11.5. - 30.6. 2023
Andrej Haršány, Tomáš Žemla
Curator: Viktória Popper
„Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Painter Tomas Zemla and sculptor Andrej Harsany (both born in 1984 in Trnava) are long time friends and artists with similar creative approaches, interests and themes, which is well illustrated by the fact that this is their seventh exhibition together. Despite their international experience and outlook, their main inspiration is the landscape around Trnava where they were both born, living close to each other ever since. They work with the materials found there or persistently capture the scenery of the endless fields. However, their work goes deeper than impressions of the places where they live. Both Andrej and Tomas try to capture the ever-existing bond between man and nature and their relationship to each other.
The exhibition’s title Earth Song – which is also the name of Andrej’s latest series – reflects on the current discourse about the position of man in the world, especially in the age of the so-called Anthropocene (the geological age during which humans have had a substantial impact on our planet). As the exploitation of nature becomes more and more devastating on the environment, the above mentioned question imposed by Martin Luther King is more relevant than ever.
Tomas and Andrej address these issues in their artistic practice. In his series Fragments and Light-Fields (that he has been working on since 2019) Tomas juxtaposes natural landscapes with lands taken over by man for agricultural production, especially monocultural farming. Monoculture is a system of agricultural production whereby only one crop is grown and harvested on a large field. On the one hand this concept underlines his monotonous creative process and the characteristic attributes of his work: banality (of content and technique), minimality (of expression) and utility (the motive of agricultural land). On the other hand, the depicted desolate landscapes reflect on the exploitation of our environment by men, as monocultural production destroys the soil, eradicates biodiversity and thus upsets the ecosystem, leaving lifeless areas behind.
Destrucitve Selfishness is the title of Andrej’s key work of this exhibition, in which the human oppression of nature is quite vividly illustrated. In each of his recent works, he depicts a cardinal sin of humanity: the bending and twisting of facts (Prophesy), the plundering and looting of natural wealth (Mother), the violent adaptation of natural laws (BDSM Tree), the spying on compliance with nonsensical rules (Spy Kafka), disinformation and spreading hoaxes (Chemtrails Kill), the hiding of toxic relationships in society (Bubbles), while resorting to spiritual practices (Shaman). In his pieces he creates hybrid entities by combining natural substances with man-made artificial materials and technological devices in a deeply disturbing way, projecting a rather apocalyptic vision of the future.