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Jozef Pilát: ŠuňaWood

Artist, exhibition title: Jozef Pilát: ŠuňaWood
Venue: Ján Koniarek Gallery, Synagogue – Centre of Contemporary Art, Halenárska 2, Trnava
Curator: Dominika Chrzanová
Opening: 11 April 2019 (Thu) at 18:00
Duration: 11 April (Thu) – 26 May (Sun) 2019 

Curator's guided tour - April 30, 2019 6.00 pm



This exhibition of the young artist Jozef Pilát is a representative sample of his artwork, incorporating paintings, drawings, spatial objects, installations, and video installations he created during his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Wood, forest, nature, and countryside—Pilát’s most frequent subjects—are the themes and elements that connect the exhibition.

The wood and forest themes are apparent in the title of the exhibition, a portmanteau word made by combining the name of the artist’s birthplace of Šuňava, in the Poprad district, where he created these works, and the English word wood, which can also be translated into Slovak as forest, woodland or grove.

The central works in the ŠuňaWood exhibition are two spatial objects entitled Mimesis, displayed in the main aisle of the synagogue. These works are a direct response to how the grove of spruce trees planted years ago by the artist’s great-grandfather on his property was chopped down illegally. The family litigated and were able to ultimately regain possession of the wood—as cut-up boards—and this wood became the source of the artist’s inspiration as well as the material with which he decided to work. He used a wood engraving technique to gradually imprint the structure of the wood fibres onto nonwoven fabric. Fifty-four 10-metre strips of imprints were placed in a radial shape to create a cylindrical object that hangs just beneath the ceiling of the synagogue, imitating one of the felled trees. The other object, half the size of the first, was created in the same fashion but the concept of the installation is a direct commentary on the cold, mechanical way in which the grove was chopped down. Mimesis is powered by an electric motor and, positioned on the diagonal, it makes the rotating movement of a chainsaw.

Apart from the principal objects, the exhibition also includes paintings and drawings the artist created whilst in the process of producing Mimesis. The exhibition also presents other paintings, along with a video of the land art piece entitled Domino that likewise was created in the municipality of Šuňava.
These works can be taken as a direct condemnation of the illegal tree-felling and deforestation taking place in Slovakia today. The exhibition is a reminder of the inevitable cycle of nature and the impact of humans on nature.

Jozef Pilát (*1992, Poprad)
From 2013 to 2018, he studied at the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, in the studio headed by Professor Wojciech Zubala. In his final year, he decided to switch his specialisation to Art in Public Spaces, studying under the guidance of Professor Mirosław Duchowski. He was awarded a Master of Arts degree in 2018. Whilst attending the academy, he participated in a student exchange programme, studying painting in the studio of Professor Valeria Favré at the Universität der Künste Berlin. He received a Talents of New Europe grant for 2015-16, and in 2016 he received honourable mention at the National Student Competition, Ulica Themersonów, in Poland. One year later in 2017, he received a scholarship from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in Poland.


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