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Jozef Srna: The Cycle of Stories

Author, exhibition title: Jozef Srna: The Cycle of Stories
Venue: The Ján Koniarek Gallery /GJK/, Kopplova vila, Zelený kríček 3, Trnava
Curator: Roman Popelár
Opening: 06.11. 2014 (Thursday), 17:00
Duration: 06.11.2015 (Thursday) – 06.01.2015 (Tuesday)


Jozef Srna´s paintings are characterized by thoughtful, sometimes bizarre figural compositions with plots situated in contemporary streets and squares, shopping malls, ports, in a variety of exteriors and interiors. They are affected by the ongoing drama, individual´s closing in the existential loneliness or the expectation of a better future. He often connects the topics in the surrealistic units. He refers to social issues as well as to inner struggle of the characters. In recent years, his painter´s approach to the topics becomes more radical: situations that he captures are urgent, alarming, sometimes depressive, or, on the contrary, full of hope.

His genre stems from historical painting, making no secret of his admiration for Francisco Goya, W.M. Turner and C.D. Fridrich. He has many favorites, not only in the Romantic period: in the Renaissance, Baroque and modern painting. In landscape-painting, which is still so popular both among specialists and lay-public, he passes from the lyrical to expressive scenes? From certain period of time a lonely figure in the center of the painting or on the horizon forms part of the landscape. In the series of his recent paintings the individual is replaced by a larger group of people. They all are heading to the light of carousels, the cycles of history. Light and carousels metaphorically create a chain of stories that remain hidden. "The future is milled" in symbols - these are paintings full of hope.

Another line of Jozef Srna´s work is formed of complex figural compositions of monumental proportions focused on current social course of events. Many of these paintings have a feature that cannot be overlooked: a vision of the apocalypse. While in the process of drawings and sketches the story is playful and carefree; the environment radically changes when the story is put into the color atmosphere of the canvas: restlessness, tension, chaos, an apprehended expectation of the end without the possibility of a new beginning. These features, in principle, are dateless, or even timeless.
The third topic consists of people on the periphery of the city, as if alienated from the world. Lonely in social and spiritual sense. This spectrum of paintings is closest to the work of the author´s father Jozef Srna, Sr. (1930-1992), one of the unforgettable figures of the Slovak art scene of the 70´s and 80´s.

An isolated country, multifigural composition or a lonely figure – the background mostly features an atmosphere of separation; aloof glimpses capturing sadness, anonymity, coldness. Here again, the author continues in his father´s painting tradition: without embellishment he captures the world and society that change over the years while the human remains unchanged.

Jozef Srna, Jr. (born 1979, Bratislava)
1998-2004 Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava, SK, Open Studio of Prof. Rudolf Sikora
2000-2001 Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, CZ, School of Painting of doc. Antonín Střížek
1994-1998 School of Applied Arts of Josef Vydra, Bratislava, SK, Department of Restoration and Preservation of Wooden Monuments (Prof. Michal Staudt)
Solo exhibitions
2012 V novom svetle /In the New Light/, Palfy Palace, Bratislava City Gallery, (curator Roman Popelár)
2009 Výber z tvorby /Selected Works/, Gallery M++, Bratislava, (curator Roman Popelár)
2007 Svetlo a dráma /Light and Drama/, art gallery Považská galéria umenia, Žilina (curator Mira Putišová)
2006 Pred obrazom /In Front of the Painting/, Nitra Gallery – Youth Gallery, Nitra (curator Adriana Čeleďová)
Exhibition publications
In the New Light, GMB/Krása, 2012
Der Mensch. Der Fluss. Malerei der Donauländern, 2011, p. 62-65
Spaces of Gravity, Aircraft Gallery, Bratislava, 2010, p. 152-155
Tolerance in Art, Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Čunovo, 2009, p. 204
New Blood. The Young Slovak Painting, GMB, 2007, p. 90-97
2006 Award of the Slovak Union of Visual Arts /SVÚ/, 1st Biennial of Free Visual Art of SVÚ

Roman Popelár


Stála expozícia
sochár Ján Koniarek
je odinštalovaná. Otvorená bude v roku 2021.



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