Kunsthalle Bratislava is opening a new solo exhibition in its “window gallery” Kunsthalle LAB. The exhibition is by Tomáš Rafa, whose works may already be seen by art-lovers in the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA PS1) in New York.
The launch of The Paradox of Tolerance, curated by Lenka Kukurová, will be held on Thursday, February 15, 2018, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The exhibition will run until April 15, 2018.
“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance.” This is part of a quotation from the Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper (writing in 1945), which forms the framework for Tomáš Rafa’s exhibition. His art project The Paradox of Tolerance touches on themes of nationalism, right-wing extremism, and coexistence with minorities, and responds to the contemporary reality of Slovakia and Central Europe.
“Developments in the world show that where there is a socially apathetic majority it is not humanism, but rather intolerance of freedom and diversity, that will emerge triumphant. It is important therefore to take an active approach and to stand up against injustice, whether in terms of spreading information, joining in discussion, or directly intervening,” says the curator Lenka Kukurová. She adds that Rafa’s exhibition associates itself with Popper’s message and warning: that the struggle for a free and open society is never-ending, and that it depends on public involvement.
Tomáš Rafa is an artist focusing on current affairs. His artistic tools are a camera and photographic equipment. His works touch upon political events, evoking public discussion in which the artist himself participates – as an artist and as an activist. Ethics plays as great a part in his work as aesthetics.
Rafa’s work on the one hand records topical events which occur in public space, and on the other hand organises the events from which he creates a record. In his videos he moves on the borderline of the artistic and documentary genres.
The Paradox of Tolerance is a survey of Rafa’s works in three thematic fields. The first field is videos mapping the rise of extremist and neo-fascist moods in Slovakia. Also related to this theme is his work photo-wall, where he challenges the viewer to take a stand. A second thematic field comprises recordings of participative activities, which the artist and his co-workers have been organizing in Roma settlement in Slovakia. A second thematic field comprises recordings of participative activities, which the artist and his co-workers have been organizing in Roma settlement in Slovakia. The third field is videos which refer to the situation in the world, whether it be the conflict in the Ukraine or the growth of right-wing extremism in Poland.
There are no simple solutions to those problems of contemporary society which Rafa’s work addresses. Art here plays the role of a mirror of society’s moods. The Kunsthalle LAB space, which is connected with a public space, provides the works with an opportunity to communicate with the broad public. The exhibition has an activist as well as an artistic purpose, and it seeks to motivate people to civic activity and to awaken them from indifference.
Tomáš Rafa (1979) is a Slovak visual artist. His work is well known in the Central and Eastern European region and also beyond, for example in Sweden and the USA. In Slovakia he won the Oskár Čepan Prize in 2011, and since then he has had a series of solo and group exhibitions in many countries. In 2017 he presented his work in the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA PS1) in New York. Tomáš Rafa is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where he is currently engaged as assistant and co-worker to the legendary Polish artist Grzegorz Kowalski.
As part of the exhibition there will also be complementary events: discussions, lectures and a theatre performance, which will address socio-political issues and the contemporary situation in society.
TOMÁŠ RAFA: Paradox of Tolerance
Curator: Lenka Kukurová
Opening: Thursday, February 15th 2018 from 6 p.m. until 8.p.m.
Duration: February 16th – April 15th 2018
Venue: Kunsthalle LAB