On the image above is highlighted the region where I was born. Slovakia has a huge significance to me, as I lived there for the first eighteen years of my life. Interestingly, I’ve spent all my adult life in the UK. Being a visual artist, I’ve been exhibiting here, mostly in London, and I’ve been lucky enough to show my work abroad as well. However, not once since I’d moved to London, I’d shown in Slovakia! This puzzles me and I decided to make this right and interact more with the Slovak Galleries and my homeland artists. The next two or three blog posts will be introducing exactly those galleries from my region that I’m talking with. There is the potential to exhibit in them, as well as to take part in the international symposiums, and I’m excited about these prospects. Not forgetting to mention supportive and lovely Live Pozitive Organization about which I’ll dedicate the whole blog post NO.3 of this series.
The first gallery is The Spis Artists’ Gallery (Galéria umelcov Spiša), one of the youngest collecting institutions in the region, but also in Slovakia (25 years old). Its breathtaking Renaissance architecture with three-dimensional division with cross and barrel vaults with well-preserved details of arcades, columns, cornices and beams will blow your mind away. The current and permanent exhibitions aren’t dominated by the surroundings, quite the contrary, they work together in harmony. There is an outdoor space with The Garden of Art too. The exposition activity of the gallery maps and presents mainly the artists with relations to the Spis Region (see map on top), but it also touches Slovak Visual Art and not in a small amount it presents the work of foreign artists.
Amongst others, I loved the current exhibition SACRAL ELEMENTUM II, which consists of two parts – IKONY (ICONS) / original historical icons from collections of Zemplin Museum. This part was curated by Mgr. Dana Barnová and SAKRÁLNE V SÚČASNOM VÝTVARNOM UMENÍ (SACRAL IN CONTEMPORARY ART) including artists Katarína Balúnová – Andrea Čepiššáková – Michaela Knížová – Matúš Lányi – Martin Mlynarič – Dorota Sadovská – Monika Stacho – Viktória Šoltisová – Ján Vasilko – Eva Tkáčiková was curated by Lucia Benická, Kamila Paceková. Artists Michaela Knížová and Matúš Lányi caught my attention, I bring you a few photos of their works and a video by Michaela Knížová.
While visiting the gallery, I’ve had a chance to discover three permanent exhibitions. Two of them indoors – JOZEF HANULA’s drawings and paintings and the recently installed TERRA GOTHICA (Gotická cesta) – and the remaining outdoor exposition which opened in 2002, THE GARDEN OF ART, full of magnificent sculptures! A quick example of an outdoor installation I saw there is a piece by Miroslav Broos, ‘Darovanie zeme, 2013’ (free translation Earthly Gift). This is a process-based work which contains bulbs of soil collected in different locations, and those are then left to open up and disintegrate to dust. I love this process and look what was left for me to see when I visited (image. 2)! It’s nearly all turned to mud!
And finally, I bring you to the last sculpture of this blog post. I was intrigued by Amálka Ľudmila Valenčíková‘s, piece Infiltration of Inner Space (Prenikanie vnutorneho priestoru) 2006, which is situated in THE GARDEN OF ART.
I’d asked the artist three very short questions in an email interview and this is what Amálka Ľudmila Valenčíková said:
SK Q: What are you focusing on now in your works, what changed since 2006, the year when you participated in the sculptural symposium in Spis Artists’ Gallery in Spisska Nova Ves and you produced the sculpture ‘Infiltration of Inner Space’ (Prenikanie vnutorneho priestoru)?
ALV A: Since then a lot has changed. I’m more focused on creations that are less demanding on space. I still like making installations and I’m drawn to organic shapes but with more intimate resonance and feeling. The new topics of femininity are present. For example in my solo exhibition in Spis Artists’ Gallery in 2011, ‘Zbieram krajky, čipky, zn. aj poškodené prineste do galérie.'(I’m collecting varied lace, even damaged, please bring to the gallery) I introduced some interactive elements in my work too. (Photo below)
SK Q: What project are you currently working on?
ALV A: I’m happily busy working on my relationship with my baby daughter; I’m on maternity leave, so most of my time is taken. However, this is very inspiring!
SK Q: As a sculptor, what materials do you prefer?
ALV A: I like natural materials. But what really interests me about them is their combination with other matter, often ready-made. For example silicon, epoxy, textile, plastic and others…and I mustn’t forget to mention lace too as a prime material combined with mirrors, paint, gold leaf, other metal objects, stones and other.
So that was the quick email interview with Amalka Ludmila Valencikova. Next time I’m in Slovakia, I’m going to bring you more in depth interviews with one, or more of these talented artists. I’ll keep you updated on any progress I’ll have in talks with the gallery and this brings me in a way to a natural end of the post. I hope you enjoyed this brief insight of my personal recommendations. Do visit Slovakia, the Spis Region and the gallery itself to have a look. I would love your comments and any recommendations you might have. As always, you can leave those in the ‘comment’ box or on twitter, and also on Facebook. In the next post, I’ll be introducing a gallery in my birth town, Poprad, Tatra Gallery Elektraren. See you then.
Tickets and opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 8.30 – 16.30, Saturday: 9.00 – 13.00
Admission (gallery offers 5 individual exhibiting spaces):
Adults: € 1 / 1 exhibition; € 2,50 / all 5 galleries
Children, students, others: € 0,50 / 1 exhibition; € 1,50 / all 5 galleries
Family ticket: € 2,50 / 1 exhibition; € 5,50 / all 5 galleries
Video and photo upon agreement: € 2 / person