Between Forest, Village and City

The international interdisciplinary colloquium in the Gallery of Spiš Artists based on a curatorial concept by Mgr. art. Katarína Balúnová, ArtD is organised within the framework of the Human Animal series of exhibitions and is loosely interconnected with the current exhibition titled Human Animal II. / The Wolves Are Full, the Sheep Are Safe, the Pigs Are Laughing, presented as part of the Themes dramaturgical cycle of exhibitions. Project has been supported using public funds provided by Slovak Arts Council.


The colloquium brings together experts from the fields of philosophy, ecology and art and addresses the relationship of humans and animals not only from a cultural, historical and ethical perspective, but also in a broader sense in terms of the entire living environment.


Information, reservations:, 0948 882719.

Closing date for applications: Monday, 26. 9. 2022.



FOR DOWNLOAD -> Registration





Wednesday| 28. 9. 2022

SESSION I / The Animal in the Environment (Image)

13.00 – 16.30


13.00 – 13.15 | Mgr. Lucia Benická, director, Gallery of Spiš Artists: 

Opening of Session I


13.15 – 13.45 | Mgr. art. Katarína Balúnová, ArtD., curator, Gallery of Spiš Artists: Exhibition: Human Animal II. / The Wolves are Full, the Sheep are Safe, the Pigs are Laughing

The exhibition is inspired by the well-known Slovak proverb Vlk sýty, ovca celá (the wolves are full, the sheep are safe), to which the pig has been added. This trio of animals are inextricably linked with local rural traditions which remain deeply rooted in our consciousness. We associate these animals with a wide range of symbolic and mythological meanings which tell us little about the animals themselves, instead holding up a mirror to our own society.


13.45 – 14.15 | Mgr. Peter Kováč, ethnologist and curator, Spiš Museum in Levoča: The Shepherd Families of the Central Spiš Region

The pastoral culture of the Levoča Mountains as told through the example of several renowned local shepherd families and personalities from the central Spiš region. Shepherds often passed on their knowledge about rearing and healing animals, their habits, rituals and unique ethical code of behaviour down the generations, from father to son. The community of shepherds proclaimed their identity through their behaviour, dress and, in many respects, their language.


14.15 – 14.30 | Break, refreshments


14.30 – 15.00 | Prof. Susanne Slavick (USA) / ONLINE, visual artist and curator, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh: Agitating Animals

‘Flora and fauna’ usually evoke images of the bucolic and benign. Artists use imagery of fauna in more agitating ways—from the political and provocative to the pathetic and playful. Whether aggressive or passive, fetishized or feared, the animals portrayed invite speculation, revealing the vagaries of contemporary socio-political realities.  →


15.00 – 15.30 | Mgr. art. Lenka Černota (ČR), painter, researcher and conservator-restorer: The Environment of the Image

The artist presents her own work, the main theme of which is the relationship between humans and wolves. She adapts her paintings to match the colour perception and visible spectrum of wolves, creating paintings which can be seen in the dark or images employing scent: “I paint wolves. I imagine how a wolf sees and I paint accordingly. I imagine that I am a wolf and then I paint a self-portrait. I try to paint images that would interest a wolf.” →


15.30 – 16.30 | Open discussion, alternating presentations



Thursday | 29. 9. 2022

SESSION II. / (In)Visible Animals and their Territory

9.00 – 12.30


9.00 – 9.15 | Mgr. Lucia Benická, director, Gallery of Spiš Artists: 

Opening of Session II


9.15 – 9.45 | Ing. Emil Grobauer, creator of the films Vlci z Levočských Vrchov [Wolves of the Levoča Mountains] and Čergov – Miznúca Divočina [Čergov – the Vanishing Wilderness]: The Vanishing Wilderness

The documentary Čergov – Miznúca Divočina was filmed over the course of three years. It is an authentic record of the wildlife of the area and the problems which this forest landscape is currently facing. The filmmaker has also been monitoring several wolfpacks for many years, presenting his experiences in the short film Krajina Vlkov [Wolf Country]. →



9.45 – 10.15 | Juraj Lukáč, conservationist, head of VLK, an association campaigning for the preservation of forests: We Don’t Plant Christmas Trees, We Protect Forests

Wolves and bears were once seen as apotropaic animals, talismanic creatures who protected our ancestors against evil spirits. Why is it not possible to plant a forest? Why do we need even mosquitos, venomous snakes and mice? Everything you always wanted to know about nature but were afraid to ask.



10.15 – 10.45 | Dr. Sherin Elbaroudi (EG) / ONLINE, lecturer, Higher Institute of Applied Arts, Cairo, visual artist and researcher: Archetypal and Symbolic Animals

The Egyptian artist presents her works inspired by people and nature. Animals and plants are important elements of social relationships. In the Middle East, the goat is a creature of great symbolic significance which can be found everywhere from ancient temples to contemporary art. → @shereen_elbarodi


10.45 – 11.00 | Break, refreshments


11.00 – 11.30 | PhDr. Andrea Klimková, PhD., Faculty of Arts, University of Matej Bel in Banská Bystrica: The Unseen Animal or Why Do We Need Animal Ethics?

The animals which we use as food, products or raw materials are often considered as being unseen. They disrupt our anthropocentric language and our conceit of progress to such an extent that we have banished them from our field of vision. Animal ethics are essential not only for a theoretical and critical method of understanding but also as a practical means of making decisions and acting in our relationship with the creatures with whom we share the planet Earth.


11.30 – 12.00 | Mgr. Milan Barlog, zoologist, Slovak Paradise National Park: 

A Bridge between Nature and Man

The lecture will attempt to clarify the natural values of a national park within the framework of a landscape transformed by man. The conflicts which arise from this relationship also affect the territories of animals. What types of solutions does the National Park Authority employ and how can they be improved?



12.00 – 12.30 | Open discussion, closing remarks


SESSION III / Guided Tour of the Exhibition, Educational Workshop


13.30 – 16.00 | Creative workshop for gallery educators and teachers connected with a guided tour of the exhibition.

The workshop will introduce the possibility of using natural materials as a part of artistic practice. It follows the ecological message of the international colloquium and exhibition, while drawing attention to the domestic agrarian tradition. From crops such as beetroot, cabbage, or onion, we can obtain a natural dye that can be used in drawing or painting.



Miesto konania

Galéria umelcov Spiša
Zimná 46, Spišská Nová Ves


28.09.2022 - 29.09.2022

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