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On The Culture Beat

Viewers become the art at Bratislava gallery
American modern dance group hits the Bratislava stage
1998 Architectural guide completed
Not serious art, but art
Concert for Kosovo
Pain of war explored in photographs
New Museum of Modern Art founded
Modern celebration refutes Soviet invasion


"Exhibition Room," Ilona Némethyová's interactive installation.
photo:Courtesy of Médium Gallery

Viewers become the art at Bratislava gallery

Art lovers can find something a little bit different at the Medium Gallery through September 4 as Slovak artist Ilona Némethyová presents a series of interactive works in which viewers are asked to react, walk, touch, and look at a variety of artistic forms.
The installation "Vista Point", for example, explores the thrill of voyeurism as visitors are asked to look through binoculars and watch an imaginary window opposite. Through the blinds peeks the shape of a woman. In another installation, "Exhibition Room," the visitor himself becomes the star celebrity on an imaginary stage as he faces a mirror, hears an audience applaud, and is bathed in the light of popping flash bulbs. Through her work, Némethyová explores parody, narcissism and irony.
Born in 1963, Némethyová has received a stipendeum from the American Headlands Center for the Arts and was named the " Best Fine Artist 1998" by a Slovak fine art association. Her exhibition, which shows only a small segment of her work, also includes a series of sketches.. Medium Gallery, Hviezdoslavovo námestie 18. Open Mon.- Fri., 10:00- 17:00, Sat.10:00 - 16:00.


"Intimation room" by Némethyová.
photo: Ján Svrček


American modern dance group hits the Bratislava stage

A contemporary dance group from New York made Bratislava the last stop on their European tour August 13, giving a two-part performance which attracted a sizeable crowd and won kudos for its energy and creativity.
The American group, Bill Young & Dancers, was hosted by the Bratislava Dance Theatre, Slovakia's first professional dance company. On the Petržalka House of Culture stage, the seven dancers presented two dance meditations. The first, called "The Fault", presented a confusing dream world. "Again, the soar...." added an additional dancer and staged a journey through fantasy beginning with a depiction of childhood games. Large screen video projection by Olivier Marceny and original music by Mio Morales made the performance into a full sensory experience. The dancer's colourful acrobat-style costumes were offset by a stage set consisting almost entirely of white curtains.
Since being founded in New York in the 1980's, the company has existed without a permanent stage. Founder Bill Young has choreographed for dance companies in many parts of the world, including Estonian National Opera Ballet and Dance Company L' Astragale in Montreal, and has also received a Guggenheim stipend. He and his assistant Colleen Thomas will stay in Slovakia until the end of August to create a new performance with the BDT which will be premiered by November of this year.



Bill Young and Dancers perform in a piece entitled "Fault".
photo: Courtesy of BDT

1998 Architectural guide completed

The Bratislava publishing house Meritum has decided to offer to readers a complete guide of architecture projects completed in Slovakia in 1998. The work, called in Slovak "Ročenka architektúry 1998," offers 120 pages of full-colour photographs and articles in both English and Slovak.
The book project is an extension of a specialised monthly magazine about architecture called ARCH, published also by Meritum. The magazine describes the work and projects of Slovak architects and also touches on architecture from a more international perspective. Every article in the magazine is also in English, and the magazine is a quite well-produced product, which includes interviews with some of the top Slovaks in the field.
Apart from this magazine, there is no other publication in Slovakia which focuses monthly on presenting fine art. The Architecture Year Guide '98 is available at selected book shops including Reduta, Art Forum, or Exlibris for 350 crowns. The monthly magazine goes for 40 crowns.


Not serious art, but art

Vlado Weiser is a Slovak "rebel boy" of the 1960's whose refusal to conform won him fame. Now the most radical chapter of his life is being presented through his wild diary and its drawings at the Comprehensive School of Art Crafts or ŠUP at Palisády Street in Bratislava.
These fragments of his life, most of which are from the years 1966-1969, showcase Weiser's self-reflective and imaginative world. The exhibit, organized by a group of Weiser's friends, contains work which is at once intimate, weird, and funny. Open Mon.-Wed., 08:00-13:00. Ends August 30.


Concert for Kosovo

A host of Slovak and Czech musicians helped to raise 39,000 crowns for a destroyed Kosovo elementary school at a successful benefit "Concert for Kosovo" held in Bratislava's main square August 12.
The concert was one of the main activities of the " Help for Kosovo" campaign, organised by the United National High Commissioner for Refugees branch office in Slovakia, in cooperation with the civic organisation "Man under Threat", which is run by journalists. The Slovak Postal Service is also supporting the campaign.
On the night of the event, the audience was packed with young people who all paid an entrance fee to support the Glavičice school. The volunteer musician and singers included director Juraj Jonanides, singer Jana Kirschnerová, jazz musician Andrej Šeban, musician Jaro Filip and Slovak music legend Marián Varga. Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Kukan also attended.
Mária Čierna, spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Slovakia, said she felt the audience had been attracted by the idea that money was going to a real school and real people. Andrej Bán, a Reflex reporter who also helped to organise the concert, agreed that small steps, such as the sponsorship of a single school, were the best way to try to aid Kosovo. "There is no sense in making big gestures and pretend politics, but it is reasonable to run such small, real events," he said.



Jan Šibík stands in the Slovak Radio foyer with his war photograph "Daughter with father".
photo: Tomáš Koppl

Pain of war explored in photographs

A special photo exhibit depicting the pain of the Kosovo war is now on display in the foyer of the upside-down pyramid Slovak Radio building.
The exhibit, called "SOS Kosovo" features 40 photographs by the Czech photographer Jan Šibík. Šibík, a photographer for the well-respected Reflex magazine, paints a moving tale of the difficulties of ordinary people during the NATO bombings on Yugoslavia. Many of the photos were taken in Macedonia of the Kosovo Albanian refugee exodus.
Šibík has won a number of Czech Press Photo awards and the top Fujifilm Press Photo award in 1997. He also has recently published a book of his war photographs called, "When all tears of the world...." which does not include his most recent work.
This exhibition is supported by the "Man Under Threat" civic association. Open daily from 9:00 till 17:00. Ends September 5.


New Museum of Modern Art founded

By next summer, the small village of Čunovo near Bratislava will be known for much more than its beautiful swimming lake. A new Modern Art Museum, will open with an exhibit of Dutch and Belgian art on July 2, 2000.
Ambassador to the Netherlands Jacob Willem Soeters and investors from the Netherlands were on hand August 11 to place the foundation stone for the new museum, which will be called "Danubiana". The museum will begin its exhibition season by staging work from the modern art movement Cobra, which featured artists from Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam from the 1950's and 1960's.
The new gallery should cover 1,600 square meters and exhibit both Slovak and foreign works. It is a welcome addition to the Slovak modern art scene, which currently finds life only in private galleries, state run museums, and The Museum of Modern Art of Andy Warhol in eastern Slovakia.


Modern celebration refutes Soviet invasion

The Old City of Bratislava and a host of other organizations is sponsoring a special cultural event to remember the 31st anniversary of the Soviet Union's invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968.
The event will feature an open-air theatre happening directed by one of the best Slovak theater directors, Silverster Lavrík. It will take place on the Bratislava main square and the surrounding streets at 18:30. Then, a special, outdoor, full-orchestra performance will take place in front of the Primaciálny Palace at 20:30. The New Europe Festival Orchestra, conducted by Jack M. Händler, will perform the Ludwig van Beethoven's "Eroica" 3rd symphony.

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