Opening: September 12, 2019 at 6 pm.
venue: tranzit.sk, Beskydská 12, 81105 Bratislava
open: Wednesday – Friday, 2-7 pm; Saturday, 1-6 pm
ERSTE Foundation is main partner of tranzit.
The project has been supported by the Grant Scheme of Bratislava Self-Governing Region.
Supported using public funding in the form of a scholarship by Slovak Arts Council.
The starting point of Matej Gavula’s exhibition is the fallen glass mosaic tiles from the external decoration of the Faculty of Natural Sciences in Bratislava, which through sculptural transformations make their way into the exhibition space both in the form of objects and a site-specific construction. The connection between the two spaces provides an axis for the interplay of associations and interpretations of facts and principles present in nature, sculpture, architecture and society, and activities related to and triggered by the artworks in the exhibition. It also implies body movement and its relation to space, a characteristic of both sculpture and architecture.
The artist invokes the concept of abrasion, which bridges the slow, passive transformation of architecture resulting from deterioration, and the faster actions of carving and grinding, reducing something to a meaningful essence as integral to the creative work of the sculptor. This is most visible in the case of the mosaics, conveyors of the decaying beauty of their place of origin, a masterpiece of Slovak modernist architecture. In the exhibition, as a result of processes of casting and polishing, their traces are incorporated into stable compositions built into solid materials and endowed with an aura of warmth, intimacy and potential for growth. The exhibition further comprises an opening performance based on architectural elements, which through acts of supporting and maintaining balance makes reference to the sharing of responsibility in constructing communities. The last element is a video which makes use of a found situation arising during a running race in order to connect the force required to counter the resistance of the material in sculptural practice with the individual’s effort in moving counter to the stream of society.
Abrasive Society is a statement on the role and meaning of sculpture in today’s society, which Matej Gavula views as interconnected with the general laws of nature, the action of time and the construction of society.
The exhibition is complemented by a newspaper format publication, which besides the curatorial text, presents A Stone in the Daylight Inside, an unconventional interview with the exhibiting artist realized by Dana Tomečková. The dialogue is made up by Gavula’s confessions on sculpture understood as an associative process and Tomečková’s reactions in the form of poetic drawings.
Matej Gavula (b. 1972) is a visual artist based in Bratislava. He graduated from the Stone Sculpture Department at the School of Applied Arts and at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava at the Studio of Glass. He works through the media of sculpture and object, photography, video and performance. Recently, he presented his work at collective exhibitions such as Otras, HotDock project space, Bratislava (2019); Blind mould, SODA gallery, Bratislava (2018); Continuously growing horizontal underground stems – Geopoetics in times of anthropocene, Plusmínusnula Gallery, Žilina (2017); I Take Pleasure in Attention, Central Slovakian Gallery, Banská Bystrica (curated by Zuzana L. Majlingová, 2018); Pretty soon if this keeps up I’m going to have to envelop the entire universe, Gdańsk City Gallery (curated by Piotr Stasiowski and Jaro Varga, 2018); Shell Game, MeetFactory, Prague (curated by Lucia Gavulová and Jaro Varga, 2017); Panfília, Zahorian & Van Espen, Bratislava (curated by Daniel Grúň, 2016).
Matej Gavula, Abrasive Society, 2019