The year 2017 will be crowned in Kunsthalle Bratislava by two new exhibitions solemnly opened in one day. The first floor will be dedicated to an extensive project by Štefan Papčo, distinctive representative of modern sculpture in Slovakia. For the space Kunsthalle LAB, an interactive installation made-to-measure by Hungarian artist Szilárd Cseke is prepared. To his sympathisers, Cseke´s art is well known from the Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia). The opening of both expeditions is held on Thursday, December 7th at 5 p.m. (Szilárd Cseke) and 6 p.m. (Štefan Papčo).
Štefan Papčo (*1983) is one of the distinctive representatives of modern sculpture and its overlap in Slovakia. He graduated brilliantly in the Sculpture and Space Studio led by Prof. Jozef Jankovič at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. He was also awarded by several awards and scholarships, such as Tatra Bank Foundation Art Award for Young Artist; Novum Foundation Award; DAF Grand Prize of Dumbo Arts Festival, New York. The artist vacillates between traditional materail-based sculpture and its conceptual variation rid of the substance, while gaining from his own experience as a mountain climber.
The alpine space, landscape and mountaineering community constitute the central axis of Papčo´s creative program. The outdoors space mingles with the space of his art. Their mutual relationship as well as his sensitive transformation of existential experience of mountaineering into special artwork explains the exhibition curator Elena Sorokina: “Papčo engages in an (impossible) translation of his climbing experience, introducing the vocabulary of mountaineering – such as corners, interstices, or chimneys – into sculpture. The geological formations and the environment of these mountains constitute his workspace, while gravity, mass, or dew point can be considered his material. The Tatra mountains also function as Papčo's exhibition space. Indeed, he climbs and places sculptures on the mountains platforms, exposing them to today’s ever-changing climate. The carved wooden figures live through and record the extreme weather conditions.”
Štefan Papčo’s sculptural work is intimately connected to mountaineering. As a part of the exhibition a visitor can discover his well-known piece of work called Bivouak (2008 – 2011), a life-size figural object representing a mountain climber. The artist decided to place his work at an unconventional location: directly to the Lomnica Peak (Lomnický štít) massif, later to Jossingfjord in Norway. This sculptural performance has been recorded on IP camera. Bivouacking of wooden sculpture directly in the mountains could be watched be spectators on-line. The alpine landscape has become a radical, unexpected exhibition area for an artwork. Curator Sorokina says: “Between an extreme physical performance and extreme mental discipline, the plural status of climbing is often based on a pre-written, choreographed movement. Written directly onto the rock’s surface, the climbing scores created by the climbers themselves are a key source of inspiration for the artist.”
Psycho-vertical has been the most extensive Papčo´s exhibition. The title Psycho-Vertical is of the same name as a climbing route in the High Tatra Mountains. With a topography of large free vertical boulders, it is one of the hardest routes to ascend. Curator´s selection of is supplemented by the newest artworks. This exhibition pays tribute to the legendary Ganek Gallery – a fictional institution created by Július Koller in 1982 on an inaccessible plateau in the Tatras. “The sculpture work is complemented with video-installations and some artworks by other artists, such as Zbyněk Baladrán, Juraj Bartusz, Roman Ondák, Lucia Papčová, Július Koller, Lucia Sceranková, Annie Vigier and Franck Apertet (les gens d'Uterpan), who generously agreed to engage with the question of “verticality” raised in the exhibition, and with its manifestations in politics, gravity, mass, choreographed movement of climbing and other related topics, fictitious institution of Július Koller located somewhere in the Earth – Space borderland.”
The Psycho-vertical exhibition complemented by enriching artworks by his colleagues will officially be concluded in February 2018. In a gesture of homage, the artist, curator and several invited guests will perform a modest ascent in the Whitewater Valley leading to Ganek.
Elena Sorokina is a Russian-born, Paris based curator and art historian, alumna of the Whitney Museum of American Art ISP in New York. She has curated various exhibitions in institutions and events all around the world such as Moscow Biennal, Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, LVMH Brussels, and in many others. Moreover, this year she was a curatorial advisor for documenta 14 in Athens/Kassel.
ŠTEFAN PAPČO: Psycho-vertical
Guests of the exhibiton:
Zbyněk Baladrán, Juraj Bartusz, Július Koller, Roman Ondák, Lucia Papčová, Lucia Sceranková, Annie Vigier a Franck Apertet (les gens d´Uterpan)
Curator: Elena Sorokina
Opening: Thursday, December 7th 2017 from 6. p.m. until 8.p.m.
Duration: December 8th 2017 – February 25th 2018
Venue: 1st floor KHB
Szilárd Cseke (*1967) is an acknowledged representative of the Hungarian visual art scene. In 2015 he represented his country at the 56th Biennale of Art in Venice. A holder of the Munkács Prize, Hungary’s most prestigious award for visual artists, works of his may also be seen at many of the other addresses for international art (including Berlin, Florida and Vienna). Cseke connects with a specific tradition in kinetic art, which uses the poetics and dynamism of moving components in mobile environments, provoking thoughts about social, economic and ecological processes. His exhibition project for Kunsthalle Bratislava is conceived in a similar mode.
For the Kunsthalle LAB space the artist has prepared a made-to-measure interactive installation with the poetic name Fall from the Roadside. Expansive in content and spatial character, this site-specific work presents a large kinetic model where something is continuously going on. The space of the gallery is transformed into a setting full of movement: little ping-pong balls driven by turbines cyclically tear along a model track, an illuminated course lined with mirror foil.
On a route full of snares, the balls are constantly threatened with being pushed out of the trajectory. Viewers then become an important part of the total installation: they may raise fallen balls and return them to the track – to the highways of our lives?
“Amid the rumbling and purring ventilators, visitors as observers realise that they are becoming the centre of the action as people: they are actors almost at the level of gods or at the very least co-participants, helping in the event. When they decide to intervene in the installation and return a ball to the track so that it can continue on its endless journey, related experiences or moments in their own lives are called to mind – in the past, with a gesture or a decision, they may have helped someone to get back on the right road, by interacting with that person,” says the curator Kinga German.
Cseke’s exhibition symbolises the human fates of people (refugees, migrants etc.) who have faced great upheavals in their lives. It poses many currently resonating questions, opening up discussion while simultaneously functioning as a critical platform. The model track in itself carries a social and personal dimension, which was also to be found in the Sustainable Identities installation at the Biennale in Venice in 2015.
Kinga German is an art historian from Hungary. From 2008 she works at MOME – Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. Moreover, she curated several exhibitions, such as “Sustainable Identities” at the Hungarian Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale, as well as published several books and catalogues about medieval or contemporary art.
SZILÁRD CSEKE: Fall by the Roadside
Curator: Kinga German
Opening: Thursday, December 7th 2017 from 5 p.m. until 8.p.m.
Duration: December 8th 2017 – February 4th 2018
Venue: Kunsthalle LAB