photo: Courtesy of GMB
Viktor Oravec created the installation, inspired by the words of Zen master Shunryu Suzuki: "When you do something, burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
The logs symbolise overcoming life's obstacles and the ashes are a metaphor for creative energy that means one should completely "burn out" for their work.
As provocative and unusual as it is, the work echoes themes from the 1980s. At that time, Gorbachev's perestroika was rolling over socialist dogmas, causing artists to begin looking to the West for inspiration on how to incorporate progressive trends.
Oravec and three other artists - Daniel Brunovský, Svetozár Ilavský and Milan Pagáč - were just completing their studies back then. They now share an exhibition entitled The Intermediate Time, which shows them halfway through their creative lives, mature physically and expressively.
"According to a recent survey conducted by Five TV, the British see the 1980s as an aesthetic disaster filled with a staggering amount of awkwardnesses that now, when seen from a distance, evokes both gales of laugher and consternation," says the gallery's director Ivan Jančár.
In the process of looking for one's own identity, the four artists evidently succeeded. They are now hard to miss on the art scene at home as well as abroad. "They brought excitement, polemics, tension and mainly the conviction of the need to pursue one's artistic path without compromise," Jančár said.
"They brought what many other true artists tried but weren't allowed to do."
Brunovský exhibits his mythical paintings, Ilavský shows expressive objects that oscillate between the edge of existence and extinction and Pagáč experiments with light.
The Intermediate Time summarizes the past and shows the present. "I am curious about how the first years of the 21st century will be seen two decades from now," Jančár said.
| What:The Intermediate Time.
Where:Bratislava City Gallery, Panská 19, Bratislava.
When:open Tue-Sun 11:00-18:00 until June 18.