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Enigmatic landscape


Exhibition title: Enigmatic landscape
Authors: Katarína Bajkayová, Peter Decheť, Martin Kochan, Leonard Lelák, Natália Šimonová, Tomáš Žemla
Venue: New wing of Koppel Villa, Zelený kríček 3, Trnava
Curator: Filip Krutek
Opening: 18 June 2020 (Thurs.) at 18:00
Duration: 19 June – 23 August 2020


The exhibition project of Enigmatic Landscape presents reinterpretations and the idea and form modernizing of the traditional genre of landscape-painting through the optic of the youngest generation of artists within the sculpture media (K. Bajkayová, L. Lelák) and painting (P. Decheť, N. Šimonová). The incoming generation of artists is completed with a conceptual videointervention by Martin Kochan and specific canvases by Tomáš Žemla based on the technically accurate building up of an image structure. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the originally Greek term of ainigma referring to the meanings such as a riddle, dark speech or speaking dropping hints. He sees a landscape as a clearly restricted area defined by the nature components and fragments. The selection of works for this exhibition does not have an ambition to idealize a nature scenery or raise solutions to the environmental crisis. It rather applies a variety and ambiguity of seizing the landscape as a genre and a strict defining of its form and content aspects.

The exhibition idea and the selection of authors have resulted from a shift in understanding landscape-painting (landscape) from the genre to the platform opening new levels of the meaning. Thus, the central question is not whether articulating problems of the present world can be adequately seized by means of presenting nature or landscape. On the contrary, it accepts this as a certain whole with its original logic and a unique materiality simultaneously existing together with our technocivilization and cultural memory as one complex ecosystem whose individual parts complement each other. In this context thus the definition of nature and its fragment in a form of landscape exceeds a lot the mechanics of artistic representation based on making its mimetic copy. That means it is closer to structural landscape composition from which results also a conception of the exhibition deriving in the two levels:

The first position is presented by the transformation of landscape in a painting position or direct references to the natural area. It reacts to the current problems of visuality and perception of landscape-painting, however, at the same time also to a physical change of the surrounding (civilian) landscape marked by human intervention using the classic means of painting. In her monumental collage Multiplication, Natália Šimonová (*1995) works with rust and terry. Her primary interest is the aesthetics and material instability of shabby socialistic playgrounds for children and with their deconstruction in a linear area she creates an actual microcosmos – landscape. In his paintings, Peter Decheť (*1979) works primarily with space and its emptiness. Behind man there is left only a sediment in a form of left work. His large format scenes of an attic sacralise the roof construction as a work of art by a (missing) man with his own space relationships, similarly as in smaller paintings with a leitmotif of a car wreck parasitizing in the countryside. The interest of Tomáš Žemla (*1984) is concentrated on a structure and dynamics of a lowland countryside in the surroundings of Trnava. With reinterpretation of the pointillistic technique he creates unique compositions, which many times with rich layering various shades of a colour, offer vibrating scenes referring to the material original nature of landscape.

The other part of the exhibition presents space analyses of fragments and exact forms of landscape or nature (caves, trees, authentic materials, organic shapes...) in a sculpture form in a dialogue with video. In mutual communication, the works of art make their own speculative natural space. Thus, their anchoring within the exhibition conception moves in the field of the stylized environment understanding particular works of art as landscape/nature components. In her installation of the Dialectics of the underground, Katarína Bajkayová (*1994) starts from redefining the relationship of empty/filled in, interior/exterior using the motive of a cave. The installation evoking an interior scene was nourished by the primary using of a cave as a dwelling. In his objects, Leonard Lelák (*1995) destroys and damages the natural material (tree trunks) which he then treats by means of some artificial implants with the aim to transform their original meaning. It symbolizes a replacing of fragile natural materials by more stable ones and their symbiosis creating the unique hybrid landscapes. In his video Landscape-painting II (with the first version Landscape-painting he was nominated for Oskar Čepan Prize 2014), Martin Kochan (*1981) appears in the position of the author by appropriating an existing birch forest which he finishes painting with the lime white finish while it is not clear whether the painting adapts to the landscape or vice versa. Thus, he creates a dialogue with a historical genre of landscape-painting which he reduces to the position of gesture or action.

Filip Krutek



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