Jozef Jankovič (SK)

1937 Bratislava, Slovakia

Opening a window on the world and the penetration of abstraction into Slovak art in the early 1960s is inseparably associated with Jozef Jankovič. He became the leader of Confrontations, an avant-garde movement advocating abstract tendencies in art, Art Informel in particular. After this initial creative stage, figurative attributes became the main focus of his work, combined with found object in the spirit of Pop art assemblage, and blended with inspirations drawn from New Realism. In his spatial objects and compositions he created a specific figurative imagery which became the prototype of his work. His visual symbolism – enlarged and distorted human limbs – seems to be devoid of human content. This imagery further metamorphoses as the principal element of the changing visual idiom. His work was perceived as criticism and he subsequently lost the favour of the political regime because of his civil attitudes. Consequently, he was excluded from public exhibitions during the period of Normalisation. At that time he produced small-scale works on paper, developing conceptual projects and making jewellery. After a temporary isolation, his sculptural work developed into a monumental programme. Retaining his basic figurative attributes, he inventively exploited new forms of the visual language and the power of his artistic statement. Every sculptural composition is a warning against all kinds of usurpers striving to control people and the world. It is symbolically demonstrated by his famous Walking Monument – Room at the Top (1987) sited in the Olympic Park in Seoul, and other monuments.