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Synagogue – Center of Contemporary Art 1995-2000

Jan Koniarek Gallery in Trnava published in 2018 a publication entitled Memory of Space
Synagogue – Center of Contemporary Art 1995 – 2000

Text © Jana Geržová 2018
Dizajn © dr.bencik (Marcel Benčík) 2018

PhDr. Katarína Rusnáková, PhD.
PhDr. Peter Salner, DrSc.


The book, which maps the exhibition activity at Synagogue – Center of Contemporary Art at the Ján Koniarek Gallery from 1995 to 2000, repeatedly uses “memory” as a key word. Some of the deepest-embedded traces of memory relate to events of the Second World War and the tragedy of the Holocaust, which resulted in this sacral space’s abandonment and halfcentury erasure from Slovakia’s cultural history. After 1994, when after partial reconstruction the building was opened to the wider cultural public, in situ installations initiated a dialogue with the past; and though they were never incorporated into the building’s physical structure they became written into its memory, as symbolic events invested with meaning, through which we have the opportunity ex post to consider again the spectrum of messages to which they guide us.

The interpretive texts on the installations by individual artists were written at the time the artworks originated. They were presented at exhibition openings and published in a booklet put out for each exhibition. They were only slightly modifi ed for the purposes of this publication. The introductory study was written from the perspective of the present, and endeavors to put the artworks – as they entered into Slovakia’s art history, as model works of successful site specifi c installations – into a broader context of analyzing the period, and into the intellectual milieu from which the works and their interpretations grew.


Mgr. Jana Geržová (b. 1951)
historian, critic and curator. She specializes in various aspects of the art of the latter half of the 20th century, including issues of citation, appropriation and post production, conceptual art, feminism, research in contemporary painting in the post-medial condition, and applying oral history methods to 20th-century art research. She was curator of Synagogue – Center of Contemporary Art at the Ján Koniarek Gallery in Trnava from 1994 to 2001. From 2001 to 2009 she headed the Division of Visual and Cultural Studies of the Research Center at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, remaining at the Academy until 2012 as a scholarly researcher. From 2000 to 2008 she was President of the Slovak section of AICA (Association internationale des critiques d'art). She has received the Martin Benka Prize (2000) and the Andrej Kmeť Prize (2017). From 1992 to the present she has been the chief editor of the art journal Profil súčasného výtvarného umenia / Profile of Contemporary Art.


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