Text: Nikolas Bernáth
Join us for the tour of a gallery that is home to the largest collection of Košice Modernism. One of the most remarkable examples of this style can be seen in one of the rooms of The Invisible Hotel. The winners of the Invisible Hotel Experience competition could stay in the room and, in addition to that, they won a private guided tour of the East Slovak Gallery with Dorota Kenderová, the director of the gallery.
Before seeing the exhibitions, the director of the gallery told us about the long and rich history of the building that currently houses the gallery. Built-in 1779 and subsequently rebuilt several times, its most recent reconstruction was completed in 2013 and created new exhibition spaces for the gallery. Its great hall hosted the first meeting of the Czechoslovak government on 5 April 1945 and it was also here that the new government’s manifesto, the so-called Košice Manifesto, was adopted.
The exhibition halls, especially the new underground ones, are truly grand and unique. Exposed walls and concrete in the basement set a perfect scene for contemporary art exhibitions. The ground floor premises include a lab for contemporary projects and young artists, while the first floor usually hosts major long-term exhibitions.
The current exhibition, “AFTER MODERNISM / The Capital of the East 1945–1989”, is one such project. Curated by Peter Tajkov, it presents the works of artists who managed to build on the tradition of Košice Modernism despite the socialist regime.
The 1950s brought major changes to Košice, changes that are also reflected in the art of the period. The multi-cultural urban character of Košice was being transformed by rapid industrialisation. The mass migration of new workers to the city changed its character for good and that did not go unnoticed by artists. Despite the state-sanctioned style of socialist realism, the unofficial art scene managed to produce progressive pieces that certainly deserve their place in the history of Slovak art.
Having seen “AFTER MODERNISM”, we moved on to Jaro Varga’s exhibition on the ground floor. This project explores the tragic events that took place along Czechoslovak borders during the period covered by the previously mentioned exhibition. While attempting to flee the communist dictatorship in their homeland, many Czechoslovak citizens were killed under the rule of the Iron Curtain.
Our tour of the gallery ended in its basement, which currently hosts Marko Blažo’s “Horror Vacui” exhibition. It covers a wide range of the author’s work, starting in the 1990s, including drawings, collage, graphic art, paintings, photographs and objets d’art, all of which capture the author’s experience, information gathered from the media, stories and everyday objects.
Do you want to experience a private tour of the gallery with its director as to your guide, see all the exhibitions, uncover its secrets and learn interesting facts about the gallery itself, the artists and works of art and even step inside the gallery storage where 7,000 art pieces are hidden? Book a room in our Invisible Hotel and prepare to experience Košice in a completely unique way.
In addition, the East Slovak Gallery is coming this year with a novelty, which is the possibility to buy a ticket in three price categories depending on the offered forms of benefits (VIP tours, unlimited access to the exhibition sessions at opening hours, access to all accompanying events, etc. For more information, please visit the VSG.