GALLERY OF MODERN ART IN ČUNOVO AIMS TO EXHIBIT TOP ARTISTS' WORKS

World art on the Danube

WHEN Vincent Polakovič built Danubiana in
1999, literally from nothing and in the middle of nowhere, he dreamt that one day it would be on par with the
best modern art museums in Europe. His dream is coming true fast.
The spacious orange-blue building with its bold modern architecture that sits on a peninsula extending into the
Danube near the small town of Čunovo 20 kilometres from Bratislava, has managed to attract dozens of world
famous artists and hundreds of visitors. At the beginning, however, few people believed that artists would travel
half an hour from the capital to exhibit their works at a place with no visitors.
Currently, the gallery houses over 100 large-scale paintings by one of the foremost contemporary Spanish artists,
Manuel Salinas.


SALINAS (left) and Polakovič.
photo: Jozef Uhliarik

WHEN Vincent Polakovič

built Danubiana in 1999, literally from nothing and in the middle of nowhere, he dreamt that one day it would be

on par with the best modern art museums in Europe. His dream is coming true fast.

The spacious orange-blue building with its bold modern architecture that sits on a peninsula extending into the

Danube near the small town of Čunovo 20 kilometres from Bratislava, has managed to attract dozens of world

famous artists and hundreds of visitors. At the beginning, however, few people believed that artists would travel

half an hour from the capital to exhibit their works at a place with no visitors.

Currently, the gallery houses over 100 large-scale paintings by one of the foremost contemporary Spanish artists,

Manuel Salinas.

"Salinas first exhibited in Thessalonica, then in Bucharest, and now he is here. This shows that Danubiana has

become one of the places where leading artists would like to have their works exhibited," says Polakovič. "And

that's a great accomplishment for us, because people thought that nobody would come to exhibit so far away

from Bratislava."

Expressionist painter Salinas is the fifth Spanish artist to exhibit at the gallery. Among the four previous ones,

Polakovič has displayed works by Madrid native Miguel Ybánez, and Martín Chirino, a sculptor from Grand

Canary.

"The Spanish Foreign Ministry runs a project that aims to present several significant native artists abroad. They

like the space of Danubiana, so we hope to introduce at least one Spanish artist a year to the Slovak audience,"

the gallery's director, Polakovič, says.

The Spanish curator of the exhibition, Francisco del Río, as well as Salinas himself, say that the gallery's

spacious construction offers a new quality to the painter's brightly coloured pictures.

"The gallery is perfectly built, letting in a lot of natural light. I have discovered new aspects of Salinas' works,

thanks to the vibrations the light gives to the colours," the curator said.

Among the other international artists - Italian, Dutch, Austrian - presented in the gallery, Polakovič also invites

leading Slovak contemporaries. He says that inviting Slovaks was the gallery's idea from the very beginning, as

there is a strong generation of domestic artists but few places in which they can exhibit.

The museum had a miraculous origin: Fascinated by Vincent Van Gogh, Polakovič gave his promise, to what he

says was the spirit of the artist, that he would build the art centre Van Gogh never finished. Unexpectedly, he

then met Dutch businessman Gerhard Meulensteen, who financed the Sk50-million (€1.2 million) construction.

Given this astonishing start to the gallery, one finds it easy to believe that Polakovič will manage to fulfil his

ultimate dream that the museum "will be able to present the world's top art".

The display of Manual Salinas runs Tue-Sun 10:00-20:00 until September 1. Admission: Sk60. Danubiana

Meulensteen Art Museum, Čunovo Water Works. Tel: 0903/605-505.

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