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Two magical worlds: Kamila Štanclová a Dušan Kállay
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
it is a great pleasure for us to have the opportunity to present works of the two Slovak graphic artists and illustrators, Kamila Štanclová and Dušan Kállay, here, on the ground of the United Nations Organisation. The graphics and illustration have a long tradition in Slovakia; I will mention at least Ľudovít Fulla, Koloman Sokol, Vincent Hložník or Albín Brunovský who significantly contributed to the development of this beautiful and unique type of visual arts. Moreover, Bratislava has been for 45 years the host of the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava, which is the largest biennial focused on the presentation of children´s book illustration in the world. Kamila Štanclová and Dušan Kállay indisputably belong to the most significant Slovak graphic artists and illustrators.
Kamila Štanclová has been engaged mainly in children´s book illustration, while often choosing books from remote cultures, such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Turkish Epos, Kazakh Fairy Tales, or Andersen´s Fairy Tales, the illustrations to which are also included in the exhibition. She has illustrated 115 books. Her illustrations are delicate, even dreamlike, and full of various ideas, peculiar interpretations and symbols. She keeps track of a literary work, but at the same time she creates her own artistic message. Her illustrations are not descriptive and straightforward; she focuses on unusual moments to which she imparts a new and special magical spirit, and thus increases the intensity of readers´ perception. As for her graphic works, I would like to present some examples from the period of the 1980s and 1990s when she concentrated on graphic art. Unlike a narrative approach of many graphic artists, she builds a picture surface vertically or horizontally. She is searching for a symbiosis between man and nature; her prints sometimes have even dreamy interpretation. Štanclová is a type of artist who perceives the life around her exceptionally intensively and considers every moment or small event worth depicting.
Dušan Kállay has long been considered to be an unique phenomenon on the Slovak, as well as on the international art scene. This is confirmed not only by the number of important prizes, but first by the extraordinary interest in his work, presented in different parts of the words.
Dušan Kállay is also one of the artists that help to maintain the continuity of development of Slovak graphic arts and illustration. In his atelier, he also uses other techniques sucha s painting, drawing, posters, animated films, designing postage stamps, etc. The prints of Dušan Kállay are represented by works from the 1980s when he fully concentrated on the graphics, and created a series of admirably magical works.
He has illustrated over 200 books. Therefore, the exhibition represents only a small selection of his work. Dušan Kállay´s illustrations are represented by illustrations of Andersen´s fairy tales, Tales from the thousand and one nights, and Anton Schneider. In 1981, the Mladé letá publishing house commissioned Kállay to illustrate Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. In his large-scale gouache illustrations produced over the period of a year, he created a dreamlike magical world full of unexpected adventures, magical stories and distinctive atmosphere. Kállay treats these illustrations as paintings of unbelievable adventures and Alice’s dreamlike and unique world. It is not a coincidence that he received the Grand Prix BIB ’83 for these illustrations and became the only Slovak illustrator to be awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Prize.
The largest project in the history of Slovak children’s book illustration began in 2001 when Dušan Kállay and his wife Kamila Štanclová were commissioned by Brio Prague and Grund Paris publishers to illustrate all 156 fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. The book was published in three volumes. This complete collection also includes fairy tales with deep philosophical undertones and unique melancholic perceptions of the world. Until 2005, they created a total of 765 illustrations. Some of them were made separately but several illustrations were created jointly. It has to be noted that Kamila Štanclová was also a graduate from the legendary school of Vincent Hložník and is engaged in painting, graphic art and book illustration. Their home is literally permeated with art and children’s book illustrations have formed the genius loci of this place for a long time. Like Dušan Kállay, Kamila Štanclová is also an artist intrinsically connected with illustration which is in her own words Štanclová understands every book in a distinctive way with regards to its character and spirit.
I would like to thank everyone who made the realisation of the exhibition possible, in particular the Director-General of the United Office at Geneva Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva Fedor Rasocha and Miss Ildiko Siposova who was in charge of organizational aspects of the exhibition. I hope you will enjoy the exhibition and find it beautiful and magical experience.