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House of Art
TUE–SUN 10.00–18.00

Kern, Michal / I Remember You, Ancestors

1984

terracotta, archeological fragment 49.5 × 56 × 4 cm, shard 13.5 × 8.5 × 1.5 cm

This work is a typical example of Kern’s conceptual art, which is manifested in a dialogue between a human being (the artist) and nature (the terracotta). It straddles the boundary between Jean Starobinski’s “first nature” and “second nature”; this was a typical feature of art in Slovakia (but not only there) from the 1960s to the 1980s. The work also functions as a processual record of the artist’s action-intervention into the structure of a natural material. The motif of remembering ancestors can be read subliminally as an expression of Kern’s disenchantment with contemporary life under a totalitarian regime. 

KERN MICHAL

(1938, Žilina – 1994, Liptovský Mikuláš) Painter, conceptual, action and land-art artist. In 1956–1962 he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava (under Ján Mudroch). He travelled abroad on numerous study visits (to Britain, France, the USSR and Japan among other countries). Kern was one of the first Slovak artists to explore the land-art concept. After an early foray into concretism in the late 1960s, he began to focus on conceptual art and outdoor action art projects (Game With Dice, 1975), which he photographed, then combining the photographs with texts and adding drawn elements. Kern’s inclinations towards nature were reflected in his emphasis on ecological themes, as well as in his observations of and interventions in nature (e.g. I Created A Line, from 1980) and his search for symbolic syntheses. He played an active role in the formation of the contemporary Slovak art scene. He often worked using the principles of random chance, appropriation and mirroring, as well as with the ephemeral media of snow, water and light. Kern gave Slovak artists a deeper insight into the unofficial Moscow art scene. He developed a highly personal approach to land-art and the development of conceptual photography in Slovakia.
textile, serigraphy, 102 × 81 cm, purchased in 2021 with funding from the Czech Ministry of Culture
1977

Kern, Michal / Every Man Is My Brother (from the cycle Against Violence)

wood, paper, 25 × 25 × 25 cm, purchased in 2021 with funding from the Czech Ministry of Culture
1975

Kern, Michal / Dice (from the cycle Games With Dice)

textile, serigraphy, 81 × 90.5 cm, purchased in 2021 with funding from the Czech Ministry of Culture
1978

Kern, Michal / International Pistol Target (from the cycle Against Violence)

textile, serigraphy, 100.7 × 80.5 cm, purchased in 2021 with funding from the Czech Ministry of Culture
1977

Kern, Michal / Targets (from the cycle Against Violence)

Axentowicz, Theodor / Girl in a fur

Axentowicz, Theodor / Girl in a fur

undated
Balabán, Daniel / Concrete (Below a Slag-Heap)

Balabán, Daniel / Concrete (Below a Slag-Heap)

1983
Balabán, Daniel / Old Eroticism

Balabán, Daniel / Old Eroticism

1996
Bartoš, Břetislav / Wallachian Madonna

Bartoš, Břetislav / Wallachian Madonna

1921
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