Ars: časopis Ústavu Dejín Umenia Slovenskej Akadémie Vied — 1983

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h MopanbHMX KaaecTB, c apyroft CTopoHbi — npeume Bcero —
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rue BH3yanbHaa HueHTHHHOCTb mojkct cobmcctho onpeaejiaib
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b HacTOBnjee onpeaeaeHHoro MOMenra hctophh (3phcct 3mc-
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jihmhocth co3aaer thh (MHJiaH XoBaHeu, KJjinaH <I>nno).

Problems of Portrait in Slovák Painting of the Seventies
(Contribution to Analysis and Typology)

The image of man, or a more closely defined genre circuit of
portrait as représentation, whose basic value unit of reality is
man, i.e. man is the implicit and explicit topič of représentation,
plays a significant role as a spécifie axiologic and meaningful issue
within the context of contemporary Slovák painting. The com-
plex question of creating a socialist portrait that, by its functiona-
lity and its créative qualifies, would meet the society’s daims on
art is still open. The issues relating to it are polarized in dimen-
sions of an explicit or implicit projection of man’s form and his
individual traits into a concrète représentation, or, within the
frame of reference of modem Slovák painting after the year 1948,
we might speak of its development — using a rough and schematic
division into stages — along the line: type — antitype and
synthesis. The first stage — the stage of typization is related to
the setting up and codifying a systém of socialist art, to a thema-
tization ot its fundamental contents and their objectivization in
the picture, and is characterized by an appréhension of the
portrait primarily as a visual projection of the type of contem-
porary man, with accent placed on moral qualifies. The second
stage, which might be characterized comprehensively as an effort
towards expressing man’s state in the world, focuses on a thema-
tization of the ontological aspects of man’s image and on a pro-
jection of the inner dimensions of his psyché.
Slovák portraiture painting of the seventies shows, under the
influence of external and immanent developmental factors, an
extraordinary quantitative development which, on a broader
plan, is related to a new return to figuration and figurative
The basic theme of Slovák portraiture in the seventies is an
intégration of the individual into this world, his socialization and
this either in the plane of pictorial représentation, or in that of
interprétation, or a possible meaningful reaction with the follow-
ing significant Systems forming moments in its programme:
1. New return to représentation on the basis of empirie optics,
i.e. to an optical construction of the image,

2. Characterization of the portrayed person in the context, in the
environment, in social and private relations with stress on
circuits of social and moral importance. The portrayed person
is interpreted as a whole individuality and personality against
the background of his social existence, which is ultimately
repeatedly emphasized already in the very name of the picture.
3. Constant overlappings of the portrait as a certain more or less
codified type of painted représentation with other painting
genres, primarily an extension of certain portrait traits to an
entire domain of painting, where the authentic nature of
portraiture is supported by the authenticity of the person or
persons portrayed (Julián Filo, Eugénia Lchotská, Milan
Were we to set up a typology of Slovák portrait in the seventies,
we should find three fairly distinct circuits: first, portrait as a
représentation of man in his visual identity (Mária Medvecká,
Štefan Roskoványi, Vladimír Vestenický, Edita Ambrušová,
Elena Lazinovská), that is primarily concerned with circuits of
direct communications and with rccording of the indicated sem-
blance as an entrance element, or with psychological and moral
qualities; in the second place, it is an effort concerned mainly
with the projection of the inner form (Lea Mrázová, Jozef
Bubák, Ladislav Čarný) ; and finally, it is a symbolic portraiture,
where visual identity may codetermine the meaningful structure
of the work, albeit it is not a condition sine qua non; here does
the optic form represent an objectivization of either nonconceptual
meanings, or the actualization of some definite moment of history
(Ernest Zmeták, part of Michal Jakabcic’s works, Edita Ambru-
šová). A special case is given by portrait of représentation, which
records not ordy an individual’s visual form and a circuit of direct
communications, but simultaneously créâtes a type in a con-
centration of characteristic signs and the résultant de-individuali-
zation of the subject (Milan Chovanec, Julián Filo).
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