Kunsthalle Bratislava (KHB) opens an exhibition on the reflection of the topic of the Slovak State in contemporary Slovak visual arts. The first floor of KHB will offer the visitors the works of more than twenty male and female artists, some of whom focus on the topic consistently.
The exhibition under the title Look What Is Back / The Slovak State in Contemporary Art responds to the topical subject matter that is sensitive not only in the field of visual arts – the controversial time in the history of Slovakia.
The curators Katarína Bajcurová, Petra Hanáková, Bohunka Koklesová and Nina Vrbanová have selected authors from the whole spectrum of the current art scene. There are the classics of the Slovak fine arts of the latter half of the 20th century (Juraj Bartusz, Jozef Jankovič , Rudolf Sikora), as well as the established representatives of the middle and younger generations (Ilona Németh, Svätopluk Mikyta, Martin Piaček, Jaroslav Kyša). The exhibition title refers to the famous novel by Timur Vermes who reveals, in a playful form but with a chilling result, the traps and treacherous subliminal mechanisms of fascism.
The exhibition in KHB is clearly defined in terms of the theme, and also has its dramaturgy logic. It reflects the engaged art which represents one of the important lines of contemporary art in Slovakia. It simultaneously follows up on the past projects whose ambition was to mediate the actually discussed topics (Fear Of The Unknown, 2016; Fem(inist) Fatale, 2015; both exhibitions were prepared for KHB by the curator Lenka Kukurová).
The individual works were not created on a commission (with the exception of one adaptation), they had all been already exhibited or published, and they are a part of the current artistic discourse. They only confirm the fact that contemporary art does not avoid this complex social and political theme; on the contrary, it repeatedly reflects it in the spectrum of several generations of artists.
The exhibition clearly demonstrates that artists, too, ask questions that are similar to those asked by the majority of citizens: what to do with the legacy of the clerical-fascist Slovak State? Should we study it? Ignore or deny it? Try to understand it? Disdain it? Apologise for it? The artists answer many of them through the language of art, and offer the (not only) perceptive viewer an experience as well as food for thought.
Programmes accompanying the exhibition:
As usual, accessory and educational programmes are part of the exhibition. There will be commented viewings, talks and workshops with the artists and curators in the exhibition space, lectures and discussions with professionals on the topic of the current political art. The educational programmes and workshops for families, schools, youth and adults will be aimed at reflection on both the individual and historical memory. They will be asking questions and looking for answers about contemporary art and its possibilities to reflect on history. The so-called children’s guide is published within the Kunsthalle KIDS project aimed at the visiting children. The role of mediators, who will be permanently present in the exhibition space, will be to give information to the visitors and to communicate about the exhibited artworks.
LOOK WHAT IS BACK / THE SLOVAK STATE IN CONTEMPORARY ART
Artists exhibiting: Alexandra Anušev Borsíková, Dalibor Bača, Juraj Bartusz, Anton Čierny, Jozef Jankovič, Peter Kalmus, Kassaboys, Noro Knap, Daniela Krajčová, Jaroslav Kyša, Radko Mačuha, Svätopluk Mikyta, Jarmila Mitríková and Dávid Demjanovič, Ilona Németh, Martin Piaček, Rastislav Podoba, Nora Ružičková, Rudolf Sikora, Anabela Sládek, Ľubo Stacho, Martin Šútovec, Milan Vagač, Jaroslav Varga
- Martin Piaček: From the cycle The Greatest Embarrassments of Slovak History, 13th of March 1939, First Meeting of Jozef Tiso and Adolf Hitler, from 2007, courtesy of the artist. Photo: Gabriel Kuchta