THE GALA concert in the complex of the former International Sculptors’ Symposium (MSS) in Vyšné Ružbachy was the culmination of a project by Tatra Gallery (Trantranská galleria) in Poprad, aimed at saving and reviving this unique cultural monument. The concert featured singers Terézia Kružliaková-Babjaková, Martin Babjak, Daniel Buranovský and Alexander Jablokov.
Before the concert, the public met with the artists, who had participated in the symposium in years past. Tatra Gallery director and initiator of the project, Anna Ondrušeková, explained that the goal of the event is to commemorate the once successful annual symposium and to point out the poor state of the complex in Vyšné Ružbachy. “The forgotten and devastated sculptors’ complex in Ružbachy resembles, alas, a cemetery of statues rather than a national cultural monument,” Ondrušeková told the TASR newswire. She added that Tatra Gallery has made several attempts in the past to revitalise the complex, but they had all been in vain. It was only thanks to the Košice European Cultural Capital of 2013 project that the idea came to fruition.
In the complex in Vyšné Ružbachy, sculptors from 14 countries created more than 100 stone sculptures over the course of the first 26 years of the symposium’s existence. In 1964, the first sculptures appeared in a nearby travertine quarry, and one year later, the first official year of the symposium took place. The idea was for the artists to express themselves while reflecting on the surrounding natural environment, i.e. “taille directe”, the www.sunflowers.sk website focused on Slovak spas wrote. The complex was relocated to a local town park in the 1980s, and the last year of the first series occurred in 1990, the www.ruzbachy.sk. website informs. By mid 1990s, sculptor Miroslav Kollár decided to revive the symposium and transform it into an international event.
On July 9, 2012, work on restoring the statues began, starting with those made in the mid-60s – works by renowned sculptors and co-founders of the symposium, Austrian Karl Prantl (who also founded the oldest European sculpting symposium in Sankt Margarethen), and Yasuo Mizuiko from Japan. Statues by Slovak co-founders of Ružbachy symposium, Rudolf Uher and Andrej Rudavský, were also restored. Next year should see the restoration of more sculptures. Ondrušeková stated that the Košice 2013 project, which co-funded the symposium project, helps not only the city of Košice itself, but the wider eastern-Slovak region.