Bratislava City Gallery ­– Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic

Identification with Nature  | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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Between 1979 and 1993, there was the Gallery of a Child at the City Gallery of Bratislava. 


Identification with Nature

Author: Michal Kern
P.M Bohun Gallery and House of Photography in Liptovsky Mikulas
31. 5. 2012 - 2. 9. 2012
Curator: Daniela Čarná

The exhibition is held in cooperation with the Bratislava City Gallery.

Michal Kern (1938 – 1994, Močiare) is a distinctive personality of so-called unofficial art scene. He embedded his work, influenced by conceptual art and action art, in nature. Instead of depicting nature on the canvas, he realized his actions directly in the countryside, which surrounded him since his childhood. He spent his life in the village of Močiare near Liptovský Mikuláš and this micro-world with strong genius loci of the former municipal mill surrounded by wild nature significantly marked a basic area of his human and professional interests, with their paradox of nature and civilisation. 
Michal Kern discovered nature as his studio gradually, from the interest in “different nature” in the period of constructivism in the second half of the 1960s to the acceptance of nature as his studio before the mid 1970s. The direction of his work was influenced by the communication with the centre of unofficial art scene in Bratislava, where he met the artists and at theorists dealing with similar issues concerning ethics and civilisation: Tomáš Štrauss, Peter Bartoš, Rudolf Sikora, Dezider Tóth, Juraj Meliš or Július Koller. Kern added to the contemporary art scene a view of a man unhampered by the hustle and bustle of urban life, and yet well informed and with a broad scope of knowledge, and due to his personal contacts established in the 1980s he introduced Slovak artists to the Moscow unofficial art scene.
Despite the fact that Michal Kern´s oeuvre was untimely terminated in the early 1990s, it can be considered rarely compact. It is characterised by solving strictly defined problems in the framework of which the artist managed to reach intense concentration and get to the heart of the matter. In addition to ethical and ecological issues, he also focused on the restoration of our relationship with nature, which, for him, became a permanent possibility of work, from discovering its reflection in the mirror, through leaving traces of his presence in the country, to the identification with natural processes. Michal Kern pointed out natural events in their unnoticed, seemingly ordinary everydayness (water flowing, snow melting or transformation of shadows) into which he brought a trace of his human presence and partnership. His work is specific in a systematic approach to nature as a permanent source of new incentives for work and self-reflections. Nature became not only the artist´s studio but also his home. To share his experience, he documented his actions by photographs, and thus significantly contributed to the development of conceptual photography in Slovakia.
In a dialogue with nature, Michal Kern shaped the final form of his works with specific poetics, enhanced by frequent use of drawings and texts, which are of considerable literary value. He recorded his ideas and actions in the diaries many of which remained in the form of concepts. Through his work he searched for the possibility to leave a message, ephemeral trace which “would have been accepted by nature”.  In their mutual dialogue, nature responded in the form of a permanent mark left on the artist´s body of work.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Daniela Čarná



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Michal Kern

Other exhibitions/actions

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Curator: Vladimír Kordoš, Marián Meško
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Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
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Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Authors: Matej Krén / Juraj Krén
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26. 9. 2019 - 31. 5. 2020

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Pohľad z hradu Starhemberg
Author: Moritz Saint Genois
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