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Teodor Tekel Expressions

Exhibition title: Teodor Tekel Expressions
Venue: The Ján Koniarek Gallery /GJK/ in Trnava, Kopplova vila, Zelený kríček 3
Curator: PhDr. Štefan Zajíček
Opening: 4 April 2012 /Wednesday/, 18:00, Kopplova vila GJK
Duration: 4 April 2012 – 27 May 2012


Composition no. 17, 1960 to 1970, dry pastel drawing

For the months of April and May 2012 the Ján Koniarek Gallery in Trnava prepared a jubilee exhibition of pastels, watercolors and drawings of the Franciscan Father Teodor Tekel (1902 – 1975), a noted Slovak painter, draftsman and graphic artist. The exhibition takes place on the 110th birth anniversary of the priest and artist, who, after the ruthless abolition of monasteries and religious orders in 1950, lived his last twenty-five years in Trnava. It contains more than four hundred exhibits taken from among more than two thousand eight hundred artworks permanently kept in the collection of the Trnava gallery. 
A decade ago the Ján Koniarek Gallery in Trnava held the first comprehensive exhibition of Tekel´s artworks on the occasion of his birth centenary under the name “Fire of the Soul". The following year, 2003, at his exhibition in the City Gallery of Bratislava was presented a monograph written by PhDr.Alena Piatrová, PhD. published in the Prešov publishing house of Michal Vaško. 
The lifelong painter´s and designer´s work of the priest Teodor Tekel maintained its fearless spiritual, religious message and its charge of permanent opposition to the then socialist, normalization regime. 
The priest and painter Teodor Tekel was born on 26 January 1902 in Kelemeš, today´s Ľubotice near Prešov and died on 14 July 1975 in Trnava. 
Though he decided to go on a spiritual path of a Franciscan priest and monk, his early artistic inclination culminated in 1930 through 1934 when he studied painting at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts with the famous Professor Max Švabinský. 
Tekel´s exceptionally prolific painter, draftsmanship and graphic work is at first sight characterized by convincing expressive features, which quite accurately corresponds to his natural Christian orientation in the typical biblical themes, especially from the life of Christ, specifically his portraits, the crucifixion, but also Madonna, Pieta and the Saints. 
In this sense Theodor Tekel uniquely transforms Slovak religious painting into the current aspect of modern painting and draftsmanship language, convincingly interpreting spiritual religious ideas in a non-descriptive, rather symbolic and expressive way. 
Due to continued lack of painting material together with the prohibition on the presentation of his work to the public, Father Teodor Tekel creates his vivid painting and draftsmanship expressions on any material which was at hand; most often on the modest and fragile newsprint, at times in form of collages. In his compositions, in which painting virtually merges with drawing, Teodor Tekel often uses dark contours isolating darker damped colors, mostly blue-green, dark blue, brown and contrasted red and yellow, various, mostly small or even miniature format artworks. 
The exhibition, with its overall Christian character, corresponding spiritually in its time with the Slovak catholic literary modernism, also intended to celebrate the upcoming 1150th anniversary of the arrival of our missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius, will be open in the Ján Koniarek Gallery from 4 April till 27 May 2012.

PhDr. Štefan Zajíček 


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