Silvia Van Espen:
. Your relationship with Slovakia is close: you are a Professor at the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica, gallery which represents you is in Bratislava and currently your second solo show is also brought by the gallery,… are you aware of what is going on at Slovak local art scene?
Yes, it is true that since the mid 1980s I have been continuously following and respecting the Slovak visual scene. This is the reason why I personally know many progressive artists, theorists and gallerists through different generations. Unfortunately, some of them are not alive anymore, J. Koller for example, with whom and also with his friend – artist P. Ronai, we have exchanged written disputation (email did not exist at that time). I have been participating in various group shows of my generation and now I follow everything from the Professor´s position.
. You are an intermedia artist, working with painting, photography, video and also your installations in public spaces are well known. The “Redundant Earth from the Grave” exhibition presents examples of several recent series of paintings, which are very eclectic and cannot be assigned to a specific media. Could you be more specific about it, please? How do you perceive the diversity of your work?
Hmm, the very concept of an eclectism is understood quite pejoratively and negatively in our scene,…(smile), but if I stick with the original meaning of this term, then yes, I am trying to not formally stagnate. I am always looking for or rather waiting for the formal language that would be the most characteristic for the content I share. The content represents something like a dip river for me (perhaps a kind of body fluid) and the form sometimes brings it out to the daylight and then disappears again for some time, but it is still there, it´s present and flowing somewhere deep (inside). There are just such glimpses of it in the current exhibition at ZAHORIAN&co GALLERY. If I try to describe the artworks it would cause their visual loss. You must physically experience them and perceive their presence. Personally, I am always trying to look for a meaning that is latently present around me and so we are present for a meaning, never the other way round...So the meaning is fully present here but just and only if it is present as a whole in its fullness and it´s escaping at the same time.
. You decided to title the exhibition at ZAHORIAN&co GALLERY “Redundant Earth from the Grave”. Redundant earth – it is a phrase which somehow asks the question of ambiance – not just something unnecessary useless, but even something that causes difficulty and no one knows what to do with that. Word “grave” takes us to the territory of death that we are afraid of and according to Sigmund Freud underlies most of our actions /more or less unconscious/. The combination evokes in me a kind of indescribable fear of uselessness in which art may seem to someone in today´s political situation. I know that this question of artistic responsibility is something you have been interested in.
Yes, it is true, but of course, this name of the exhibition emphasizes the metaphor for the existential feeling of today´s moments, vanity but also the contemplation. In addition, I do not see the vanity only as emptiness, but more like a motivation. I call it the permanent audition for a vanity. Personally, I am interested in something without solution, thus it is inducing a conscious and quandary senses, which can lead to the conflict between the viewer´s experience with his sedimented memory. That is the reason I am interested in uncertainty, folded from the wreckage of images, which can just evoke only sphere of differences. Thus, it is a chance for common and shared wandering empathy. The great truth is often just pornography of authenticity. So, I am interested in what it is and what it could mean, but not just in my artworks.
Everybody is keeping an eye on the Art Biennale in Venezia and your project is going to be in a joint Czech and Slovak pavilion this year. What exactly are you working on?
I do not like talking about what I am preparing. Unfortunately, professional public already got a lot of information. So maybe I can just give another small hint. During the installation of the exhibition, it will be a difficult physical performance for me which is probably normal but what I am talking about is that there won´t be uber-sophisticated post-conceptual overlaps through the simplicity of the form. Though, I consider myself as someone who has been consciously working with these concepts for quite a long time. Visitors will see painting sized 5 x 4 m, which will be important part of the whole installation concept. I am pleased that Slovakia is involved in my project again and this is not a cheap trick for Slovak readers, but the curator of this project is Katarína Rusnáková. Her cooperation is at a high professional level with her own personal responsibility and unprecedented personal commitment. It is something you do not see that much nowadays! I believe that we can positively surprise the experts and also the public from all around the world. Duration of Biennale itself is one month longer than usual. Vernissage will be on 7 May 2015, and then we would like to organize some kind of huge Slavic after party in a beautiful Venetian palace for other artists and critics from these territories. You are all welcome.