Milan Bočkay — The Square in the Space

Milan Bočkay belongs to the important representatives of the Slovak art of the second half of the 20th century...

Bočkay Štvorec

No.: O-2129

Artist: Milan Bočkay
Title: The Square in the Space

Year of origin: 1984
Technique: oil
Material: canvas
Dimensions: 65 x 65 cm
Signature: unsigned

Milan Bočkay belongs to the important representatives of the Slovak art of the second half of the 20th century and his work is based on the complex research of the painter´s illusion. From 1978 he uses the historically oldest artistic technique trompe l´oeil (from French – optical illusion). Bočkay is an artist, who applies the principles of trompe l´oeil only on two-dimensional flat surface. Despite the technical perfection characteristic for his artworks, the significance of these works lies not only in their inherent attractive illusional games and visual tricks, but also in the maintenance of a link offered by the usage of the traditional materials and procedures (canvas, oil painting) and their relationship towards other media, e.g. drawing. He is interested in exploring the borders of media and stimulates one technique by the other at the same time. He created the illusion of a watercolour painting with colour pencils, the illusion of a drawing with oil and the pastose relief with watercolours.

The starting point for the analytic painting is present also in the oil painting ´The Circle in the Space´. Bočkay is exploring not only the feasibility of a painting, but especially the construction of it and the basic material – canvas. The convincing imitation of the badly stretched canvas raises also the depiction of a circle which perfectly copies the individual foldings of canvas. The circle itself evokes the felt-tip pen drawing produced with oil on canvas by means of multiplying the principle of an illusion. The painting ´The Circle in the Space´ is one of the first artworks in which the artist reduced the motif only to the material itself – the painting – canvas. He further developed this topic in the series ´The Frame and the Canvas´.

Milan Bočkay was born in 1946 in Krušovce near Topoľčany. In 1961-65 he studied at the School of Applied Arts in Bratislava, department of display materials and techniques led by Rudolf Fila. In 1965-71 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, at the beginning at Dezider Milly´s studio, two years later he continued at Peter Matejka´s studio of free painting. The author´s interest in the phenomenon of illusion is still present in his artistic programme and can be identified in the artworks from his early hyperrealistic creative period. He is interested in the game based on paradox and gradual revealing the precize camouflage of an illusion which is can be found only by detailed observing, revealing, or even by haptical exploration. In this way there is an illusion of deformed, wrinkled, folded or index holed paper and canvas. The analytical approach towards the medium drawing and painting is being connected to the philosophy od analytic painting of the 1970s, especially with the movement Support-Surface that reduced painting to its pure material state by focusing on the way the paint was applied.

Barbora Geržová