We invite you to an exhibition of Slovak graphic art from a private collection to the Roman Fecik Gallery. Under our curatorial concept, we have prepared a selection of 9 significant representatives of the graphic art in Slovakia.
Introducing Slovak graphics from a single private collection is not an easy task, even if it is a collection of well-known and long-time graphic collector such as Roman Fecik. The selection of authors and works is simply "limited" by the scope of the collection and by the owner's taste. At the exhibition From Sokol to Gažovič, we finally selected 9 authors to show that graphics played a really important role in Slovakia during the 20th century.
On a relatively small area, the viewer can see how the themes or used graphics techniques have changed over time. Our journey begins with the oldest author, Koloman Sokol (1902 - 2003). Sokol was the first of Slovak graphic artists who went beyond the territory of Slovakia. During his studies in Prague, he became one of the leading graphic artists and later influenced the European and Mexican art scene. He was inspired by the Slovak folklore and countryside. He created his last graphic sheet in 1954, and later he only devoted himself to paintings and drawings. Folklore, village life and folkness were close topics for Ľudovít Fulla (1902 - 1980) as well, who also used the knowledge of Cubism. He was one of the founders of modern painting and graphics in Slovakia. His works celebrate the joy of life, which is also supported by the typical bright colorfulness. In 1949 - 1952, Ernest Zmeták (1919 - 2004) was assistant of Fulla at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava, who followed Sokol in presidency of the Association of Artists and Friends of Graphics. He also portrayed rural themes, but his works mainly dominated religious motives. Cyprián Majerník (1909 - 1945) acts as a soloist in this group. He has only rarely devoted himself to the graphics, but the artwork Don Quijote (1942), presented here, is an example of his eternal theme of lonely riders traveling without a goal.
Another trio of authors belong currently among the most popular graphic artists. Vincent Hložník (1919 - 1997) played a very important role in the postwar art. He discovered other techniques than the older generation. In his work he reacts to the tragic times and, in particular, to the consequences of the war. Under his leadership, the Slovak graphic art was characterized by unmistakable workmanship of works. Among his pupils belonged Albín Brunovský (1935 - 1997), who is probably the most sought after personality of Slovak graphic art not only in our country but also abroad. Both Hložník and Brunovský left behind a strong footprint and influenced many of their pupils and followers. Vladimír Gažovič (* 1939) was for a certain time a pupil of Hložník, later studied abroad and thanks to that moved Slovak imaginative work into other contexts. He is inspired by secession, symbolism, expressionism and surrealism, he focuses on figures and often displays some erotic ideas or relationships among people. His typical feature is the outstanding work with lithography, based on which Hložník titled him the master of lithography.
The last pair is Andrej Barčík (1928 -2004) and Milan Paštéka (1931-1998), co-founders of the Mikuláš Galanda Group. Barčík's creation is based on geometric shapes and reduced color. The most popular are his still lifes with bottles. Paštéka's work on the exhibition dates back to 1966, when he was awarded the Prize of Cyprián Majerník.
There are more authors, that we would like to present here. But I believe that this selection will at least briefly present the different stages of this art medium in Slovakia.
Melita Fodor Gwerková
curator of the exhibition