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

YOUNG SLOVAK PAINTING | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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The Scholarship of Radislav Matuštík has been established in 2004.



Author: Ján Vasilko
Pálffy Palace (show Contact)
21. 2. 2013 - 7. 4. 2013
Curator: Vladimír Beskid

Young painter, Ján Vasilko, became a patron of geometric painting language – post geometric abstraction after finishing his Košice study immediately. He prefers a reductive language of pure surfaces and elementary shapes on the interface of abstraction and figurativeness. On the scene, capable designer of painting, architect of painting architecture is naturalized.

Not only because he designs on the canvas his own imaginary buildings, from medieval Johanites castles, through sport places up to Corbusier´s villas, but mainly because he stages in this architectural scope, in shallow space, peculiar meetings of Duchamp´s drier, screw-wrench, cross, harvester, power-saw, ice-hockey player and shovel (The Last Recapitulation, 2005; Assassination, 2005; Suicide of a Vacuum Cleaner, 2005). He remixes scenes for grazing harvesters and vacuum-cleaner with swanlike throat, one-eye cameras and dipper buckets. In a matter of fact, it is the question of “constructivistic canonization” of signs and symbols of machine resolution. Nobly and jaunty, the machines of ploughs, spike of grain, square wrench, VSŽ sign, hockey-stick, power saw of daring mongrel: aircraft-harvester (Centaur, 2005; Still Life with Bust of a Combine Harvester and Ear of Corn, 2007; Utopia, 2005). Leaders of this movement of the “rusty” are nobly constructed hybrid totems, crucified heroes, iron idols with wheel eyes (Spirit, 2005; Meeting, 2008; Industrial Saint, 2008). Combining the above mentioned elements, various “machinoids” originate, special MACH-ICON (icon of machines) in sacral, medial as well as computer sense refers namely to programs of the society. Even machines have right to have their own heroes and painted images.

In 2003 – 2007, personal remembrances and family background of Vasilko: neglected beauty of harvesters and tractors, Unit Farmer´s Association harvests in Zemplin, screw wrench of his grandfather, who was mechanist, collection of old sport journals belonging to his father, enthrallment by the VSŽ metallurgy plant, Košice town quarters or membership in Recesistic-Artistic Iron Party influenced the format of his vocabulary very significantly. Simultaneously, there was a strong creative lesson and inspiration here such Gothic panel painting, Chirico´s metaphysics, Russian constructivism, Dada-machines of Francis Picabia, Malevič´s square, reduction of Gerwald Rockenschaub as well as ascetical canvas of Adam Szentpétery.

In 2006, Vasilko painted a series of grey paintings named Study For Utopian Tower I-X in one breath. Huge tower structures, dissected architectural skeletons appear on the image fields. And it is not evident, if it is the question of magnificent monuments of future or residuals of industrial wrecks of yesterday “drowned” visions. These colossal one-act of towers (between reconstruction and revolt) also are the tribute of the author to grey colour within the black-white duality. As mentioned by him, it considers it to be the nicest colour worldwide, “because it is proud, dignified, non-violent, self-confident… it stays in the background stilly and waits for the interests of viewers nobly”.

Since 2007, the author is focused on painting of large geometrical forms on neutral surfaces, which remind of technical worlds of tools, parts and machine fragments of 1960s (Lights, 2007; Villa R, Component VII, both 2008). Simultaneously, as a reply to bastardization of world and contamination of spiritual space, he creates fragile world of “social sculptures”. So, Vasilko becomes the painter of own landscape, planner of ideal places and agglomerations confronted with nobility of mountain crystals. He recalls to the canvas hybrid forms of industrial elements, invalid sculptures, virtual museums of contemporary art, town interiors and painting shops (Future Citadel, 2007; Design for The Museum of Contemporary Art in Košice for 2013, Version I-XX, 2009; Sculpture in the Mountains I-III, 2008; Still Life in Atelier, 2007). Gradually he continues to be focused on “industrial protozoa” – iron organism from technical drawings, unicellular organisms from chemical laboratory compacted as part sets, scrapped parts of curious apparatuses (Constructivist Composition with Chainsaw, 2007; Hockey I-II, 2007; Biomorphic Architecture, 2011). He multiplies the set of geometrically levitating debris and parts. He composes a compacted structure, poetic mechanical ballet. In this defile of scattered structures, free elements create sometimes cumulated quanta, dramatic groups holding a passionate discussion mutually (Barricade, City 6, both 2012). In the last years, (since 2012) dense traffic of lines of power appears actually. Static and mystery of former images scenes is changed into vibration of nerve communication flows and metal lines mixed-up into the thin spider webs of big city with verve (Demonstrations 4, Disturbances 7, both 2012). At the same time the colourfulness  of his canvas has been changed. The original earthy and dim colour scale with curved tones has been gradually purified into brighter and more colourful tones, achromatic groundwork and kaleidoscope-affiliated primary chords. This, Ján Vasilko is still able to model dynamic and living painting scenes with the melancholy, desire, absurdity concentrate with detachment of painting designer. This is Vasilko today. “Heavy metal” painter in a turbulent country,  KEometry.


Vladimír Beskid


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Ján Vasilko

Other exhibitions/actions

Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Curator: Vladimír Kordoš, Marián Meško
21. 4. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020
Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
Author: Albín Brunovský
Curator: Ivan Jančár
12. 3. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020
Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Authors: Matej Krén / Juraj Krén
Curators: Kristína Zaťko Jarošová, Ivan Jančár
26. 9. 2019 - 31. 5. 2020

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Pohľad z hradu Starhemberg
Author: Moritz Saint Genois
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