Marián Čunderlík – Struggling for a new vision

The artist was interested in pictorial reality.

Marián Čunderlík

The exhibition presents the selection of Marián Čunderlík´s (1926–1983) works from the period of 19XY – 1969 from the Nedbalka Gallery´s collection. Čunderlík went down in art history as a figural painter (late 1940s and 1950s), participant of Bratislava Confrontations (early 1960s), and a member of the Club of Concretists (late 1960s). Since the 1960s, he presented his works along with artists with whom he shared a similar view of the direction of Slovak art, which contradicted the idea of art, its forms and functions promoted by the socialist regime.

Through his early figural work, Čunderlík became an imaginary connection between a modern tradition of Slovak painting and the non-tradition of abstract tendencies. He did not seek the essence of Slovakism, did not get fixated on folkloric subjects. Dissolving a figure into colour patches, Čunderlík focused on its associative and later universal (geometric) forms and a new pictorial concept. Initially he experimented mainly with colour; not only with its qualities but also with its material and structure. Lively colours were gradually replaced with more neutral shades linked to natural processes and with various interventions in the paper that made the passage of time visible. Working with expressive and meditative aspects, he created works materialising archetypal shapes and existential feelings through the so-called structural abstraction. Čunderlík turned his attention to the experiments through structural prints, notably in the monotype technique, various destructive interventions in picture surfaces, or collage and assemblage. By using colours, their masses, structures or inserted objects, he imbued his works with new qualities, and thus new dimensions.

The artist was interested in pictorial reality. Although in his work it remained an autonomous reality with its own inner rules, it tried to embrace the variables of a new nuclear age. The artist made them visible in the form of silver surfaces, components of a new technological era and later also primary colours of the emerging digital era: yellow, cyan and magenta. Using the means of expression of abstract art, he wanted to embrace something that would be common to every man of the modern/nuclear era: subjective emotional experience of existential feelings and constantly changing coordinates of human experience in time and space. As if he searched for and tried to reveal generally accepted universal principles within different registers of visual communication, whether through the figure, its decomposition, structural graphic art, or concrete art.

The works became mantras of infinite possibilities and variations, escape from the restrictions of regimes and everyday life to the infinity (of self). Čunderlík´s artistic experiments and organisational activities were interrupted by the normalisation in the 1970s and a premature death a decade later.

Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.

Marián Čunderlík (1926 Motyčky near Banská Bystrica – 1983 Tri studničky) was a significant representative of Central European art in the latter half of the twentieth century. He constituted an integral part of Czechoslovak cultural life, especially in the 1960s when a number of new inspirations and possibilities were brought in Slovak art due to a temporary political liberalisation. The opportunities for development and presentation of Čunderlík´s work were influenced by changing socio-political conditions and shifting (dis)favour of ideological commissions of the socialist regime in former Czechoslovakia.

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  • Galéria Nedbalka, n. o.
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    811 01 Bratislava
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