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Art in the Streets

Ironmen at the castle


The Ironmen statues at Bratislava Castle demand your attention.
photo: Jana Liptáková

Ironmen overlooking Bratislava, a hanging tank, a triangle made from old car bodies, and metal kissing heads. All these gigantic metal sculptures are catching the attention of Bratislavans and visitors alike, as the streets and squares of the Slovak capital have become open-air venues of the annual Sculpture and Object exhibition. The 12th edition of the event, held both indoors and out, offers more than 200 artworks by 59 artists from 13 European countries.

"Certainly Ironmen by Polish artist Zbigniew Fraczkiewicz and works by Spanish artists inspired by Don Quixote, the hero from the novel by Miguel de Cervantes, are the peak of this year's Sculpture and Object," the main organiser of the event, Slovak sculptor Viktor Hulík, told the Sme daily. "Mr. Fraczkiewicz's works are known across Europe. We are very glad that we managed to get them here. Placing them at the castle is ideal.

Open-air art in the city centre.
photo: Jana Liptáková

And, at the same time, the exhibition of contemporary Spanish art in the House of Arts is very representative."

Ten crude sculptures of men in strongman positions peering over the city at the Eastern Terrace of Bratislava Castle are impossible to ignore. Comments of visitors vary from negative to appreciative, but the sculptures assembled from casts with huge screws impress everybody.

The Pálffy Palace of the Bratislava City Gallery holds a display by young artists from the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia and the Z Gallery offers works created under the influence of geometry and constructivism by János Fajó, Eduard Staudt, Manfredo Massironi, and Rudolf Sikora.

The Don Quixote exhibition, subtitled Spanish Contemporary Art, features 20 of the most prominent Spanish artists and is open only until August 12, while the other artworks will remain on display until September 2.

For a detailed list of galleries and artists, go to www.sao.galeria-z.sk.


Photos overhead


Human Family by photographer Martin Črep shows Afghans in their everyday lives.
photo: Jana Liptáková

Apart from sculptures, Hviezdoslavovo Square has become an open-air venue for a photo exhibition by Martin Črep called Human Family. Through the large, colourful photos, the photographer wants to point out the calm and peaceful side of war-torn Afghanistan.

Photos by this primarily commercial photographer shows Afghanistan, which people mostly associate with war, as a completely different country. Črep toured Afghanistan for one month last year.

Črep picked Afghanistan because he had heard and read a lot about the country that was in total opposition to what he had heard from a friend who lived there, he told an interviewer with the Hospodárske Noviny daily. This was what compelled him to visit Afghanistan. The photos on Hviezdoslavovo Square are proof that his friend was right.

"Afghanistan is an unbelievably beautiful and pure country," Črep told the daily.

His photos show children, people living their everyday lives, and the beauty of the poppy fields. Growing poppies, from which opium is produced, is one of the few ways to make a living in this country.

The display has already earned Črep an official invitation to Afghanistan, the TASR newswire wrote. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who appreciated the photos for showing the peaceful face of the country, so different from the usual picture painted by the media, sent the invitation after Afghan Ambassador to Slovakia Mohammad Kacem Fazelly attended the ceremonial opening of the exhibition.

The photos will be on display in the square in Bratislava until August 28, when they will move to other Slovak cities. An exhibition in Prague is under consideration, too.

For more information, go to www.ludskarodina.sk.


By Jana Liptáková

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