14 February 2018

‘Sky Gravity’ by Roman Ondak and Štefan Papčo at Zahorian & Van Espen Gallery

Roman Ondak, Štefan Papčo, Sky Gravity, exhibition view
‘Sky Gravity’ by Roman Ondak and Štefan Papčo at Zahorian & Van Espen Gallery
Roman Ondak, Štefan Papčo, Sky Gravity, exhibition view

Roman Ondak has won international recognition by his analytical, yet at the same time intimate approach to a wide spectrum of themes. His concerns include change in the political system, the process of globalisation, the status of things and the relativity of their social and cultural value, time, and human existence. Ondak’s artistic material, and also his source of ideas, is social reality. As he once remarked, the original situations that he works with are, to his way of thinking, as sculptures: he creates them and stylises them, but always with a feeling for their context of meaning. This sketch of his programme is best summed up in the title of his exhibition in South London Gallery, which ran at the turn of the year 2017: The Source of Art is in the Life of a People.

Roman Ondak / Štefan Papčo Global Warming, 2018, Event
Roman Ondak, Sky Gravity, 1997, Inkjet art print on Hahnemuhle paper
Roman Ondak, Evening, 2018, artist’s early drawing on paper, bowl, table, glass

Roman Ondak (1966) comes from Žilina and lives and works in Bratislava. He studied at Bratislava’s Academy of Fine Arts and Design. In 1996 he exhibited at Manifesto 1 in Rotterdam and in 2000 at Manifesto 3 in Ljubljana. For the Viennese Secession he created the important installation SK Parking (2001). In 2003 he produced his work Good Feelings in Good Times for the Kunstverein in Köln; later it became the first acquisition of performance art by the Tate Modern. He also exhibited in the Tate Modern three years later (It Will All Turn Out Right in the End). His installation More Silent Than Ever was presented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2006. For the Czechoslovak Pavilion at the Biennale of Art in Venice he created the celebrated project Loop (2009). In 2012 he won the Artist of the Year award conferred by Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. Of his further exhibitions, one must mention particularly the solo exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2012) and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid (2013). His works are represented in the most prestigious world collections. He was an initiator and co-founder of the Július Koller Society.

Roman Ondak, Štefan Papčo, Sky Gravity, exhibition view
Roman Ondak, Štefan Papčo, Sky Gravity, exhibition view
Roman Ondak, Štefan Papčo, Sky Gravity, exhibition view
Roman Ondak, Štefan Papčo, Sky Gravity, exhibition view

At the core of Štefan Papčo’s work is a conceptual thinking which materialises in the parameters of traditional sculpture, contemporary object production and ready-made. He confronts and combines those media with digital technologies. His works are also inseparable from mountaineering, which he has been engaged in for many years. His current solo exhibition in Kunsthalle Bratislava (curator Elena Sorokina) shows how Papčo is able to move with confidence outside the well-tried and trodden “tracks” of compositional practice. The expressive and formal shifts in his most recent works show the flexibility and creative vitality of his artistic strategy.
Štefan Papčo (1983) was born in Ružomberok. He studied in Jozef Jankovič’s studio. As a member of the young generation he has managed to win many awards for his work. One of the first was a prize at the Erasmus exhibition in Porto (2006). In 2010 he was a finalist for the Oskár Čepan Prize. Subsequently, in the domestic context he acquired the Tatra Bank Foundation Prize for young creator (2013) and the NOVUM Foundation Prize (2015). Of his awards gained abroad, one must mention the DAF Grand Prize at the Dumbo Arts Festival in New York, which notably contributed to his impact on the international scene. His works are represented in important collections at home (Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava City Gallery, Nitra Gallery, …) and abroad (Messner Mountain Museum, IT; Museum Voorlinden, NL).

Erik Vilím


ArtistRoman Ondak, Štefan Papčo
ExhibitionSky Gravity
Place / venueZahorian & Van Espen, Bratislava
DatesJanuary 9 – March 16, 2018
PhotosMarko Horban

See also