Reprezentačné sály - Nitrianska galéria, Župné námestie 3, Nitra


The exhibition Mirrow as tool of illusion is the first part of the long-running exhibition project under the umbrella term Illusion in paintings/fine art/ visual art of the second half of the 20th century...

Milan Bočkay, Lenka Cisárová, Ladislav Čarný, Richard Fajnor, Jana Farmanová, Stano Filko, Daniel Fischer, Bohdan Hostiňák, Miro Hric, Kamera Skura, Michal Kern, Matej Krén, Pavel Kopřiva, Vladimír Kordoš, Otis Laubert, Dita Pepe, Veronika Rónaiová, Dorota Sadovská, Rudolf Sikora, Uľjana Zmetáková, Jana Želibská, Ivona Žirková

The place of the exhibition: Reprezentačné sály NG, Nitrianska galéria, Župné nám. 3, 949 01 Nitra

The opening of the exhibition: 25. 10. 2007 o 17:00 hod

The duration of the exhibition: 31. 12. 2007

The curator: Barbora Geržová

The exhibition Mirrow as tool of illusion is the first part of the long-running exhibition project under the umbrella term Illusion in paintings/fine art/ visual art of the second half of the 20th century. The aim of the project, which will be realised in The Nitra Gallery in the years 2007 – 2009, is to analyse various aspects of the phenomenon illusion. The term, deriving from a Latin word ludere means in the translation to play, to fiddle, to cheat and to lie, while the basic definition of the illusion relates to the notion or percept that does not match with reality. The intention of the displayed project is to document, that the aspect of illusion, traditionally connected with the historic art, is topical even in the artworks of the second half of the 20th century as well as in the contemporary ones. Individual exposed projects will be aimed at presentation of the artworks, in which various visual tricks (trompe l ´oeil, hyperrealism), optical effects (mirror or some other reflective surface, camera obscura), virtual environment (simulacrum), arranged environment (shadow theatre) or physiological given of sight (op-art) are used to bring the illusion.

The initial exhibition Mirror as Tool of Illusion is oriented at the presentation of works of Slovak and Czech authors, whose outputs are closely connected with using the mirror with its faultlessly lustrous surface, which can reflect the light and thus create the virtual image of any object placed underneath. In the paintings, the mirror occurs in two basic representations. In the first one, which is mainly connected with historic art, it occurs as topic, theme and motif. Among the most quoted artworks belong: The Arnolfin Portait by Jan van Eyck from 1434, Parmigianino´s Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror from 1523 -1524 and Las Meninas by Velázquez from 1656. In the 20th century art, mostly in its second half, the focus is predominantly on mirror as real material, which occurs in the creation of objects and installations, where its abilities are used: to grasp, to multiply but also to deform, to destruct and to create illusive traps for the viewer in the way, e.g. Michelangelo Pistoletto does.

I did not structure the exhibition Mirror as Tool of Illusion as linear history of transformations of illusion, but I concentrated on the categorisation of the chosen problems, in order for the exhibition to offer a broad variety of artworks of Slovak and Czech artists working with the motif of mirror and reflection. It is dealing mostly with the authors, who have been engaging with this theme for a long time or with those, who shifted the theme into new context. Mirror as metaphor will be present in the paintings using reflective water surface (Bohdan Hostiňák), surface of metal objects and glass sheet (Veronika Rónaiová, Uľjana Zmentáková, Ivona Žirková), combining painting with real mirror (Jana Farmanová), as well as in the work, created on the principle of camera obscura (Miro Hric). This metaphoric aspect will also dominate in the section, where connections between self-portrait (portrait) and mirror image (Dita Pepe, Richard Fajnor, Rudolf Sikora, Lenka Cisárová), as well as phenomenon of image in image/ picture in picture (Daniel Fischer, Dorota Sadovská, Milan Bočkay, Otis Laubert, Vladimír Kordoš, Veronika Rónaiová) will be examined. Mirror as the focusing art material offering a variety of catoptrical effects will be presented through individual objects (Jana Želibská, Otis Laubert), complex installations (Matej Krén, Stano Filko, Pavel Kopřiva, Ladislav Čarný), project documentation (Michal Kern), including the artworks using the mirror qualities in its physical absence (Kamera Skura, Milan Bočkay).

A specific status of the whole displayed project has Paper XLIV (1982) by Milan Bočkay with the text Between trick and illusion, that very precisely grasps the thematic orientation of the exhibition and illusive tricks and plays, into which the viewer is pulled.

Thematic spheres

Mirror as painting material: Matej Krén, Ladislav Čarný, Stano Filko, Michal Kern, Jana Farmanová, Otis Laubert, Jana Želibská

Aspects of reflection: Bohdan Hostiňák, Pavel Kopřiva, Veronika Rónaiová, Uľjana Zmetáková, Ivona Žirková

Mirror traps: Milan Bočkay, Kamera Skura

Image in Image/ Picture in picture: Milan Bočkay, Daniel Fischer, Vladimír Kordoš, Otis Laubert, Veronika Rónaiová, Dorota Sadovská

Self-portrait (portrait) as mirror image: Lenka Cisárová, Richard Fajnor, Vladimír Kordoš, Otis Laubert, Dita Pepe, Rudolf Sikora

Camera obscura: Miro Hric

A bilingual (English/Slovak) catalogue, supported by The Ministry of Culture of The Slovak Republic, will be published with the exhibition. On the project collaborated also Czech Centre in Bratislava. Media partner: Czech-Slovak version of magazine Flash Art.

Barbora Geržová