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Ivan Csudai: In the Mirror of Painting

The exhibition is mapping the recent creative period of the prominent representative of the Slovak painting and the head of the Atelier of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (VŠVU) in Bratislava. The collection of works reflects the development of his art language from 2017 up to the present.

Author, name of the exhibition: Ivan Csudai, In the Mirror of Painting
Location: Jan Koniarek Gallery in Trnava, Koppel Villa,
Zelený kríček 3, Trnava
Curated by: Vladimír Beskid
Opening: November 7, 2019 (Thursday) at 6.00 pm
Duration: November 7, 2019 – January 19, 2020

The Jan Koniarek Gallery in Trnava presents the first solo exhibition of the significant Slovak painter, graphic artist, musician, and pedagogue Ivan Csudai (1959). However, the jubilee exhibition of the author in the Trnava gallery does not bring a retrospective cut of his over thirty-year creative activity, on the contrary, it concentrates on the present new series of the painter´s works from the last years 2018 – 2019. Also here we find his characteristic retro feeling, conventional theme, and remix of chosen iconographic elements and at the same time, we perceive his innovative image thinking and peculiarity of each painter´s canvas. Thus, the author finds himself in the metaphoric mirror of painting – that means his autonomous reflecting the world in image field and also a rear-view mirror reflecting his previous works.

In the present cycle of paintings, it is about the mutual and intensive talk of the strong contour and multicoloured fields which do not meet in a form, or volume, but they create a two-sided image discourse. On this occasion, the Slovak couple of modernists Fulla – Galanda´s concepts of “line drawings” and “colourfields“ seem to be suitably arranged. Within the presented line drawing and connecting leitmotifs, also his cult teddy bear, “mute witness“ of events, helpless plushy hero – Csudai´s melancholic alter ego, is presented here also along with distinctive attributes, which have outlived many generations: skull, torch, flag, antlers, healing the teddy bear etc. (Flagted, Ted, both 2018; Healing Voice, 2019). However, the Teddy bear´s task is soon taken over by a new creature/form. It appears in the graphic contour as a psee cat (psee is a letter of the Greek alphabet, “psí” in Slovak means dog), or a catdog, or better a teddy bear-dog (Psee the Cat, Cat Hat, both 2018; In the room II, Jeep, both of them 2019). These are followed by simplified computer icons of a table lamp, Pinocchio head with a hat, Christmas tree, monitor etc. (Blue lamp, Christmas, At the TV, Hat; all of them 2019). A certain connection with room pictures of the end of the 1990s is presented by “living-room” paintings. It concerns a “settling in“ in the picture of furnished interiors, where settees, armchairs, chests of drawers, mirrors, lamps and the ubiquitous teddy bear-dog are crammed next to each other (In the room I – IV, Ease; all of them 2019). This settling in or “infecting“of the image field by line drawing of the main emblems is accompanied by fully-coloured generalized background. At the same time, powerful colour-areas make an autonomous world which does not coincide with image figures. Here, generous colour circles (Ted, Cat Hat, Couple, In the window; all of them 2019), cut off semicircles and forms (At the TV, At pyramids, In the room IV; 2019), or a combination of multi-coloured circles with the fair of floating small circles-bubbles which easily and lightly fly about over the whole scene (Ease I – II, 2019) begin. This unlimited dialogue of colour-circles is sometimes changed by other background fraction and diction – arranged rectangular structure, explicit geometric order (In the room II, Lamp, Sofa, Mondrie; all of them 2019). These image scenes are pop, jolly, and easily readable and liberating…

P.S. A full-stop and at the same time a continuation of the painter´s story are brought in to the exhibition by the graduates of the 4th Csudai´s atelier in a form of tribute paid to the pedagogue and their own interpretation of his image language and the vocabuary of elements (Andrea Bartošová, David Baffi, Michal Czinege, Michal Černušák, Eva Činčálová, Lucia Horvátová, Jakub Reken, Erik Šille etc.).

Ivan Csudai (born in 1959) – a significant Slovak painter, graphic designer, artrocker, and pedagogue. He lives and works in Bratislava. In 1981 – 1987, he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (the VŠVU) in Bratislava, since 2001 – the founder and head of the 4th atelier at the Department of Painting, the VŠVU, in 2005 appointed as a professor. His discography from the years 1992 – 2011 includes 7 solo albums and 2 albums with Sleepy Motion. Solo exhibitions (selection): 2019 – In the mirror of painting, GJK Trnava; 2017 – Untitled, White & Weiss Gallery Bratislava; 2017 – The second retrospective 2010 – 2017, SSG Banská Bystrica; 2016 – Ars interpretandi, PGU Žilina; 2015 – Positives, SOGA Bratislava; 2014 – Autobiograph, Alfa Gallery, Kulturpark Košice; Collaborative exhibitions: 2018 – Criticon (critical painting today), MVL Košice; 2018 – Bakelite /contemporary Slovak painting, Miskolci Gallery Miskolc; 2018 – Searching for painting boundaries, GVUO Ostrava; 2016 – Kugel.RUND, Tabakfabrik Hainburg, Schüttkasten Allentsteig; more information at: www.ivancsudai.sk; https://sk.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Csudai

Vladimír Beskid


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