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To see, to see and to see

From 13. September 2019
Zvolenský zámok, Zvolen
Curator: Eva S. Kotláriková

Exposition on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of the Slovak National Gallery at Zvolen Castle.

The exposition on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Zvolen Castle as part of the Slovak National Gallery (SNG) is the installation of Jiří Franta and David Böhm. This experimental contemplation of gallery practice through installations complemented by drawings comments on several factors related to its three main points - material - works which the SNG administers and conserves; activity - specialized activities related to acquisition, care, accessing and conserving; and memory - memory of a specific site, memory contained in the artwork and last but not least the memories of visitors.

When the gates of Zvolen Castle opened on September 13, 1969 after more than five years of reconstruction, the press commented on this event as follows: The renovated Zvolen Castle was opened for the general public yesterday. The cost of the renovation was 22 million Crowns. In the past decades this precious historical monument suffered the ravages of time, which could be clearly seen. As a result, its restoration took a relatively along time... The SNG is building a permanent installation of Slovak visual art at Zvolen Castle for participants and future generations. At the opening ceremony the general public had access to the first floor which featured the works from ancient times up to the 19th century. The opening ceremony was grandiose, with fanfares and a parade through the city, a gala reception and the opening of the expositions.

Over 140 exhibitions and numerous other events have been held at Zvolen Castle in the past 50 years, making it a vital part of the cultural life of the city and region. However, in addition to exposition spaces, the castle has become a part of the life of local people in a different way. It has been a venue for weddings, festivals, films for children... Every visitor remembers the castle in a different way and has a unique relationship to this place.

In recent decades galleries and museums have been searching for new creative methods to present their collections not only in a traditional academic manner, but also in a lighter, entertaining and educational style, which under the façade of easier accessibility and visual attractiveness may also include deeper content and strategies for educating visitors and developing their ability to perceive and understand art. Thanks to the development of museum and gallery pedagogy and the increasing possibilities of using technologies and digitized artworks and exhibits, real and digital visual platforms as well as approaches for exhibition and exposition activities have been created.

Artists Jiří Franta and David Böhm have been involved in this trend through the creation of several implementations at the gallery premises and elsewhere. With less seriousness and an insider's humor arising from experience, knowledge and the ability to ask proper questions, they thematize and comment on gallery practice. The legendary publication entitled Jak se dělá galerie (How to make a Gallery) is a significant example of the presentation of a gallery and its collections to the general public. In the case of the 2015 implementation entitled Půlka kapra, žena ve žlutém, výčep a květiny (Half a Carp, a Woman in Yellow, Taproom and Flowers) at the Fine Art Gallery in Cheb in the Czech Republic, their drawing exceeded the frame of painting and spilled over directly on the gallery walls. Thus, they combined mutually, apparently incoherent artwork of various styles and artists and interpreted them in a new way. In 2016, in cooperation with the Morava Gallery in Brno, Czech Republic, within the project entitled Za obrazy / Behind the Paintings, they copied Modernist artwork from the permanent exposition on the wall in the spot they were hanging. Thus, the original concept of drawings as a certain replacement for lent artworks resulted in an independent exhibition.

In addition to others, the common denominator of these implementations and the current exposition in Zvolen is the use of the gallery wall, a space traditionally reserved for installations of artwork and related information. The wall is promoted to the level of a canvas and thus it becomes equal with the artwork itself. Artwork on the wall, along the wall and even in the wall grouped in smaller installations, poses questions on various themes, for example: professional care for artwork, the ability to present artwork to the visitors, issues related to the original and its copy, the origin of artwork in gallery collections and gallery acquisition activities and many others.


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