Foto © archív KHB / Martin Marenčin

PARADOX 90: Curatorial Concepts During Meciarism (1993 – 1998)

Juraj Bartusz, Marko Blažo, Klára Bočkayová, Ivan Csudai, Anton Čierny, Pavlína Fichta Čierna, Daniel Fischer, Vladimír Havrilla, Július Koller, Bohuš a Monika Kubinskí, Otis Laubert, Peter Meluzin, Monogramista T.D, Ilona Németh, Roman Ondák, Boris Ondreička, Karol Pichler, Peter Rónai, Dorota Sadovská, Rudolf Sikora, Ľubo Stacho, Laco Teren, Jana Želibská
20. 09. 2014 - 01. 02. 2015
Curators Juraj Čarný, Richard Gregor, Daniela Čarná, Barbora Geržová, Beata Jablonská, Lýdia Pribišová, Mira Sikorová-Putišová, Nina Vrbanová
Exhibition Opening
19. 09. 2014 at 18

The first project of the newly established Bratislava Kunsthalle consists of eight equivalent parts, each of those being a fragment of one of the important exhibitions that were held during the period surveyed. Today, after the passage of roughly twenty years, representatives of the younger and youngest generation of Slovak curators have selected a significant action, citing it, on the one hand, as remembrance of a crucial undertaking, and on the other hand as homage to its actors.

During Meciarism (1993-1998) the political power was able to centralise, and thus dominate and occupy with its personnel, the leadership of almost all cultural institutions in Slovakia. Only a few galleries, and literally only a few forceful personalities, held out in spite of this and developed a high standard of dramaturgic activity – without compromises made to regional or any other culture-relativising pressures. One may say that this handful of curators, who in due course paid for their effort with loss of their employment, safeguarded the institutional continuity of the practices of high-quality contemporary art, particularly as regards the new media. That was done in difficult conditions without support from the state, though with help from foreign cultural funds, principally American, Swiss, French, British and Czech. This continuity represents a fundamental value of our cultural history after 1989 – in a certain sense it was a reinforcement, an additional defence of the path undertaken. With hindsight we can see that, besides the intensive work, there were errors and mystifications also. These were an unavoidable tax paid for the discontinuity of the years spent in normalised isolation after 1968, and for the inactivity of the “blacklisted” historians who might have written an alternative historiography of art. And at the same time it was a tax pre-paid to the account of acerbic critics of the future, writing for professional journals or daily newspapers.

Today we know with certainty that, leaving aside the classical media, the period in question produced an essential pensum of objects, installations, settings, site-specific works and video art, which represents the core of cultural identification for the 1990s overall and in many ways an ineffaceable foundation for artistic development in subsequent decades also. The period has not yet been comprehensively mapped, and hence our project, with its evident curatorial heterogeneity, seeks to present a first pluralist reading of the issues. With the installation itself and the published catalogue we hope above all to initiate critical discussion, which will culminate in a broad conference in the course of the year 2015. We are thinking of this as a supra-generational synthesis, which inescapably requires that these issues be worked through.


Richard Gregor 

Curator of the exhibition



List of interpreted exhibitions from 1990´s:

1/ 60/90 – Fourth Annual Exhiboition of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts Slovakia
various galleries and alternative spaces in Bratislava October 23  –November 22, 1997
Curators of the original exhibition: Alexandra Kusá, Petra Hanáková
Curator of the Paradox 90.: Lýdia Pribišová
Exhibiting artists on Paradox 90.: Július Koller – Roman Ondák


2/ Alternative Slovak Graphic
Štátna galéria Banská Bystrica, Banská Bystrica, November 21, 1997 – February 28, 1998
Curator of the original exhibition: Alena Vrbanová
Curator of the Paradox 90.: Beata Jablonská
Exhibiting artists on Paradox 90.: Ivan Csudai, Pavlína Fichta Čierna, Vladimír Havrilla, Ľubo Stacho


3/ Interior versus exterior or On the Border of (possible) Worlds
Cosmos, a. s., Bratislav, September 27 – October 31, 1996
Curator of the original exhibition: Mária Hlavajová, Cocurator: Marta Smolíková
Curator of the Paradox 90.: Barbora Geržová
Exhibiting artists on Paradox 90.: Marko Blažo, Ilona Németh, Boris Ondreička, Peter Rónai


4/ Limitlos
Štátna galéria, Banská Bystrica May 6 – July 5, 1998
Curator of the original exhibition: Zora Rusinová
Curator of the Paradox 90.: Nina Vrbanová
Exhibiting artists on Paradox 90.: Ivan Csudai, Daniel Fischer, Otis Laubert, Peter Meluzin, Karol Pichler


5/ Paradigm Woman, Považská galéria umenia, Žilina August 28 – October 6, 1996
Physical/Mental, Považská galéria umenia, Žilina, August 31– October 15, 1995
Between Man and Woman, Považská galéria umenia, Žilina, August 22 – October 17, 1997
Curator of the original exhibition: Katarína Rusnáková
Curator of the Paradox 90.: Mira Sikorová-Putišová
Exhibiting artists on Paradox 90.: Ilona Németh, Jana Želibská


6/ Dream of the Museum?
Považská galéria umenia, Žilina December 21, 1995 – February 11, 1996, Dom umenia, Bratislava April 27  – May 14, 1996
Curators of the original exhibition: Radislav Matuštík, Katarína Rusnáková
Curator of the Paradox 90.: Richard Gregor
Exhibiting artists on Paradox 90.: Juraj Bartusz, Ivan Csudai, Peter Meluzin, Peter Rónai, Laco Teren


7/ Grey Brick 35/1992
Galéria Júliusa Jakobyho, Košice, January 12 – February, 1993, Záhorská galéria, Senica, April 1 – May 30, 1993
Curator of the original exhibition for SK: Zuzana Bartošová
Curator of the Paradox 90.: Daniela Čarná
Exhibiting artists on Paradox 90.: Klára Bočkayová, Vladimír Havrilla, Július Koller, Rudolf Sikora, Monogramista T.D
8/ Art of Aura, The Memory of the Space,  Allocation of Space, Synagóga – Centrum súčasného umenia, Trnava 1995 – 1997, 1997 – 1998, 1999 – 2000
Curator of the original exhbitions: Jana Geržová
Curator of the Paradox 90: Juraj Čarný
Exhibiting artists on Paradox 90.: Anton Čierny, Monika Kubinská – Bohuš Kubinský, Ilona Németh, Dorota Sadovská, Monogramista T.D