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Hard-Boiled School
Contemporary Graphic Art Confronting History

20. July 2017 — 29. October 2017
Esterházyho palác, 3rd floor, Bratislava
Curator: Alexandra Kusá

The Slovak school of printmaking represented by the personality and work of Albín Brunovský, has a firm position in our art history.  The exhibition entitled Drsná škola (Hard-Boiled School) is indirectly related to this tradition while also confronting it and representing the polar opposite in printmaking thinking and approach for artists who were born after 1970.

The exhibition is oriented on the research of contemporary forms of this medium and their comparison with the printmaking here of the last decades of the 20th century.

Although this exhibition consciously and systematically treats printmaking in a wider context, it also concerns contemporary art as such: its boundaries and overlaps, the absorption and juggling of various genres, their permutations, and their historizing. Printmaking has developed within the sophisticated, plurality-loving, post-production and boundary crossing world of art, and the artists selected for this exhibition have completely deviated from the perfect dry needles which are usually associated with the printmaking craft.

Although the title Drsná škola is borrowed from the detective literary genre known as the Hard Boiled School, it truly names a distinguishable tendency in contemporary art. This exhibition’s concept, which is the result of extensive contemplation, consideration, as well as the erasing and adding of artists, is designed to identify and underpin this tendency. This is precisely why the final selection was “trimmed down” to six artists: Erik Binder (1974), Jan Čumlivski (1978), Emil Drličiak (1973), Palo Čejka (1973), Juraj Horváth (1975) and Tomáš Klepoch (1981).

The work and personalities of these artists are related in many aspects, although some connections may not be immediately obvious. This selection presents the relevant relationships to and possible overlaps of printmaking with free art (Binder), conceptual typography (Drličiak), “absolute printmaking” (Klepoch), applied printmaking (Horváth), art history (Čejka) and the basis of printmaking and their overlaps (Čumlivski).

Printmaking is an everyday necessity for the representatives of Drsná škola, a natural way of artistic thinking. They all share a captivation of linocut and to a lesser extent woodcut and the robustness of cut lines which leave traces of the tools of the trade.

This exhibition represents an opportunity to form a “group” which has never before exhibited together in such a constellation and which is based on various themes and the artists themselves. The works were selected according to the definition of the school, but the presentations are prepared monographically. Each of the participating artists was given his own space; the preparation of the exhibition was also subordinated to this principle, and thus resembled a creative symposium. The inventive collections of the individual artists are the result. They will never be part of the mainstream of art history and do not enjoy sensational sales. But they do constitute a relevant platform for the formation of a consistent cultural breeding ground and the generation of subtle but influential deviations necessary for the healthy functioning of the scene. 

The exhibition is complemented by classical graphic art pieces from Albrecht Dürer, Ľudovít Fulla, Ernest Zmeták or Albín Brunovský from the collections of Slovak galleries.

Curatorial Cooperation: Lucia Gavulová


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