Dark Side of Slovakia

from 17. 12. 2020 to 23. 5. 2021

The Gothic structures of the medieval square sink into darkness. Spotlights come on. First yellow, then green, violet and finally red. Music can be heard from the singing fountain behind the city's walls: Vangelis from the soundtrack of the film 1492 - Conquest of Paradise.

Welcome to Bardejov. 
Welcome to Slovakia. 
Welcome to the dark Side of Slovakia.

Why was this unique historical square with beautifully restored Gothic buildings given the honor of opening this exhibition? Shouldn't that go to the ruins of a Renaissance chateau, a demolished spa, ponds choked by poisonous chemicals, landfills or cleared forests?

In Bardejov, you have the unique opportunity to see what we have lost.

Land and estates were nationalized in our country after the communists took over. The relations to one's heritage, one's own piece of land, house, hillsides, hamlets and towns, passed down from generation to generation, were severed for forty long years. Our grandparents and great grandparents gradually lost a kind of sixth sense which helped them to assess what belonged to their town or village and what didn't. And since it was not their fault that they lost it, they could not pass it down to us.

Communism killed the genius loci in each of us.

That is why we do not even object to the fact that perhaps our best-preserved historical square is bathed in colorful lights like a Las Vegas casino and the medieval atmosphere is complemented by the film music of a Greek composer.

The dark side of Slovakia is the story of what we inherited, what we lost and what in fact we do in our native Slovakia. We would like to invite you on a tour of a country marked by many scars.
You probably won't find this trip in travel agency brochures...

From above we will be able to see the true image of our country. Forest, meadow, field, city and village. Sharp boundaries among them. Those fine shades of the country are being dredged, ploughed, cut down and will disappear forever. Words like windbreak, limit, grove, moor, riverside and swamp will disappear from our language.

The number of trees in Slovakia grows every year, but yet forests are vanishing before our very eyes.

The area of the uncultivated and overgrown pastures is larger than the territory of the Bratislava self-governing region.

This is also a story about us. We are living as if our comfort will last forever. We are ignoring the land's warning signals. Perhaps the current test, which this malicious virus prepared for us will force us to reevaluate our way of life based on consumption, overproduction, effectivity and profit. The deep-rooted conviction that our natural resources are like a bottomless pantry may turn out to be a fatal mistake. From the perspective of the preservation of life, the ability to ameliorate climatic extremes is as valuable as the ability to produce cereals, meat, wood and energy.

Slovakia is in our hands. Only we can decide on the legacy that we will pass down to our children.