Concerto Grosso. From Contemporary Slovak Art

from 2. 3. 2018 to 1. 7. 2018


Concerto Grosso (Zo súčasného slovenského výtvarného umenia / From Contemporary Slovak Art) features a view of the present and recent past of fine art, which 1) directly and 2) "behind the scenes" tells the stories dedicated to music – the phenomenon of music. It does not intend to show everything that was created in this field, but to evaluate the results of presentation work in art history, aimed at interpretational probes into the history of Slovak painting, sculpture and graphic art. This concerns the artists who co-created them. It includes artists who are no longer with us, such as Ján Mudroch, Ladislav Čemický, Ján Ilavský, Viera Žilinčanová, Štefan Bubán, Květoslava Fulierová, Slavomír Brezina, Milan Adamčiak, and artists who are still alive and well, including Stanislav Bubán, Vít Bojňanský, Svetozár Ilavský, Marián Komáček, Milan Lukáč, Katarína Fígerová-Alexyová, Vladimír Petrík, Peter Pollág, Štefan Polák, Dušan Sekela, Jarmila Veľká, Alexej Vojtášk, Ingrid Zámečníková, Achilleas Sdoukos and others. In the majority of cases they are representatives of the older and younger layers of the middle generation of contemporary Slovak fine art. Several have had solo exhibitions at home and abroad. 

Concerto grosso (Italian for big concert), i.e., the cyclical musical form based on concerto style, became the motif of this exhibition. To be more precise: the form developed in the 17th century Baroque era and is characterized by a division into a small group of soloists - concertino and a full orchestra – ripieno; in the late 17th century two markedly distinguished forms: concerto da chiesa (church concert) and concerto da camera (chamber concert). The aforementioned cyclical musical form is based on sound, dynamic and color contrasts between a small group of soloists (concertino) and a full orchestra (concerto grosso). The exhibition strives to point out the resemblance – i.e., the similar dynamic, color and form ontrasts between a smaller group of artists, eventually forming a cyclical form – a concert of contemporary Slovak art, referring to the legacy of recent classics and exploring the efforts of the "middle-aged artists" who have taken over the reins in the development of the Slovak art scene. Artwork as a vehicle of ideological, emotional content, the indicator of relationships, the result of the tension between the cumulation of energy and rhythms, the object of ostentatious communication with its own language created in the background of music, and its absorption and entry into our consciousness, is at the center of interest. 

This exhibition inspired by music is the first of its kind at the Slovak National Museum. Several exhibitions dedicated to music and musical motifs in Slovak fine art have been organized other institutions (Hudba a slovenské výtvarné umenie 20. storočia (Music and Slovak Art of the 20th Century), Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava 1990; Obraz a hudba v tvorbe mladých výtvarníkov a hudobníkov (Image and Music in the Work of Young Artists and Musicians), Bratislava City Gallery, 1990; several years of group exhibitions were also inspired by the Bratislava Music Festival – Hudba v obraze: Music in Image, Pavilion of the Umelecká beseda slovenská in Bratislava – Spoločnosť voľných výtvarných umelcov (Association of Slovak Free Artists) 2002 – 2007; Barok a hudba (Baroque and Music), Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava, 1992) along with attempts to process this agenda on the basis of specialized research (music and musical motifs of the Slovak art). This exhibition penetrates into the framework of creative inspiration by music while highlighting the fantasy and imagination of artists inspired by music as a phenomenon whose results are presented along with the collection items at the exhibition entitled Klenoty z múzea (Jewels from Museum). How music is collected. 

Concerto Grosso does not provide a comprehensive summary or recapitulation of the entire development in the depiction of music – the musical motif – in Slovak art, but it strives to indicate, to form, to compose the musical chord of the present in painting, sculpture and graphic art in Slovakia. This exhibition is a selection (as far as the representation of artists is concerned) oriented on the presentation of specific forms of artistic expression. Thanks to this, we have an opportunity to receive messages left by their creators. It may seem to some of you that nowadays, in the times of CDs and Internet it is not necessary. But a computer can neither smile with curiosity nor explain art – its speech in the language of humans. Therefore, the importance of searching for and developing such communication at an institution like the Slovak National Museum is growing. Its ambition is to offer a new view of the interpretation of Slovak art history from the perceptive position of the individual of today. This exhibition also attempts to unveil "secret" matters, to distinguish between the important and the irrelevant, to search for and find context through the exhibited artwork in the creative contribution of individual artists from their life-long work.