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The Itinerary of Wandering (trough the undercurrents) | 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. 


The Itinerary of Wandering (trough the undercurrents)

Author: Anton Čierny
Pálffy Palace (show Contact)
28. 1. 2020 - 22. 3. 2020
Curator: Ján Kralovič

The exhibition project, The Itinerary of Wandering (through the undercurrents), presents some of the latest works by Anton Čierny in a way that accents the connections between the individual objects and the videos. Anton Čierny (1963) works as a professor at the Intermedia Department of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. His work is of a multi-media character; he works on projects in both the countryside and interior spaces, always considering the site-specific character of the artwork. He has also done performance, but he has been most active in creating videos and video-installations. With some of his latest artworks, presented in the exhibition, he has returned to working with objects and natural materials having a strong connection to an actual site.  The title of the exhibition, The Itinerary of Wandering (through the undercurrents), is a metaphor referring to the artist’s activities while travelling through various places in Slovakia and searching for conceptual and ideological connections between locations marked by critical historical events or ecologically insensitive interventions. I perceive the term itinerary (1. travel journal; description of a journey, including its peculiarities; 2. hist. chronological arrangement of data about a time period, about a place of travelling of a person) as a possible key to Čierny’s work. The meaning of the term makes a connection between the topographic outline of a site and Čierny’s performative acts while crossing the site, wandering through it. The term incorporates the motif of focused observation, but also the conceptual and dramaturgic work with a specific site.  The crossing through the exhibition happens between two conceptual lines. The first is the reflection of Slovak history from the perspective of looking for connections with the current growth of radicalisation tendencies, nationalism and neo-fascism, in particular (Before the Parliament is Set on Fire, 2017). An object is inserted into an observational, panoramic view of the Tatra Mountains, casting a shadow on the projected image of the Mountains. A brick with an authentic historical inscription is inserted into the context of the “mythical” Tatra Mountains – a symbol of national awareness. The shadow cast by ideology and its current forms irritatingly disturbs the complexity of the image (Where No Straight Light Falls, 2020). In another work (Urbi et Orbi, 2018), the technical view of the apparatus – a drone – becomes related to an activity, work which is, considering the context of the site – the former labour camp in the town of Nováky, perceived as a tool of isolation and repression. In the text of the video commentary (281 593 m2 Ad Acta, 2015; cooperation: Ivan Jurica), an analogy resounds between concentration camps and current ways of disciplining our bodies and exploitation by work.  The second conceptual line runs through the space between the video-images, where the viewer becomes physically confronted by material items. Coal objects, as if ready-mades, represent not only fossilisation, the “sedimentation of time”, but also reference the current environmental crisis and its palpable consequences. The final point of the exhibition’s “itinerary” is a landscape marked by land depression in the location of the village of Laskár, captured in a video accompanied by the author’s personal commentary (With Kind Permission of My Father, 2014 – 2019). Throughout the exhibition, the exploitation of both natural and human resources, as well as the risk of a new totalitarianism are installed in a minimalist form, strengthening the relationships among the exhibited works. Historical, political and ecological topics are contextually interlinked in Čierny’s works. The “undercurrents”, or long-sedimented phenomena, reach the surface and manifest the consequences  of problems long left unaddressed. The Itinerary of Wandering (through the undercurrents) project has been conditioned by an effort to use art forms to contribute to the recodification of critical thinking, and 

the revision of memory tracks which have the potential not only to reflect on and perceive the present more sensitively, but also to stimulate thinking and acting for the benefit of the future.      


Ján Kralovič 


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Anton Čierny

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