The Interface of the Work

An exhibition of the PhD candidates of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava

The exhibition The Interface of the Work is a selection of several doctoral works of the PhD candidates of different departments at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava on the occasion of their thesis defense. At the same time, each work has the character of a long-term research or analysis, which—in all doctoral theses—focuses on the borderline or interface of different phenomena. 

In the project The Hybridity of the Borderline of Painting as a two-dimensional medium and its extension into the third dimension of space, Mária Machatová (the rooms no. 1 and no. 2) studies these phenomena. Naturally, the author’s starting point is the creation of an illusion as a traditional function of painting. Nevertheless, within the lesson learned during the development of painting towards abstraction and conceptualism an optical illusion (trompe l'oeil) is not the final intention. Machatová disrupts it, for example, by introducing the manifestations of the author’s expression: admitting repaintings, a seeming unfinishedness, preserving accidental damages of the surface… An illusionary subject on a two-dimensional surface overlaps with a three-dimensional canvas stretched on a frame and covered with colours.

Even though Marek Burcl (the room no. 3) also builds on painting and just like Mária Machatová studies the surface of painting—The Future of the Surface after the Disappearance (of a Dimension)—his intention as well as his outputs are different. He is primarily interested in the physical laws of radiation that enable the perception of different colours. He studies the range and possibilities of the variation of information, which gets to the percipient/viewer from the painting’s surface thanks to the change of conditions. Thanks to modern possibilities, the whole issue is also extended by a digital image. Therefore, a notional interface in this sense does not have to be only an invariable range of colours on the painting’s surface exposed to the external conditions of radiation, but also a screen, which, at the same time, is a source of radiation and thus also an interface which changes on its own. The question is, in which way this fact affects the different layers of meaning contained by an analogue or a digital image.

In the photographic project of Zuzana Pustaiová Interlude (the room no. 4), the phenomenon of an interface or a borderline can be found in its concept. The whole project is part of a bigger piece studying the distinctiveness of different attitudes towards life situations within families. The model of this project is a person who acquires his/her first experience in a confrontation with diverging opinions in his/her biological family. At the same time, this experience serves him/her as a starting point while establishing a new family tie. This intermediate period—the process of breaking away from one structure and forming conditions for the new one—is the subject of the author’s artistic exploration.

The doctoral thesis of Roman Mackovič (the room no. 6) contains the term interface in its title and it bears exactly the meaning which is most widely used today—a user interface. His interactive object in a spherical shape ORB will certainly be attractive for the visitors of this exhibition. At the same time, it should be one of the conditions of its practical implementation, for it has been designed as a means of education. Mackovič also studies the interaction between a man and a digital medium, while the sphere’s surface serves as an area for displaying the information which the user goes through by turning the sphere around, thus also acquiring a haptic experience. As the author himself states, the essence of the object is a “multisensory experience” that overcomes a common user contact via screen. The complete doctoral work contains three prototypes with different functions. We are currently exhibiting two of them.

The character of research conditioned by the purposes of a doctoral thesis brings the scientific quality into individual artistic projects. It is not a unique phenomenon in arts, but an exhibition’s concept is rarely exclusively composed of such approaches. Therefore, this exhibition can be viewed as a showcase of different scientific procedures in arts, which, however, does not provide space for drawing a joint conclusion. It rather indirectly deals with the purpose and functions of an artwork in general.

Poster for exhibition The Interface of the Work