Andrej Rudavský, Still-life with a Head

The work of art in question can be included among other sculptures – heads where the stone nucleus is surrounded, imprisoned by a new threatening world of civilization...


P-364 RudavskýArticle of Inventory No. : P 364

Author: Andrej Rudavský
Title: Zátišie s hlavou (Still-life with a Head)
Year of Origin:  1975 – 1987
Technique: casting
Material: metal, bronze
Dimensions: 61x59x22 cm
Marked: unmarked

The work of art in question can be included among other sculptures – heads where the stone nucleus is surrounded, imprisoned by a new threatening world of civilization. Rudavsky’s artistic programme includes symbolic, lyrical and archetypal expressions. The still-life with a head is characterized by clean shapes without sentiment, reminding us of Egyptian sculptures but also evokes balladic atmosphere rooted somewhere in his childhood of his Polish homeland. Following traditions of his ancestors Rudavsky’s trademark is the certainty in the expression of shape.

Shapes and faces of anonymous heads, in a low relief, are deliberately barren of unnecessary details, reduced to elementary shapes, sometimes with geometrical sections to attract the viewer with their rudimentary almost archaic origin. The relief of a woman’s face, simplified to a minimalist shape, surrounded by the aureole of tiny grains is majestic, respectful, although the form discloses melancholy but without grand gestures and pathos.

As Andrej Rudavský puts it: “There is often the question of contemporaneity: where it rests, where it can be perceived, acquired, felt. I think it is in the atmosphere of days we stem from since our childhood, the days marked by smashing, destruction, when a man, his blood and land were one terrifying even tragical matter and when the fragments of these elements were new… I focus on the building of a sculpture, its form, on the opinion how to feel the matter, its tectonics and destruction – the right to record for eternity a lyrical growth of a tree, its blooming and the drama of the moment when  a soldier burns a wooden heart in its trunk with a machine gun. On the right to build the new out the pain of the old, to build and cry in sculptures, to make them quiver that is to give them the atmosphere that hurts, cherishes trifle things, that threatens and is threatened.”

Sculptor Andrej Rudavský is one of the most important Slovak sculptors of the second half of 20th century. He also created drawings and paintings – expressive and dynamic heads and figures abstracted to a variable degree. At the beginning he did assemblages and used ready-made. Gradually his expression became close to traditional forms of Slovak folk architecture and reached for archetypal depths. His characteristic topics are chapels, shepherds, pilgrims, fighters, but also topics, which are more general and archaic, pagan and Christian, often expressed as metaphors or symbols in his sculptures. In addition to bronze the author uses also other traditional materials – metal, stone, less wood and shingle.

Curriculum Vitae

He was born on November 29, 1933 in Horná Posada (Poland). In 1950 -1954 he studied at the School of Applied Arts in Bratislava (prof. A. Drexler, prof. L. Korkoš), in 1954 -1960 he studied at the College of Applied Arts in Prague (prof. J. Wagner, prof. J. Kavan). He was one of the founders of the Mikuláš Galanda Circle (1957) that was active to 1968. In 1972 he was expelled from the Slovak Union of Visual Artists. As a result he could not exhibit officially and his works were not included in state galleries. Some of his works were destroyed and removed to the military dumping ground near Bratislava.

Nowadays his art works can be found in all significant Slovak galleries. His statue of St. Cyril and St. Methodius stands in front of the headquarters of the UN in New York. He has had solo exhibitions in Slovakia and abroad since 1962, collective exhibitions since 1960. He has participated in international sculpture symposiums since 1965. In addition to small-scale pieces he aslo creates large-scale architectural pieces.

The author lives and creates in Bratislava and Podunajské Biskupice.

Marta Hučková

Secondary Sources:

Kvasnička, M.: Andrej Rudavský, Mária Rudavská, Zuzana Rudavská, Ondrej Rudavský, Slovenský Tatran, Bratislava 1998


Photo: Slávomír Žákovič