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Monika Kubinská, Bohuš Kubinský: STORY

multimedial project

Authors, exhibition title: Monika Kubinská, Bohuš Kubinský: STORY
Venue: Jan Koniarek Gallery in Trnava, Synagogue – Center of Contemporary Art, Halenárska 2, Trnava
Curator: Jana Geržová
Duration: 11.10. – 5. 11. 1995 

Iris Szeghy - musical concept (collage of two copmositions for one voice and a tape: Psalm – Hommage a Rodin, Story)
Sigue von Osten - Concert of the outstanding German soprano, one item of the programme I. Szeghy s composition Story. The project was part, of the: Bratislava European Electronic Computer Art and Music Project BEE 95 CAMP

FOTO: Martin Marenčin


The multmedial project Story was prepared for the unique exhibition place in the former synagogue in Trnava as the 3rd continuation of the cycle Art of the Aura. Consistantly prepared as an installation performed in situ, for the given space and the given moment, the project evoked an experience that was direct, unrepeatable and unreproducible.
The two young artists, Monika a Bohuš Kubinsky (both b. 1966) in collaboration with the composer Iris Szeghy (b.1956) created an istallation which is, in the context of the whole cycle of exhibitions (polemics with W. Benjamin´s statement about the loss of the aura of works of art), an interesting contribution to the discussion on the forms of art in the nineties with regard to the actualizing of immediatge sunsual experiences šithin the process of their perception. The reaction to the installation was deep fascination, and though conceptual art teaches that contemporary artistic creation cannot bo read without any intellectual reflection, the significance of the eye and its share in the perception of a certain part of contemporary art is evidently rising. It is not the rehabilitation of the eye (organ of the sense), but the rehabilitation of a direct sensual experience in which the reviving force of the immediate material of art is more relevant (here the predominant mass of water and sulphur as the ground of the presented object). It is less paradoxical and more regular that these islands of a revived direct visuality are reactions to the new electronic media, against the background of the continuing virtuality (simulation) of the contemporary world. It is also interesting that this tendency is often connected with extremely specifice exhibition places (disused historical technical buildings, or no more used and desecrated sacral ones), which provide conditions for the reviving of a direct perception by their anchorage in history and their real physical presence.
In this sense, the three basic elements in the project Story were:
a) Architecture (existing physical building)
b) Place (as a given spiritual space)
c) Artistic strategy (idea implemented by means of the material of art itself).

Architecture and place – the synagogue in Trnava is hundred years old (1891) and a place of cult with an expressive trace of human memory both in the literary meaning of historical architecture and in the metaphorical meaning (the long and eventful history of the Jews). The genius loci – the spirit of the place is ineffaceably present and the energy of the place has a certain aura – a spiritual irradiation. The referring to Benjamin and the polemics with him cannot be interpreted as a simple equation. The aura of the art installation performed in situ is not a direct subtraction of the energy of the space (the synagogue). It was the contemporary artistic strategy and, above all, the art material itself (as a medium of contemporaneity) that released an immense potency in the Story. It doubted the clearly defined boundaries between the real presence of the building, the spiritul potency of the place and the artistic fiction. The interior of the synagogue, limited by its outer walls, fixed by its tiled floor and the roof structure was newly defined by masses of water (water covered the groundfloor of the synagogue to the height of 30cm). The interior acquired a new dimension by its fascinating opening towards its depth as well as by the functioning of the water surface as a mirror that reflected in multiplied form the architectural details.This exchange between the interior and the exterior ( strengthened by the mystic presence of water vapours and artificial light) was repeated on the level of accoustics. The musical collage by Iris Szeghy, where she used two of her composition for one voice and a tape (one of them Story gave the name to the project), created a continual transition of recorded real noises (dripping water, voices of birds ) into a musical composition.

Material – able to lead associations simultaneously in two very different dominated the project. On the one side it is a tendency to minimalism (reference to the natural character of the used elements: water an sulphur, intensified by their presentation in a clear, least manipulated form ( as for the water we can say in its crude form, suphur kept its natural crystalline character and typical colour even after its transformation into the object). On the other side it is material the significance of which has many layers, so that we can speak about a density of symbolism (water – precondition for life as a natural element, one of the primary symbols in many religions and sulphur – its position in the alchemy of the Middle Ages, its unique quality of colour, but also symbol of destruction on the Bible).

The artistic strategy – project Story was based on the linking-up of tho main existential principles. The consciousness of the identity with the whole (the principle of identity manifested itself in the respecting of historical facts about the place, above all by subtle references to the original function of the building (the division of the synagogue into the male part – B. Kubinsky´s installation on the groundfloor of the basilica and the female part – the first floor reserved for M. Kubinska´s works, a hint of the motif of the David´ s star in the form of the water basin that copied the motif of the round window of the synagogue, holograms of cult objects from the collections of the Jewish museum on the walls of the synagogue, slide projections of Moses´ Five Books on the ceiling). The opposite principle (consciousness of originality, differenciation within the frame of the given whole) was documented by the appropriation of the existing architecture. The body of the hundred-year-old building became part of the installation, bur the presence of the radically new material enabled a loose treatment of the mass of the building and even a shifting in the perception of its spatial solution (exchange of the interior and exterior).

By this multimedial project, Monika and Bohuš Kubinsky, followed their former experiemces with in situ performed installations, for extremely specific, historically exposed and emotionally attractive millieus. The earlier project Sound o Silence was created for St. John´s Gothic Chapel at the Franciscan Church in Bratislava (1994) and was re-installed at the international symposium HERMIT in the Cistercian monastery in Plasy, Czech Republic (1994).

STORY, video, 12:16 min.:

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