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In the Shop Display: Tomáš Šoltys

11. April 2022 — 19. June 2022
Esterházyho palác, Bratislava
Curator: Petra Hanáková

At a time when SNG was still chasing novelties and even risked acquiring a diploma project of a promising graduate, a performance Man on the River (2011) by Tomáš Šoltýs (1985) was created. The image of the man, the artist himself, who, as Christ walked, "flowed" on the waves of the Danube, had a nature of an endurance exercise - it was a demanding, life-investing performance. It got noticed not only by the cultural audiences but also by the city's security forces.

In Bratislava, the Danube has an untamed yet powerful city-forming character. That's why its (artistic) "taming" seemed so charismatic. And also photogenic. Šoltýs's bold action, his video-veduta, was an indirect reflection on the presence and temporality of art in the city. At that time, several controversial monuments were "erected" in Bratislava (e.g. Kulich's Svätopluk, reminiscent of the Ľudák aesthetic of the war-time Slovak republic). And perhaps, that is why the most meaningful artistic gestures are often ephemeral, non-invasive, rather experiential - work-cum-event, recorded through the medium of photography or video, without the need for it to take root in the city and become a future "obstruction".

In the video Man on the River, almost nothing happens. The shaky camera captures the man/artist from several angles, against the background of Bratislava's bridges, embankments, the port... In addition to the unsettling figure of a man flowing down the river for hours in a "zen-like" fashion, we often feel enthralled by the unusual perspective of the city, which has changed dramatically over time.



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