We talked to Mrs. Daniela Polakovičová, the wife of the deceased graphic artist Dušan Polakovič, about his work, inspiration and especially about what he was like...
1) We know Dušan Polakovič mainly from his graphic and illustrative work. What was your husband like in private? What did he do in his spare time and what was his personality - as humorous as his work?
- I have always appreciated my husband's humor, insight and extensive knowledge in many areas. He was interested in history in general, but especially in military, history of the WW2. He loved documentaries about nature. Thanks to him, I knew almost every Great Coral Reef shark. He was devoted to his friends and popular in society, which sometimes clashed with family life. But basically I didn't laugh with anyone as much as I did with him, even though, to be honest, he sometimes pissed me off (but it's off camera :-)
2) What was the main inspiration for your husband's work?
- The main inspiration for his work has been, since his dissertation on "Praise of Madness" by Erasmus of Rotterdam, a critique of human stupidity, selfishness and hypocrisy, as well as a passionate interest in the inexhaustible wealth of shapes in nature. In the illustrative work the authors's text, but especially the feeling that the text evoked in him. He defined his inspiration and influences as follows: “Over time, there is a lot of influence on each author, whether he wants it or not. I am convinced that it does not matter whether it is the influence of Albin Brunovský, Andy Warhol, reproductions from foreign magazines, or, say, alcohol. In my opinion, it is important to find one's balance, a kind of modus vivendi, between one's own and other influences. But the most important thing is that the author has something to say. Otherwise influence - non-influence, everything is vanity! ”
3) Did he have any of his favorite graphics?
- Favorite graphics - hard to say, but as a "three-generation" citizen of Bratislava he had a strong relationship with his city, which he expressed in the graphics "Sonata for the Old Town", "Afternoon on the Main Square", or in the last "Bratislava Story". There is a story in each of them - both historical and personal.
4) In his work we also meet with honors to various personalities. Do you know of any interesting story that relates to his graphics or the person he dedicated the graphics to?
- With his graphics he participated in the albums of several personalities, such as Koloman Sokol, Albín Brunovský or Homage DPB, released on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Bolek Polívka Theater, who has been close to him with his humor and poetics since its beginnings at the Goose on a String Theater. The most prominent figure who impressed him with his relationship with nature and animals and books about them was Gerald Durrell, the founder of the Jersey Zoo and the Foundation for the Protection of Animal Species. He dedicated the graphic "Tribute to G. Durrell" to him, where the symbol is an extinct dodo bird. Mr. Durrell said, "My success is like trying to unburrow Mount Everest with a teaspoon."
5) Is there anything else you would like to add?
- It's hard to cram memories into a few sentences. In addition, man has changed dramatically over the years. For example, when my husband was young, he practiced, quite intensively, bodybuilding, swam, and all that was left was the expedition to find mushrooms in the forests of Záhorie. He loved humorous literature, from Schweik, through Twain, Leacock to the aforementioned Durrell. He was against the division of Czechoslovakia and also died as a Czechoslovak.
Interview was led by the curator of the exhibition "Graphic legacy of Dušan Polakovič" Melita Fodor Gwerková.
Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.