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14 Aug 2017

Escape route at Rooster Gallery, Vilnius

SODA gallery / Rooster gallery



Tomas Umrian, Jurgita Juospaityte Bitiniene
+421907853562 and +370 675 30087

Rooster gallery
Gyneju str. 14,

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Exhibition project 'Escape route (Contemporary Slovak Art) ' presents not only contemporary visual art in Slovakia, but also demonstrates the dynamic shift that has taken place on the art scene and in communicating with the international context in two decades. In addition to the network of state museums and galleries, three new Kunsthalle Institutions have also been created to present and promote contemporary art (Košice Hala umenia 2013, Kunsthalle/ Dom umenia Bratislava 2014 and Kunsthalle - New Synagogue Žilina 2014). An important role in this process is played by many private galleries and their effect on the international art market. SODA gallery founded in Bratislava, 2009 has the ambition to present Slovak contemporary art abroad and to create natural communication channels and artistic dialogues in a wider European environment.

The exhibition in Vilnius brings a collection of works from selected 11 authors who, in addition to strong personal programs, have common post-conceptual starting points and critical reflection of the present. They prefer analytical analytical ways of thinking and inverse situations across a wide range of media and approaches. At the same time they also represent dialogue between generations, showing the cross-section and the necessary continuity of artistic thinking in Slovakia over the last four decades.

The exhibition features two founding figures of Slovak conceptual art that have developed this way of thinking since the 1960s - a radical departure from illusive imaging mode to the 'mental' transfer of visual data and ideas. Stano Filko (1939 - 2007) and Julius Koller (1939 - 2007) are pioneers of concept, text-art or anti-art. While Filko favored the cosmic phillosophical background and systemic chakras, spheres and elements, Koller focused more on intimate links and small 'UFO-naut' announcements with a symbolic sign of a question mark at the end.

This necessary dose of contamination and uncertainty, a sharp dose of abuse of stereotypes, are also brought by younger generations and encoded in their own visual reports. This is primarily about a series of spatial works - objects and installations that create a powerful image and link environment. Objects create cultural situations where metaphorically mirrors the 'desacralization' of objects and meanings (Ilona Németh's tinker from the imaginative catalog of a furniture company, searching for Németh's politico-geographic 'center' of Europe, the accumulation of holy books and chairs by Marek Kvetan, gloriola around President Vaclav Havel's head By Viktor Frešo, etc.).

Similarly, reflection of intellectual work, ironic and self-ironic perception of his own artistic practice (Frešo's stick, which exudes from the ground the frame of the painting, or his stretched guitar with wooden prisms, reflection of modernist lessons in the embossed objects of Milan Vagáček or painted architectural designs for nonexistent The Museum of Contemporary Art by Jan Vasilik, etc.).

There are also issues of confrontation of text and image, books, memories, personal archives of data and personal memories (Martin Derner's interventions in books, his author's books, the 'lost' Jaro Varga libraries, or sentimental microscopy of photographs, drawings, Recordings by Lucie Tallová). Conceptual aspects of the work are also found in contemporary painting. Whether it is the distinctive borderline position of minimalism, geometry and postmodern patterns in painting by Jan Vasilko and Milan Vagáček, or in the direction of illusive depiction of common objects and shapes in Adam Šakový's work.

The exhibition 'Emergency Exit' will present a certain line of Slovak contemporary art to the Lithuanian audience and wants to contribute, through the current visual language, to better partnering and communication in the common European cultural space.

Vladimir Beskid
curator of the exhibition