In the memory of Iva Mojžišová

Iva Mojžišová was one of the most important Slovak theoreticians and art historians. She passed away on January 26, 2014 at the age of 75.

Iva Mojžišová was one of the most important Slovak theoreticians and art historians. She passed away on January 26, 2014 at the age of 75.

Iva Mojžišová was born in Bratislava on April 4, 1939. She studied art history and history at Comenius University in Bratislava. Already during her studies she worked part time jobs in the Gallery of the City of Bratislava in the period between January 1959 to March 1960. She completed her studies in 1961 when she defended her diploma work called “The Contribution to the History of Stage Design in the Slovak National Theatre in 1920 – 1939” supervised by Professor Alžbeta Günterová-Mayerová.

The young graduate was eager to continue in her university studies. The first more serious encounter with art was her writing about Slovak theatre stage design. In the sixties she devoted herself to writing about contemporary Slovak modernism and works of European and American artists. From 1963 she worked in the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava. At that point she started to map, search and work with materials connected with the history of the first art school in Slovakia that was the School of Applied Arts founded in 1928 in Bratislava.

Her ambitious professional career was for a longer period of time interrupted by political situation and normalization that started following the military occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

In 1971 as a result of the growing pressure to “purify culture” from those (artists like J. Jankovič, M. Čunderlík, A. Mlynarčík, theoreticians like L. Kára, R. Matuštík and T. Štraus) who betrayed the programme of socialist art and became the promoters of bourgeoisie aesthetics several important artist were banned to produce their works, among them E. Šefčáková, Iva Mojžišová became also one of them in 1972. The authors were not only banned to work and being quoted but specific artifacts by several authors were physically destroyed.

During those difficult time she found an exile in the Slovak Academy of Sciences where she worked. To avoid ideologically motivated tasks she worked on dictionary entries included in encyclopedias.

When democracy arrived in the nineties she returned to her research that she had been doing since 1963 and published the book on Giacometti and later its continuation Giacometti’s Laughter?, which was awarded the Dominik Tatarka Prize.

In 2008 she received her PhD. Recently she was awarded numerous prizes and awards: Doctor Honoris Causa from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, The Dominik Tatarka Prize, The VIZE 97 Prize and Christmas Award of AR Group for her lifelong achievement.

In 2013 Iva Mojžišová finished her book The School of Modern Sight – Bratislava School of Applied Arts 1928 -1939, she, however, could not come to launch of the book in June. She also did not appear at the exhibition opening of the same title in the Museum of the City of Bratislava.

Iva Mojžišová is the author of several significant publications, she wrote also essays, reviews and independent exhibition projects that she had prepared and accomplished. Neither the pressure of the long term illness nor the political pressure forced her to cease working. She consistently proved that the “changes and pressures of the world are possible to manage without the change of attitude and belief in values”. In the words of prominent film theoretician and historian Václav Macek: “Iva Mojžišová was absolutely unique. Her style of writing was excellent, she had an exquisite taste and was incredibly well-read. When she wanted to write something she had verified it three times. And speaking honestly, who in Slovakia has ever been awarded the VIZE 97 Prize? The people, who were awarded the prize – those are the world’s top intellectuals and among them also Iva Mojžišová, the only one from Slovakia. “

With respect Marta Hučková

In Nitra, February 24, 2014
Photo: Lena Kušnieriková