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Juraj Puchovský | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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Juraj Puchovský

Pálffy Palace (show Contact)
16. 1. 2007 - 18. 2. 2007
Curator: Beata Jablonská

Ďuro Puchovský (1978)
After finishing of SŠUP (College of arts and crafts) in Bratislava he studied in the years 1997 – 2003 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (VŠVU) in Bratislava at the Department of free graphics and book illustration (Prof. D. Kállay). He belongs to the quieter, less advertised tendency of young Slovak painting, which returns to expressionism which suits introspective handwriting performance. The creation is characterised by a central motif of a fragmentised figure in a sketchy surroundings able to express moods, metaphorically picture feelings of being lost and fear of a contemporary human as well as his dark sides. In this way of artistic thinking for the author are important animal motifs. His bestiaries are somewhere on the border between free creation and illustration, he likes to create author’s books – he is close to literature which influences him.


Between love and cruelty. It does not matter in which order.
About Juraj Puchovský’s paintings and drawings.

 When somebody says that to be a young artist is easy he is not right. The age is fast, reaching mainly for the tempting and glaring. So that everybody who performs at its scene plays according to rules set by the era. And it does not matter if it is an exalted exhibitionist or a shy introvert. Maybe it is not right but who could change it? Indeed, who is responsible for this image of the contemporary world? Anti-globalists are persuaded it is the fault of international corporations, politicians think it is mainly themselves and religious people do not ask questions like these. And what about the artists?  The post-modern era freed them from their responsibility for the course of history and awarded them with smaller roles as entertainers and of those who still can not stop questioning. Somewhere here belongs, or he would like to belong to the young painter and graphic artist Juraj Puchovský. It seems like his way to fine art was straight. First the College of arts and crafts then the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in the atelier of free graphics and book illustration. Presumably it was the desire for adventure from discovering of other either literary or visual worlds which oriented him to go this way.

For him drawing is recording of everyday thoughts and experiences from what he has seen which he keeps doing almost with a diary obsession. Never-ending amount of sketch books, notebooks and single leafs of paper filled with drawings is a proof of a continuous need to verify what he has experienced by hand, own hesitation and also the doubt. Juraj Puchovský simply draws while thinking. That is why his drawing (also painting) expresses internal restlessness, often it is added with his own thoughts or adopted texts of favourite authors. He got to the essence of his contemporary paintings and drawings with their characteristic bizarre imagination still during his studies. I do not know up to which extent were responsible the school tasks set by the atelier oriented at book illustration however a literary accent became an inherent motivation for all his expressions. Surprisingly in a quite short time a topic, encumbered with the book’s text becomes too narrow and limiting. A full stop and until now the last …at book illustration was his diploma work – a picture commentary to a book by Jan Amos Komenský Orbis Sensualium Pictus from the year 2003.

Even if today he does not have the ambition to illustrate, from time to time he returns to a book as to a problem or to a book as a form of artistic communication. Some of his paintings are composed as a double–page of a book, counting on the gesture of opening and closing. Juraj Puchovský is like he would be still hesitating between a straight visual leverage of the artwork as an easel painting and the artwork which message we get to during its gradual uncovering and leafing through. This more or less present background of book culture, even if it maybe does not seem like at the first glance, puts him into a strange opposition against contemporary technocratic influence, which is very present in contemporary painting.  I do not think that this position is a fighting one and a well thought out strategy against the contemporary development in fine arts. No, he only picks other subjects from the offer of the world of today. He is not interested in pop culture, actualities of the day he overlooks with a supercilious unconcern, he avoids cooperation with computers. Simply, his picture of the world is compiled from other, more hidden than seen pictures.

If we would need to characterise the author’s creation in one sentence it would probably sound like this: Juraj Puchovský paints figural expressive paintings with the topic of bizarre figures with existentialist content.  I do not know if bizarreness is the right word but every one figure is pictured as a carrier of an obvious conflict. The iconographic unit of these paintings is a human often taking over an image of an animal or the other way round it is an animal with an annotation to human qualities. The author uses their bodies as new-time moralities, ironic, sarcastic and mainly cruel. His artistic moralising is not self-serving. A horrifying grimace of a woman, emptiness instead of a head or blurred features of a face in a scary chaos arte an expression of his own fear from superficiality, hypocrisy, lies, misuse, manipulation, power, loneliness. Or on the contrary, fear from “pleasure” to death.

Maybe, so that he would escape from his own intrusive “rages” a year ago he left to Mexico, a country where it is supposedly possible to live with demons. Since he returned passed only a too short time to be able to evaluate what he came home with. Until now the first published souvenir from the travel is a “dogs’” cycle of paintings, which does not continue anymore in the strained rhetoric of the previous paintings. A dog wandering across suburbs of Mexican cities is for Juraj Puchovský an impersonation of freedom, independence and pride. He stopped fighting; the pose of the world leaves him for now cold.

Juraj Puchovský is only at the beginning of his artistic road. He is a ripe author who already found his handwriting. It will be mainly his personal controversy with the world which will bring him pain, but also relief. And here it is completely unimportant who will be the winner, important is the challenge.


Beata Jablonská


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