Slovak New Wave – 1980s

Jano Pavlík, Rudo Prekop, Vasil Stanko, Tono Stano, Martin Štrba, Miro Švolík, Kamil Varga, Peter Župník – the generation of Slovak students born around 1960 who studied at FAMU and made their mark on Czechoslovakia’s photography scene in the mid-1980s is known as the “Slovak New Wave.” Although – or perhaps because – they were not an organized group with a consciously defined program, their relatively uniform visual vocabulary represents one of the first expressions of photographic postmodernism in Czechoslovakia. These works are characterized not only by a consistent staging of reality, the use of the language of metaphor and the imagination, the narrative character of images,
multimedia interventions, and the reassessment of genre, but also by a latent melancholy, visual unease, and a sense of urgency – sometimes hidden behind a carefree and playful attitude.This exhibition and publication, organized by one Czech and one Slovak curator, looks back at this phenomenon thirty years later. Among other things, it aims to identify the origins of this group, brought together not only by age but to a certain extent also by shared values, and to define their distinctive contribution to Czechoslovak art. Although most of the exhibited artists are still working today, the exhibition focuses on their early creations from the 1980s, with a focus on works that, at the time, were never exhibited or were exhibited only marginally.