightly ironic commentary on society’s idea of a painter as national hero.
Klaudia Kosziba works similarly to the other artists participating in the exhibition in the form of open cycles. For every motif, she seeks out the most fitting painting style, leading to constant experimentation with painting mediums. She finds her subjects in areas which appear marginal and she is attracted by the visualisation of the intangible, inconspicuous, invisible. In her own words, she conducts a permanent polemic with her own work; she is interested in the subject of perfection in art. In this exhibition, she is presenting paintings inspired by the life and work of the American poet Robinson Jeffers. In her painting “House of the poet”, she depicts the stone house which Jeffers built on his own following his own ideas. The symbol of the house also figures here as a metaphor for creation: both poetic and painted.
Jana Farmanová (*1970, Nitra, SK), graduate of Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (prof. J. Berger). Her paintings are in collections of Nitra Gallery, Museum of Arts Olomouc, Wannieck Gallery Brno and Sammlung Würth. Selected exhibitions: Galerie Sýpka Valašské Meziříčí (2013), Nitrianska galéria (2013), Krokus Galéria Bratislava (2012), Východoslovenská galéria Košice (2010), Dom umenia Bratislava (2010), Galerie kritiků Praha (2009), Galerie Topičův salon Praha (2008).
Klaudia Kosziba (*1971, Šaľa, SK), graduate of Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (prof. J. Berger), since 2008 she is the head of the Department of painting at Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Selected exhibitions: Galéria Médium Bratislava (2013), Stredoslovenská galéria Banská Bystrica (2012), Slovenský inštitút Viedeň (2011), Nitrianska galéria (2010), Galerie kritiků Praha (2009).
Rastislav Podoba (*1975, Bánovce nad Bebravou) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (prof. Vladimír Popovič, prof. Rudolf Sikora). He is a multiple finalist of the VUB Foundation Prize for Painting, in 2008 he was awarded the International Association of Art Prize at the VI. International Biennial of Drawing in Pilsen and in 2009 he was awarded Martin Benka Prize. Selected exhibitions: Pisztoryho palác Bratislava (2013), Krokus Galéria Bratislava (2012), Múzeum architektúry Wroclaw (2012), Galéria mesta Bratislava (2011), Nitrianska galéria (2011), Galéria Cypriána Majerníka Bratislava (2009).
Zbyněk Sedlecký (*1976, Ostrava, CZ) studied at Faculty of Fine Arts at Technical University in Brno (prof. J. Načeradský) and at Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (prof. J. Sopko). His scholarship studies include Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Kunste in Stuttgart and Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerpen. He took part in residencies in Bucharest, Český Krumlov and the program ISCP in New York. Selected exhibitions: NoD Gallery Roxy Praha (2013), Karlín Studios (2012), acb Gallery Budapest (2011), HangArt 7 Salzburg (2011), Liverpool Biennial (2010), Galerie hlavního města Praha (2009).
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