Review: Timeless palatial sculptures

Sculpture and Object V

Where: Bratislava city centre
When: Exhibitions run till September 3
Rating: 8 of 10

Čumil, the statue of a sewer cleaner peeking out of a man-hole on the Bratislava Old Town corner of Panská and Rybárska brána, got his start at the city's Sculpture and Object Exhibition. Now in its fifth year, the international exhibition of sculptures is part of the 25th annual Bratislava Summer of Culture.

Visitors to Bratislava can always find themselves close to one of the exhibition areas as the sculptures are scattered throughout town. However, whether viewing the art in the historical courtyard of Palffy palace, the summer library of Červený Rak Restaurant, or the galleries of Zichy palace, viewers will inevitably be pulled to Grassalkovichova záhrada, or the garden of the Presidential Palace.

Adding to the natural beauty of the garden and its perfectly kept lawns are several engaging sculptures. Made by various international artists, they compliment the natural surroundings to the degree that first time visitors may not even realise the pieces are not constant features of the garden. Particularly fascinating are the sculptures made of wood or metal and resembling natural shapes.

Although appearing normal, not all is as it seems: a huge tree trunk is actually a piece of art, and that round grey rock suddenly assumes the form of a human head with a gaping mouth. On the other hand, a collection of stark, colourful sculptures adds contrast to the exhibition and its surroundings.

But, be aware: it's easy to miss Svätozár Ilavský's high, spaghetti-thin Sport King sculpture, which stands right at the garden entrance. Also, be careful not to trod on a long mosaic snake by Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek, which slithers behind the garden's fountain.

While the garden focuses mostly on Slovak art, other exhibitions throughout town feature sculptures of artists from Great Britain, Poland, Germany, USA, Austria, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

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