The exhibition presents the results of five years of iron casting workshops, organized in 2015–2019 by Ivana Sláviková, the head of the Department of Sculpture of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica. The project opens up opportunities for alternative artistic iron casting on an international level under the guidance of sculpture experts, teachers and students from European art schools. In front of us, we can see 22 physically present and 65 visual presentations. These could also be created thanks to the cooperation with an American technician and small blast furnace builder Rick Batten, who, together with teachers and students, put casting equipment into operation each year. Cast iron waste was remelted, and participants from many countries (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Serbia) could benefit from an opportunity to work with liquid metal when making their small sculptures. This dimension is very important with respect to flexibility as well as the possibility of their thematic delimitation. A small sculpture does not force the creator to work too much with the context of its surroundings, the open air; it does not limit in this sense; it is possible to focus on the sculpture in its autonomy. Moreover (and this is not insignificant), it implies meanings of intimacy and homeliness; you can grasp the objects, weigh them in your hands, they can perhaps even be user-friendly.
Some of them use humour, exaggeration, anecdote, which, however, carry meanings that always fall outside the scope of their reference. It is precisely further away from humour where they illuminate reality in a somewhat different way so that more serious, current but, at the same time, timeless themes stand out in that acute aperture cut. Ivana Sláviková puts a metal cast of, surprise, surprise, Hungarian sausages on a silver candlestick pedestal; the profane meets the sacral in one place… Juraj Sapara refers another one of his stelae (his significant themes for various materials in recent years) to sepulchral architecture. Vladimír Kovařík from the Faculty of Multimedia Communications of the university in Zlín further expands his possibilities of working with a circle, this time in a planetary dimension of a combination of a metal hemisphere and a wooden orbit. Malgorzata Wiśniewska, a sculpture graduate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, comes back to being inspired by monumental technical metal collage as shown, for example, by the Ostrava Symposium on Spatial Forms in the late 1960s. From the Czech point of view, it is also possible to see the Preclíkean tradition in Ján Hofstädter’s (AFAD in Bratislava) sculpture which includes a meticulously made playful “merry-go-round”.
We could not mention all the artefacts in detail; we brought attention only to those that evoked immediate suggestion and reminiscence. We omitted, for example, biomorphic (Magdalena Pavlović) or deeply historical inspirations (Helena Lukášová), which are no less inspirational.
The Master5 exhibition shows what is happening in a specific art segment not far from our borders. It is good to see further than just beyond the confines of our awareness.
Curator: doc. M.A. Vladimír Kovařík
Tomasz Bielecki (PL) Jakub Cmarko (SK) Paweł Czekański (PL)
Ranko Dragic (RS) Marek Galbavý (SK) Ján Hoffstädter (SK)
Vladimír Kovařík (CZ) Helena Lukášová (CZ) Krysztof Nitsch (PL)
Magdalena Pavlović (RS) Sabina Psotková (CZ) Ivana Radovanovic (MNE) Géza Sallai (H) Juraj Sapara (SK) Ivana Sláviková (SK)
Igor Smiljanić (RS) Michał Staszczak (PL) Jozef Suchoža (SK)
Jan Szczypka (PL) Rastislav Trizma (SK) Remigija Vaitkute (LT)
Małgorzata Wiśniewska (PL)