Hommage à Markus Prachensky
“Homage to Prachensky”, the exhibition of Slovak artists, was staged on the rare occasion of the presentation of Marcus Prachensky’s paintings at the Danubiana. His work inspired a number of well-known Slovak artists to pay homage to one of the leading figures of post-war Austrian art. Several artists created their works as an expression of respect for Markus Prachensky: Miroslav Cipár, Dávid Čársky, Viktor Frešo, Ján Hlavatý, Ján Kelemen, Dan Meluzin, Marek Ormandík, Peter Pollág, Vladimír Popovič and Martin Varholík. The response to the work of another artist is expressed in the famous modernist quote: “Art is always a response to art”. Finally, an example of such a response is the work of Markus Prachensky: Omaggio a Paolo Uccello and the cycle California Revisited (Homage to Jan van Eyck).
What attracted Slovak artists to Markus Prachensky’s work? Was it his close relationship to the countries, nature and places where he travelled and perceived as inspiring or was it the way of suppressing certain elements of form (space, composition) while emphasising the others (colour, gesture, trace, blot), or was it the proverbial red colour which became his “colour of life”?
In the same way as Markus Prachensky’s paintings do not depict the places and countries where he travelled (Egypt, Sardinia, Tuscany, California, Bali, and more), Slovak artists do not pursue the representational level. They rather respond to his art on the level of thought and emotion. Most of them have a common denominator with Prachensky’s work, reflected in the visual form of Abstract Expressionism, naturally influenced by newer streams. They are concerned with the expressive gesture, sometimes referring to calligraphy, to a vivid colour scheme, to an unrestrained rhythm of composition and an overall character of Action painting. In the works of several artists this form is connected with figures or other processes (collage, crumpling, structures, fine sand, layered colours), which enhance the emotional effect of his works.
The transformation of ideas in homages as seen in Prachensky’s cycles (Uccello, Van Eyck), and other series, can then be perceived as a model for artists’ response to his work. However, everyone retains their vision of the world, their painting style and basic ideas. A good example is Marek Ormandík’s Golgotha, Miroslav Cipár’s calligraphic paintings, Vladimír Popovič’s “borrowed” Prachensky, Dan Meluzin’s Pop art transpositions or Peter Pollág’s double response to Uccello. Their “homages” seek the answer to the inspiration drawn from Markus Prachensky, using a variety of artistic tools.