The Krokus Gallery presents its Summer Exhibition 2013: Places of Residence.
Compared to previous years, and in opposition to the “dictate of the new”, this time the gallery’s artists are bringing you a selection of works that have stood the test of time. Looking back to the past has shown that the exhibited paintings, objects, photographs and work on paper have proved to be important elements in their artistic programmes. As the subtitle of the exhibition indicates, in terms of theme the selection of works is based around travel, changing place, the domesticated as well as the natural environment which Man shapes and which in turn shapes him.
During his stay in Finland in 2006, Tomáš Džadoň produced his work entitled “Traditional Caravan”. In it, he combined original forms of living and habitat with contemporary ones, or as the Czech art theorist Jiří Ševčík noted, he tried to reconcile the irreconcilable. Džadoň designed a travelling caravan as we know them from summer holidays and campsites, but instead of a modern design he built it in the style of a traditional log cottage. From the outside, Džadoň’s caravan has a typical, rounded shape and black wheels and is pulled by a large four-wheeled, yellow Jeep. Here, innovation pulls tradition. It is comical and paradoxical: a wooden caravan, a wooden house on wheels. The log cottage as a symbol of tradition becomes a nomad’s trailer.
From Dezider Tóth, we present the object “Hiking Path Signs” (1981) and a series of repainted postcards dating from 1978 and entitled “Minimalist Censorship”. What was once the obligation of every tourist, sending their friends and family a note from their holiday, is gradually being lost and replaced by electronic communication. The interest shown in postcards by Tóth and his generation of artists during the period of normalisation in former Czechoslovakia, of barbed wire and guarded borders, has an essential political context, as indicated by the title of the series itself. As well as supervision by state power, self-censorship was one of the most powerful forms of social control. On the text side, Tóth places simple shapes such as squares, circles, rectangles, thus making the messages illegible. The artistic language reminiscent of the abstract geometry of the early avant-garde – unacceptable during the Socialist regime – is for Tóth an artistic form of resistance and a path towards preserving a free artistic commentary.
The accumulation of material and the principle of collecting over time, when several months or even years are spent on the theme being researched are characteristic of Peter Kalmus’ work. From 1995 to 2000, he created the cycle entitled “Interesting Facts on Tourism in Slovakia”. It is a collection of colour photographers in which Kalmus records miniatures of castles and manor-houses used to decorate the gardens, yards and rockeries of houses in Slovak towns and villages. The cycle of over one hundred photographs provides a report on the popular creativity of Slovaks and on their need to made the space around their houses more attractive using replicas of historic buildings or fantastic royal fairy-tale residences. Kalmus’ observations reveal the contrast between reality in the form of the architecture in which people live and their materialised desire for their own castle cast in cement or built out of pebbles.
One of Rastislav Podoba’s big themes is landscape. He is interested in natural scenery as a space which on the one hand eludes human civilisation and is a place for contemplation, and on the other hand he noticed cultural interference in the landscape and the often sharp contrast between vegetation and architecture as the substitutionary symbol of man. As a student at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in 2000, he painted a diptych entitled “The Ark”. The monochrome compositions of a night-time winter landscape have a mysterious atmosphere; the space of the forest opens up in between the tree trunks. On one of the paintings, a boat emerges from between the trees – the association with Noah’s ark is only one of the possibilities. The resemblance deliberately does not show a story, but paints a scene whose denouement remains outside the picture.
Lucia Dovičáková often sets her figures in a home environment. Interiors in her paintings play an important communication role; crocheted doilies, decorations on the rugs and patterned wallpaper give the impression of a cosy home. This, however, clashes with the real desires of her principal heroines whose greatest adventures are played out in their heads and go beyond the confines of the four walls. In the painting “Home sweet home” (2008) the woman (a self-portrait of the artist) leaning on a broom in the kitchen looks dreamily out of the window. An army of ants meanwhile marches along the walls of the flat. The banal situation carries within it the rich tradition of depicting women in household interiors staring out of the window, which is the symbolic opening onto the world.
Text: Gabriela Kisová
Lucia Dovičáková (*1981, SK), selected exhibitions: Pisztory palace Bratislava (2013), Nedbalka Gallery Bratislava (2013), Slovak National Gallery (2012), Kytka Gallery Prague (2012), Modem Debrecen (2012). Represented in the collections of: Slovak National Gallery, Marek collection.
Tomáš Džadoň (*1981, SK), selected exhibitions: Bratislava City Gallery (2013), Nedbalka Gallery Bratislava (2013), Chodovská tvrz Gallery Prague (2012), Ex Elettrofonica Rome (2012). Represented in the collections of: Slovak National Gallery, National Gallery Prague, Central Slovak Gallery Banská Bystrica and others.
Peter Kalmus (*1953, SK), selected exhibitions: Slovak National Gallery (2013), Modem Debrecen (2012), Andy Warhol Museum Medzilaborce (2012), Krokus Gallery (2012), Galéria Plusmínusnula Žilina (2011). Represented in the collections of: Slovak National Gallery, Nitra Gallery, East Slovak Gallery Košice, Central Slovak Gallery Banská Bystrica and others.
Rastislav Podoba (*1975, SK), selected exhibitions: Pisztory palace Bratislava (2013), Kro Art Contemporary Wien (2013), House of Art Bratislava (2011), Nitra Gallery (2011). Represented in the collections of: Bratislava City Gallery, Nitra Gallery, Central Slovak Gallery Banská Bystrica and others.
Dezider Tóth (*1947, SK), selected exhibitions House of Art Bratislava (2013), Slovak National Gallery (2012), Krokus Gallery (2012), Bratislava City Gallery (2011). Represented in the collections of: Slovak National Gallery, National Gallery Prague, Collection of the Prva investična skupina, Kassák Lajos Múzeum Budapest, Fondatione Morra Greco and others.
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