Svätopluk Mikyta works with classical visual techniques, such as drawing and graphics...
artist: Svätopluk Mikyta
title: ´Definition II.´
date of origin: 2009
technical details: combined technique
dimensions: 45,5 x 55,5 cm
signature: signed bottom left : „Definícia“, signature bottom right: Svätopluk Mikyta 2009, pencil
Svätopluk Mikyta works with classical visual techniques, such as drawing and graphics. The series of drawings ´re-drawing´, ´re-painting´ and objects formed into the units which are always presented in new constellations, often transgressing the limits of the particular medium. He works with the historical layers of the mid-European area, is interested in totalitarianisms, manipulation and propaganda, but also in the cliché of the national myths and heroes presented by his individual humour and view.
The artwork ´Definition II.´ belongs to the cycle of re-paintings, on which backround there can be found the genuine photos of graphics capturing the spartakiads or army scenes. He criticizes mass, uniformity and manipulation under totalitarian regimes.
The Spartakiads were mass physical exercise events arranged by the Communist government and took place at the Strahov Stadium in Prague every five years with hundreds thousands of gymnasts form all over the Czechoslovakia. The Spartakiads were used by the regime as a tool of massive propaganda and were thus attended by large numbers of people. They should have been the public spectacles with manifestation of the physical, mental and political maturity, but were often associated with involuntary drill excercise (especially at schools).
The work consists of two images – the first one rotated 90° and shows the rows of muscled sportsmen dressed in white shorts and trainers. It is a kind of background for the second photo where we can observe the children with gym kit – circles and balls. On the background photo there are semi-naked men forming a regular raster which acts depersonalized and uniform; the individual in the crowd loses completely his identity. The photo with the children is its visual counterpart while the circled composition creates the pictures in which the individual is lost in a certain type of mass ornament. Mikyta painted with black colour an irregular circular shape into the centre of the composition referring to the circular grouping of children in the middle of which there is visible the ball from the former photo. This ´circle´ is a black hole which absorbs any sign of non-conformity and transforms everything and everybody into a compact mass. The ball in the middle can be seen as an eye watching the whole spectacle of manipulation and ´desubjectivization´, cold and distant. The picture is framed in a special historical frame which stands in formal contrast with the central black object, but at the same time it balances the whole composition in an interesting way. This frame can evoke also the typical framing of obituary notices.
Despite the fact, that the ´Definition II.´ can look like an orbituary notice for a ´deceased´ individuality, the bleak atmosphere is balanced with the gentle irony, thanks to which we can see many other possibilities of the perception of this artwork. The turned gymnasts look like they relax a little after a tiring excercise – perhaps a well-earned rest?
Svätopluk Mikyta was born in 1973 in Čadca. He studied drawing and graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava at the studio of Vojtech Kolenčík and at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart at Prof. Wolfgang Gäfgen´s studio. After graduating from ACAD he worked at Ivica Langerová – Vidrová´s ceramics studio. In 2001 he was awarded a scholarship to study at Hochschule der Künste in Berlin at Prof. Bernd Koberling´s studio. In 2008 he became a laureate of Oscar Čepan´s award. In summer 2008 he was the co-founder of civic association Štokovec – a space for culture. Since 2009 this association has run an open platform BANSKÁ ST A NICA – an industrial space at the train station in Banská Štiavnica, which provides a background for a wide variety of cultural activities and events.