Vladimír Kompánek -- Paintings and sculptures

Mária Horváthová

The exhibition of Vladimír Kompánek, one of the greatest figures of post-war Slovak art, showed a survey of his oeuvre: sculptures and paintings. As a protagonist of the Mikuláš Galanda group, he took an active share in the revival of traditions of interwar Slovak Modernism in the 1950s. In his sculptures and drawings he explored the simplified archetypal form as a universal timeless symbol, combining these inspirations with the ingenious imagery and traditions of Slovak culture. Reducing the sculptural form, he achieved a pure calligraphic sign system. His sculptures became two-view high reliefs cast in bronze, later replaced by wood. He was inspired by rural motifs and the human being in symbiosis with nature. Reduced to silhouettes resembling totemic symbolic verticals, the figures are penetrated by mysterious meanings of ancient myths, Gothic churches, chapels, wayside crosses and country women. The artist has been concerned with painting since the 1970s. Exploiting his experience in drawing and sculpture, he developed his colouristic talent. These works showed the prevalence of rural motifs from the Slovak landscape. His characteristic themes, carnival masks and parades draw inspiration from the wealth of folk traditions. Kompánek’s painting resounds with a specific balladic tone of folk literature transposed into modern picture form.