Look What Is Back / The Slovak State in Contemporary Art
Kunsthalle Bratislava / BRATISLAVA (Slovakia)
04.11.2016 – 26.02.2017

Kunsthalle Bratislava (KHB) opens an exhibition on the reflection of the topic of the Slovak State in contemporary Slovak visual arts. The first floor of KHB will offer the visitors the works of more than twenty male and female artists, some of whom focus on the topic consistently.
The exhibition under the title Look What Is Back / The Slovak State in Contemporary Art responds to the topical subject matter that is sensitive not only in the field of visual arts – the controversial time in the history of Slovakia.
The curators Katarína Bajcurová, Petra Hanáková, Bohunka Koklesová and Nina Vrbanová have selected authors from the whole spectrum of the current art scene. There are the classics of the Slovak fine arts of the latter half of the 20th century (Juraj Bartusz, Jozef Jankovič, Rudolf Sikora), as well as the established representatives of the middle and younger generations (Ilona Németh, Svätopluk Mikyta, Martin Piaček, Jaroslav Kyša). The exhibition title refers to the famous novel by Timur Vermes who reveals, in a playful form but with a chilling result, the traps and treacherous subliminal mechanisms of fascism.
The exhibition in KHB is clearly defined in terms of the theme, and also has its dramaturgy logic. It reflects the engaged art, which represents one of the important lines of contemporary art in Slovakia. It simultaneously follows up on the past projects whose ambition was to mediate the actually discussed topics (Fear Of The Unknown, 2016; Fem(inist) Fatale, 2015; both exhibitions were prepared for KHB by the curator Lenka Kukurová).
The individual works were not created on a commission (with the exception of one adaptation), they had all been already exhibited or published, and they are a part of the current artistic discourse. They only confirm the fact that contemporary art does not avoid this complex social and political theme; on the contrary, it repeatedly reflects it in the spectrum of several generations of artists.
The exhibition clearly demonstrates that artists, too, ask questions that are similar to those asked by the majority of citizens: what to do with the legacy of the clerical-fascist Slovak State? Should we study it? Ignore or deny it? Try to understand it? Disdain it? Apologise for it? The artists answer many of them through the language of art, and offer the (not only) perceptive viewer an experience as well as food for thought.

Curated by Katarína Bajcurová, Petra Hanáková, Bohunka Koklesová, Nina Vrbanová

Courtesy of the artists and Kunsthalle Bratislava
Photocredit: Martin Piaček and Gabriel Kuchta