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Alexander Salontay: Delivery

Retrospective exhibition of the Slovak painter Alexander Salontay (1937). An ambition of the project is, on an unrealized scale until now, to present the extensive work of the forgotten author whose painting position moves from the reflexion of personal mythology in the socialistic society to a specific pop-art variant in the rural context within the individual thematic areas.

Author, title of the exhibition: Alexander Salontay: Delivery
Venue: Jan Koniarek Gallery in Trnava, Koppel Villa, Zelený kríček 3, Trnava
Curator: Filip Krutek
Opening of the exhibition: 4. 6. 2020 (Thurs) at 18:00
Duration of the exhibition: 4. 6. 2020 (Thurs) – 30. 8. 2020 (Sun)
 

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In its exhibition programme 2020, Jan Koniarek Gallery in Trnava has included a retrospective exhibition of the works by the versatile painter and graphic artist Alexander Salontay (born in 1937) who entered the Slovak art scene in the 1960´s. So far, his extensive works have not been documented, reassessed or they have not become a matter of the art-historical research in a relevant way. An ambition of the exhibition is to present the professional as well as non-professional public the works of the forgotten author and retrospectively involve him in the discourse on the development of the Slovak painting of the second half of the 20th century.

The title of the exhibition is derived from the work of the same name bought by the Gallery in 2020 (Delivery – Fragile, 1972, oil on canvas, 123 x 210cm). It is distinctive as it accumulates in itself different painting positions evident in individual thematic blocks of the exhibition. From the “no-hand-workshop“ graphic art, pop-art morphology, the reflexion of personal mythology in the socialistic society up to the intervention of the paint-roller pattern and the lime plaster referring to the home, rural environment. At the same time, the title of the exhibition refers to the process of the exhibition preparation, when the extent of author´s works presented a delivery conserved by time also noting that the last author´s individual exhibition was held already in the year 1976.

The essence of the author´s works and at the same time a selection of the exhibition works is made up of his most creative period from the end of the 1960´s to the 1980´s. His early works are defined by multiplicative graphic art, logotypes, and monotypes of a smaller format. In a different graphic position, he takes over themes from daily press reducing them to a geometric morphology (Paris, 1968) and creates compositions with stamps later used by him also in the painting position. Another author´s creative period is defined by his interest in social problems. Anonymous figures often taken over from magazines and newspapers, he composed into specific modules and thus he was creating a critically-social iconography (Contradictions in us, 1970) or, on the contrary, narrative schemes alternating the fragments of new figuration with abstracting forms (Nine stories, 1971). A wide-ranging part of his works is presented by pop-art inclination and his reinterpretation in the local context. He overdesigns photographs and newspaper clippings and so creates archetypal scenes of the home stars – Marta Kubišová and Václav Neckář (Singers, 1968) or the iconic actress and sex symbol of the 1960´s – Olga Schober (Delivery, 1972). Another painting position is presented in the series of paintings with the motif of a landscape, facades of rural houses, fragments of architecture and gardens. As an experienced form of childhood, his works were given back the shabby walls of village houses continually repainted by paint rollers with almost a canonical motif. As regards the formal side, they present almost simulation of the wall of a folk house with the lime plaster and an authentic structure and fragility (The neighbour, 1973). The last thematic area and a painting position are more saving compositions as regards an expression and format from the first half of the 1980´s. They present simple forms understood by the author as substituting ways of criticism against the former regime or, on the other hand, he records the poetics of every-day banality almost in a commentary way. Salontay continuously devoted himself to creating enticing “agro-landscapes”, from understandable scenes of a landscape marked by man up to their intuitively abstracting versions. Just this stage is a centre of the solitary part of the exhibition completed by the author´s musical compilation “ZAOBRAZ” composed by his son Daniel Salontay on the motifs of father´s lyric landscapes.

Alexander Salontay (*1. 4. 1937 in Trhovište) studied the specialization of descriptive geometry – fine arts (Assoc. Prof. E. Lehotský, Assoc. Prof. R. Hornák) at the Pedagogical University in Bratislava in the years 1955 – 1959. In 1960 – 1965, he worked at the Pedagogical Institute in Trnava, and in 1965 – 1986, he taught drawing and graphic art at the Faculty of Education of Comenius University in Trnava. In 1981, he defended his rigorous thesis on the topic of “communication of art expression in children´s drawing”. In 1995 – 1996, he taught at the Faculty of Education at Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. Since the year 1967 he has been registered in the Visual Artists Fund, since 1972 he has been a candidate of the Slovak Union of Visual Artists, and since 1980 a full member of the Slovak Union of Visual Artists. Since the year 1996, he has been permanently settled in Zvončín.  

Filip Krutek


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