MARTIN AUGUSTÍN & KAMIL PETERAJ: WORDS IN PICTURES – PICTURES IN WORDS
Martin Augustín’s collection of paintings and drawings at the Danubiana is a continuation of his artistic story with the words of the excellent Slovak poet and lyricist Kamil Peteraj. Their cooperation began many years ago upon the publication of a book of Peteraj’s poems entitled Toto je moja reč by the IKAR publishing house. Martin Augustín contributed the illustrations and graphic design for the book for which he was awarded the 2009 Ministry of Culture prize for the most beautiful Slovak book. In 2012, Obrazy, texty, sentencie, a unique book by this tandem came into existence and in 2013 Bosá v priesvitných šatách, their joint book of poems was published. But let’s get back to this exhibition entitled WORDS IN PICTURES – PICTURES IN WORDS. They came in two faces – when an artist becomes inspired by the text of a poet and when a poet is amazed by the images of an artist and become for him a muse. The results are Martin’s pictures in which the verses of Kamil Peteraj are elegantly inscribed. Martin himself declared that they are joint pictures because the artist and the poet are on the same footing.
If I had to characterize Martin’s poetic work in a word, I would call it harmony. The balance between the physical and the spiritual, the color and the line, the expressed and the intimated, the words and the pictures. It is an attractive gallery of nearly Renaissance women’s portraits that emerge from below the veil of the lines like a lovely collection of paintings in a secret garden of the Fontainebleau. It is something mystical yet intimately close. We’ve seen these women before, but we can’t remember where. At times they’re close and at other times they’re distant. Martin presents their actual face because he is a true hunter of dreams. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Prospero utters this unforgettable sentence: “we are such stuff as dreams are made on” and Martin Augustín weaves these dreams into lyrical pictures. More and more, his choice of medium is painting (acrylic) from which these materialized dreams define the shores of his thoughts in a more definite yet more descriptive form. One can feel the unbearably light nostalgia of Jan Zrzavý and the imaginative depth of color of Jozef Šima – to name at least two of the spiritual fathers of this Slovak artist. However, Martin is his own man, which is why his world is artistically authentic. He is aware of continuity and his poetic images are anchored in time. They are pictures in words and words in pictures which we know so intimately. This is because the story of Martin Augustín and Kamil Peteraj is also about us.
PhDr. Ľudovít Petránsky ml.
Martin Augustín, the painter, graphic artist, drawer and book illustrator, was born in 1968. In 1995 he graduated from the influential Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. During his studies he participated in a study program in Lucerne and in 1995 he was internationally acknowledged for the first time when he won the special prize at the Biennale of Illustration in Tehran for his illustration of Pavel Šrut’s book, The King of Cats. In the following years his international reputation grew with his participation in collective and solo exhibitions in important art centers (Prague, Vienna, Antwerp, The Hague, Paris, Mexico City and New York). His works can be found in galleries and private collections, including those of Waris Dirie, the famous Somalian writer and human rights advocate and author of the bestseller Desert Flower, Canadian author, Joy Fielding and the General Director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme. In 2014, the IKAR publishing house presented Dan Brown, the author of Angels and Demons, with a glass sculpture created by Martin. In 2012, Martin and his brother Andrej exhibited together at the now defunct Rivers Gallery in Bratislava which also featured lithographs, collages, photographs and posters of Pablo Picasso.