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Gabriel Kosmály /SK/ – Four Rooms

9.1. – 3.3.2019

The title of the exhibition is based on the author’s original concept, revolving around the gallery’s four
rooms. The magic of the number four is alluring, as it bears many connotations and symbolic references such
as the four seasons, the four cardinal directions, the four ages of Man; it is even considered a number of
universal order, but we also find it in many literary, filmic and dramatic works.
In thinking about Gabriel’s photographs, I base myself on his recent exhibition CODING THE GOOD,
which was held this October at the Synagogue in Levice and which offered an overview of his work from
1972–2018 while simultaneously commemorating the artist’s 60th birthday. To me, Gabriel Kosmály is
a multi-layered artist. I personally see him as an artist whose professional life is deeply connected with his
life as a human being. His openness and faith in the good in each of us is encoded in every single of his
works. He explores the boundary of graphic art, collage, assemblage, digital montage and photography,
whereby he is interested not only in the visual aspect of the work but also the medium and its materiality. He
is at once poetic and destructive. As though he were unsure whether to admire the world that surrounds us
or analyse and decompose it. This is ever-lasting hesitation and quest for the meaning of being, for the
beginning and the end, for a justification of our everyday actions. Creating layers thereby, he sews them
together by the thread of our imagination into a complex whole. His work is rife will references, from
pictorialist layering, through inspiration by Art Nouveau and Impressionist photography, artists such as
Mucha, Drtikol, Eugene, Demachy, Steichen, Stieglitz, Michals, Warhol, Mann, Brunovský and many others.
On his path, the artists offers us stories from the unconscious, outstretched Odalisques, daguerreotypian
searches for the mirror with a memory, Art Nouveau and surrealist dreamscapes, pop-art inspirations as well
as countless homages to people and things. He is interested in delicate traces in time as well as in the woman
as an eternal muse, voluptuous and sensible. His subject matter gradually purifies and distils, turning to the
transcendental and the eternal cycle. He becomes a seer of the apocalypse, searching for a sort of order in the
chaos of the world that is our own. He doubts and seeks substance, he intervenes in the photographic
medium liberally and it becomes his aid, means and master, all at the same time. On the one hand – an
Impressionist in his work with light; on the other – a sharp, avant-garde and uncompromising critic of the
everyday. This inner ambivalence, however, is not contradictory, in fact the opposite is the case. The pious,
iconic and narrative references to contemporary monuments, to the idols of today, all this is forged and
reforged into the artist’s personal stories. This apparent anachronism, this difference paradoxically makes for
his complexity. The artist becomes increasingly pensive, reflecting in silence, but especially on silence, he is
interested in substance rather than morphology, imprinting his modern-day trials in our conscience and
deeds, he too withdraws into himself, scrutinises his own limits, takes measure of possible forgiveness and
comes to terms with finitude.
Let us return to the number four. The number has many interesting characteristics, it expresses worldly
order, balance in life, justice and stability, lends things structure and firmness. This division of the exhibition
space allows us to wander through the innermost chambers of Gabriel’s private life and mind. The first room
is the ROOM OF SILENCE, in which we metaphorically tiptoe between photographic emulsion and canvas,
freely discover the avant-garde heritage of the Bauhaus and taste forgiveness in intimate triptychs. The
second room is the CHAPEL, a parallel to the ever-present Biblical thematic, which has been the author’s
own throughout his whole life, and I dare say the most complex, as if it were precisely here that his sense for
the semantics and semiotics of image finds most salient expression. The third room is the DEPOSITARY, or
a virtual space of sorts for preserving memories and images in the form of fossils, which gives one the
impression of a laconic excerpt from a film of the author’s life. The fourth is the GIRLS’ ROOM, exploring
the female – adult – and girl’s – adolescent – body and nude, which is simultaneously a reminiscence on the
transience of matter and the notion of beauty in the corpuses and intersections of structures. The four rooms
thus encircle four great themes and four mysteries of the artist’s experience, offered by human being.
Petra Cepková