The Collection of Modern and Contemporary Plastic Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries contains relatively consistent and extensive collections of the most significant figures of plastic art in Slovakia. The origin of this collection is connected with the beginnings of the gallery and numerous sets of works document the development of modern and contemporary plastic art in Slovakia – from intimate plastic art, monumental works and on the contrary medal design up to works extending beyond the boundaries of classical sculpture towards object and installation (from 1990 in the Collection of Other Media).
The collections of figures from the turn of the 20th century, which document the beginnings of Slovak plastic art (Ján Koniarek, Alojz Rigele, Róbert Kühmayer and Jozef Arpád Murmann) are also part of this collection. However, in terms of extent as well as uniqueness, the greatest attention belongs to the two most distinctive figures of modern Slovak plastic art – Jozef Kostka and Rudolf Uher. Furthermore, the collection focuses on the decisive movements in plastic art from the beginning of the 1950s through the works of the sculptors of the Group of Mikuláš Galanda, particularly the more complex sets of works of its two central figures – Vladimír Kompánek and Andrej Rudavský.
During the period of normalization, plastic art was under strong social and political pressure. Due to its nature and importance (use in architecture and in public space) it was expected to fulfil the requirements of socialist art to the greatest extent (especially together with the architecture). This moment distinctively modified the creation of the SNG collection which from the 1970s was oriented on the works from exhibitions of engaged work in compliance with the social role of sculpting art, as well as the designs of monumental implementations and works which became part of architecture that was the product of the period order, aesthetics and realistic canon. Designs, sketches, studies for monuments, memorials and relief decorations also constitute part of this collection; the traditional medal design of several Slovak authors is also represented.
From 1990 until today, interest is focused on complementing the plastic art collection by alternative and experimental forms of sculpting art, such as the objects and environment of the authors based in the 1960s (Mária Bartuszová, Jaroslav Kočiš, Ivan Štepán, Juraj Meliš, Jozef Jankovič, Milan Dobeš, Juraj Bartusz, Stano Filko, etc.). Thus, the gaps in the history of this type of art and Slovak fine art in general are filled, because before that year similar works were not purchased, or appeared in the collection ad hoc, as separate signals of the development of plastic art in Slovakia. A focused interest in works that exceeded the “classical” boundaries of plastic art only began to appear after the social changes. This enabled the re-evaluation of and changes in the collection, as well as its further complementing of missing works from the 1990s until today (Dezider Tóth, Jana Želibská, Peter Meluzin, Peter Rónai, Ilona Németh, Viktor Oravec, Milan Pagáč, Karol Pichler, Roman Ondák, Sára Pernecká, Marko Blažo, Anetta Mona Chisa and Lucia Tkáčová, Martin Piaček).
The works of the founding figures and significant works of Czech plastic art of the first half of the 20th century (Jozef Mařatka, Josef Václav Myslbek, Ladislav Šaloun, Jan Štursa, Otto Gutfreund, Otakar Španiel and others) also constitute part of this collection. It also contains the works of Czech sculptors of the second half of the 20th century (Eva Kmentová, Vladimír Preclík, Olbram Zoubek, Václav Cigler). European and non-European works, especially from the second half of the 20th century, which have been added to the collection through occasional and accidental purchases or donations from exhibitions implemented on the grounds of the gallery, are also marginally represented.
Curator of the Modern and Contemporary Plastic Art Collection: Vladimíra Büngerová