ŠTEFAN KUBÍK: SCULPTURES – DRAWINGS
The profile exhibition of Štefan Kubík (1941 – 2006) on the occasion of the eightieth anniversary of his birth offers a cross-section of his work with a particular emphasis on the dialogue of sculpture with drawings and sketches. The artist’s oeuvre is characterized by an idiosyncratic method of working with wood and a masterly control of space and form. The primary focus of the exhibition is a series of drawings and sculptures from the late artist’s estate which are complemented by works drawn from the collection of the Gallery of Spiš Artists. Also included in the exhibition are the unique “modelettas” – small-scale sculptures with a latent monumentality. This exhibition is part of the dramaturgical Profiles cycle and is presented thanks to support from public funds by the Slovak Arts Council.
„Štefan Kubík established himself on the art scene in the seventies, a period in which a line of “cautious modernism” was prevalent in art – a trend which came to dominance from 1972 onwards under the pressure which normalization-era censorship placed on the aesthetic concepts of artists. Nonetheless, artists bravely resisted this pressure and placed a greater focus on expressions of the existential condition of the individual. Kubík employed wood in his sculptural works, creating compositions for interior spaces such as small-scale chamber sculptures. From the late 1980s until his premature death in 2006, the medium of drawing became increasingly important to Kubík, with the act of drawing allowing the artist to live a “parallel life” in the form of pictorial diaries. Kubík brought the same energy to the large-format drawings he made in sketchbooks which can be perceived as designs for future sculptural projects. Many of these drawings are definitive expressions of the artist’s feelings and concepts and are something more than mere preparatory sketches for sculptures.
Štefan Kubík’s sculptural development in the years after 1990 came through an enrichment of the sculptural morphology of form – he was no longer tied to the determining form of tree roots, instead choosing to incorporate and install individual sculptural features, often with the use of metal connecting elements. He often employs the stele or “chapel-shrine” form, subtly integrating signs which can aid in deciphering the message of the sculpture. A particular feature of the artistic inheritance which Kubík has left us is the wide range of small-scale sculptures and statuettes, ranging in size from 15cm to 50cm. The precision of the material form and the composition, even down to the finest details, allows these works to be considered as bozzetti, or rough studies for future sculpture. In simpler terms, the bozzetti appear to us as iconostases of some unknown religion. They have a consistent compositional arrangement: a plinth, a central sign-nonsubject “scene”, and a terminal “projection”. Kubík’s sculptures are metaphors of time and fate; they thematize the struggle between good and evil, evoking questions of life and death in the viewer.”
Mgr. Ľuba Belohradská
Curators: Mgr. Ľuba Belohradská, PhDr. Klára Kubíková – in memoriam
Production cooperation: Mgr. Mária Šabľová – GUS
Design: Mgr. art. Ivana Babejová, ArtD. – GUS
Translations: Gavin Cowper
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