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Adamčiak, Begin!
Retrospective Exhibition of Intermedia Work by Milan Adamčiak 1964 – 2017

23. March 2017 — 2. July 2017
Esterházyho palác, 3rd floor, Bratislava
Curator: Lucia Gregorová Stach, Michal Murin

The solo exhibition of the neo-avantgarde intermedia artist Milan Adamčiak (1946 – 2017) presents the main features of his work from the 1960s to the present.

We decided to keep the title of the exhibition Adamčiak, Begin!, on which the curators agreed with the artist himself. It captures the pioneering character of the artist’s creative endeavours and it also bears autobiographic motif. Adamčiak was constantly beginning – in the interest in all fields of the culture and became a fundamental intermedia artist. He himself claimed that he aimed “to know a lot about something as well as something about a lot.“ He built his original inter- and transmedia program on overlapping of the science, music, poetry, and visual art. Adamčiak created remarkable oeuvre in the field of New Music, he invented and constructed numerous original musical instruments, sound objects and acoustic environments. The music prints, which he delineated in a sophisticated typology, are not only conceptual art pieces; they are as well the music scores, often interpreted by domestic as well as international musicians.

Lucia Gregorová Stach, Curator:
„One can say that thanks to Milan Adamčiak, the Slovak conceptual art has gained ‘the sound’. The retrospective exhibition presents in main features his personality and multilayer intermedia oeuvre from 1964 to present days: conceptual art, film, experimental poetry, musical graphic prints, events and happenings, objects and original musical instruments as well as the digest from his distinctive archive. To follow the artist’s wishes the show is designed for all spectators’ senses involving many accompanying events – debates, live performances, programs for various age categories, musical interpretations and performances.“

Michal Murin, Curator:
„Adamčiak’s oeuvre and artistic career started in 1960s, when, as a young artist, he actively joined the neo-avant-garde tendencies in Slovak visual art. During the normalisation of 1970s and 1980s he worked in seclusion, off the public eye. The interest in Adamčiak’s work was occurring in regular intervals. The first occurrence being at the beginning of 1990s was related to the formation of the Ensemble of Non-conventional Music and Transmusic Comp., and the John Cage’s Bratislava visit in 1992. The second one occurred after 2000 when he realised solo exhibitions in Nitra, Žilina and Bratislava. The third one was related to the release of the documentary Muzikológ tvorca (Musicologist – Creator, 2009) by Arnold Kojnok. The series of solo exhibitions and shows abroad followed along with an increased interest of young artist to cooporate with him. In the last years he became an intriguing subject for young writers and authors of experimental poetry, the youngest generation of musicians from the circles of Veni Academy and Cluster Ensemble in Bratislava was increasingly interested in the interpretation of his graphic art music score and he repeatedly received offers to exhibit and cooperate with young artists. The artist’s death disrupted this dynamic period of the creation.”                                                                                        

Milan Adamčiak (16. December 1946 Ružomberok – 16. January 2017 Banská Belá) finished his studies of cello at the Conservatory in Žilina. In 1968 he started to study musicology at the Comenius University, Faculty of Arts in Bratislava. He was a founding member of a body of composers DAD (1965); along with Róbert Cyprich and Jozef Revall, he founded musical – performative body Ensemble Comp. (1967) with which he organised 1st Evening of New Music (1969) in Ružomberok; he took part in International seminars of New Music in Smolenice (1969, 1970) and he realised the musical project Vodná hudba (Water Music, 1970).The cooperation with Alex Mlynárčik introduced him to the visual art scene – he got involved in various events and happenings. In 1970 he was invited to the legendary 1. otvorený ateliér (1st Open Studio) at Rudolf Sikora‘s house at 32 Tehelná Street in Bratislava. At the studio he created Fluxus performance Canon 4×1/5 and a challenge for the colleagues Gaudium et pax.

From 1972 – during his studies – Adamčiak began to work at the Institute of Art History of SAS where he was active until 1991 exploring the semiotics of the relationship between music and visual art. In 1974 he was granted the scholarships of city of Darmstadt and DAAD including the participation at the International Summer Courses of New Music. He was also active as a pedagogue at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, Faculty of Music and Dance (1977 – 1988), at the Comenius University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Musicology (1979 – 1988) and for a short period at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (1991).

The co-operation with Július Koller and friendship with Květa Fulierová had significant influence on Adamčiak’s work. Hence the exhibition presents a collection of artefacts which owe their origin to the artists’ synergy.

Adamčiak was at the founding of Gerulanta – a union of visual artists, and at their first exhibition he presented his collection Transmusic Comp. (1989). Along with Peter Machajdík and Michal Murin, he founded Spoločnosť pre nekonvenčnú hudbu – SNEH (Ensemble of Non-conventional Music, 1990). He organised the Festival intermediálnej tvorby – FIT (Festival of Intermedia Work) in Bratislava (1991, 1992), the exhibition Interrooms coinciding with the conference Východ – Západ (East – West) in Bardejov Spa and was a vice-president of the European Cultural Club in Slovakia (1991 – 1992).

He was involved in inviting John Cage to Slovakia and curated the exhibition of the music scores by John Cage in the Slovak National Gallery at the artist´s presence (1992). In 1997 he was awarded the Mimi and Leopold Danihels’ Prize for Music. He occasionally worked in Kláštorisko in Slovak Paradise National Park, at the Dotyky magazine editorial office and at the Czech Centre library in Bratislava. He resided in Bratislava, Spiš region and Ružomberok. In 2005 he moved to Podhorie and from November 2010 until his death he lived in Banská Belá near Banská Štiavnica.

His oeuvre has been researched by Michal Murin with a close cooperation with Milan Adamčiak and published as a four-volume monograph Archív I. – IV. (Archive I- IV) in 2011 – 2016. The curators of the exhibition produced a special catalogue consisting from a bulletin and album Concept & Music, published by SNG.

The exhibition presents the artworks from SNG and other government funded collections as well as private collections from Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria.


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