Curator: Mária Janušová
Official opening: 12.8.2022, 18:00
Duration of exhibition: 13.8.2022 – 30.4.2023
Location: Foyer, Jozef Kollár Gallery, Nám. Sv. Trojice 8, Banská Štiavnica
In the entrance hall of the Jozef Kollár Gallery (GaJK), we are presenting the artwork of Leonard Lelák, a young-generation Slovak artist. His installation, entitled From your ashes, we will rise, is made of old, porous blocks. Lelák arranges the blocks in a circle-like shape, piling them vertically at several spots and sometimes mixing them with broken pieces, dust, and other rubble of the same material. Since the work consists of construction material, it has a rough, raw character. Due to its uniformly grey colour and monumental form, the installation may appear heavy or technical, not very poetic and artistic. It may even appear just like a pile of scattered coal. In addition, the illumination from technical spotlights adds to the construction-like character of the artwork. As a result, it can give the impression of being an illuminated, unfinished part of some structure.
However, if we take a closer look, we can notice that the work contains various organic-looking parts. These unusual, rounded shapes may, in our eyes, resemble tiny organisms, as if other forms of life were growing out of the construction material and waste produced by human activity. Through these forms, we can perceive the installation’s poetic content, which tries to tell us what can arise from the remnants of human activity or happen after the collapse of civilization.
Even if, as a result of climate change, humanity itself perishes and only a pile of waste remains, life on the planet will probably continue, only without humans. As we can see, the ongoing period of the Anthropocene, in which man is at the centre of everything, is triggering catastrophic consequences. These processes are reflected in post-humanist theories, which doubt current concepts of humanism and, according to which, we should be looking beyond what is “human”, at other forms of life. Perhaps, only if we try to establish social and ecological justice between human and non-human actors, can we, as a human community, have a future.
Leonard Lelák (1995) is a graduate of the Free Creativity Studio, Faculty of Arts, Technical University of Košice, where he worked under the supervision of Radoslav Čerevka. Leonard has presented his work mostly at collective or duo exhibitions, for example, in Photoport Gallery (2021) and Medium Gallery in Bratislava (2021), Ján Koniarik Gallery in Trnava (2020), and the Museum of Art in Žilina (2017). At the moment, he makes his living as a construction worker.
Exhibition partners: Banská Bystrica Self-governing Region, Chateau Topoľčianky
Text: Mária Janušová