A group of young artists with red banners resembling those from communist times protested against Ján Kulich, the sculptor of the new Svatopluk statue, at the unveiling ceremony on the evening of Sunday. June 6, the TASR newswire wrote. The ceremony was attended by the Slovakia’s three top constitutional officials – President Ivan Gašparovič, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška and Prime Minister Robert Fico.
“I’m a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (VŠVÚ) which was normalized [politically influenced and “corrected” based on official policy] by Mr. Kulich as rector for many years,” protester Michal Moravčík told TASR. Ján Kulich served as rector of VŠVÚ between 1973 and 1989 and it is claimed that he received many official orders under communism.
“Most of us are graphic designers and we came to protest against the fact that such a person was given the right to express himself in a public space,” said Moravčík, who said that hiring of a prominent sculptor from the communist period points to the attitude of the current political elite. Conversely, academic sculptor Ladislav Sabo, who worked on the Svatopluk statue, is proud of the monument, which stands almost eight metres tall.
The statue has met with loud protests from the Slovak cultural community. Dozens of renowned Slovak cultural personalities sent an open letter to the three constitutional officials that included criticism of the timing of the unveiling ceremony (less than a week before the general election). In the letter, the artists claimed that the statue is a “pseudo-symbol” demonstrating a return to the aesthetics of the so-called Normalisation period after the crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968. They also described Kulich as the “court sculptor of the Communist Party”.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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8. Jun 2010 at 10:00