Zoya Museum in Modra, Slovacchia

The Zoya Museum, founded in October 2009, represents a cultural gem located in the heart of the picturesque wine region at the foot of the majestic Carpathian Mountains, near the enchanting Bratislava.

Vista esterna del Zoya Museum in Modra Slovakia (Progetto di Cakov and Partners Architects). Ph courtesy of Zoya Museum and Steinhauser gallery

This museum is an essential component of the Elesko Wine Park, an innovative landscape culture project that has been celebrated for its cutting-edge architectural design, earning it the prestigious Building of the Year award in 2010. The symbiosis between wine and art in this idyllic setting creates a unique and engaging experience for all visitors. One of the most surprising facets of the Zoya Museum is its deep commitment to art. It houses a notable private art collection and organizes a challenging program of exhibitions. The museum’s focus is mainly on Slovak art from the second half of the 20th century, delving into the rich fabric of national artistic expression. At the same time, it maintains an open and inclusive approach by welcoming contemporary and modern art from international artists, thus broadening its horizons beyond the borders of Slovakia.

View of the exhibition “…And Quietly The Night Arrives”, on display at the Zoya Museum until 31 Dec 2023. Ph @_isonative, courtesy Zoya Museum and Steinhauser gallery

This artistic fusion shows the museum’s commitment to cultivating and presenting the diverse and ever-evolving panorama of contemporary art. The Zoya Museum has now started a collaboration with the Steinhauser gallery to further implement a window on the global art scene. The exhibition “…And Quietly The Night Arrives” (“…And silently the night arrives”) hosted until December 31st in the beautiful rooms of the Zoya Museum, is an example of this collaboration. Curated by Kristína Zaťko Jarošová and Patrik Steinhauser, this fascinating exhibition presents works by twelve international artists who immerse themselves in the enigmatic realm of the night, with escapes into the mythical and the prosaic.

Nikola Marković, “Expulsion (of the Money changers from the Temple)”, 190 x 205 cm, photocopy print on paper glued on cotton canvas acrylic mat varnish / pigment. Ph courtesy of Zoya Museum and Steinhauser gallery

The night becomes a metaphor, so that the impossibility of seeing coincides with the possibility of imagining, challenging visual perception to open up to alternative ways of thinking and understanding, almost in a process of introspection or psychic investigation. The artists, gathered within this exhibition with their imagination loose and the boundaries of reality blurred, working on the breach and on the margins, in the abysses and in the flow of images, immerse themselves in the depths of thoughts, dreams, the unconscious and memories. Through creative strategies such as reconceptualization, manipulation and appropriation, they challenge established truths, underlining the value of creating new contexts and identities. The exhibition explores the intricate interplay between fantasy and reality, consciousness and unconscious, past and present, authenticity and imitation. With poetic but powerful expressions, the artists illuminate the most mysterious and dark corners of the human soul, touching on themes such as power structures, social inequality, history and nature.

Sergiu Toma, “The Countryard of my Mind”, 200 x 300 cm, oil on canvas. Ph courtesy of Zoya Museum and Steinhauser gallery

The figures present in these pictorial scenes exist in a continuous strange space, seemingly outside the constraints of linear time. They wander without clear plots, reflecting the contradictory moods of society and arousing feelings of strangeness, vulnerability and melancholy. Artists skillfully connect deeply personal experiences to the broader social forces at play in life, sparking curiosity, igniting the imagination and promoting critical thinking. Their work challenges viewers to step outside the familiar side of things, encouraging contemplation of the unknown. In this exhibition, the symbolism of the night allows us to escape the confines of the everyday to explore its deepest creative potential. It reveals hidden aspects of existence that emerge in the darkness and challenges us to look beyond the easily visible surface. In this intensity and immediacy an empty space is created, in which known reality collapses, giving rise to new possibilities. The theme of the night makes us think of Piero della Francesca and his “Constantine’s Dream” (Basilica of San Francesco, Arezzo), of the Viterbo Pietà by Sebastiano del Piombo and, then, gradually, of Georges de La Tour, Füssli, Salvo, Damioli. However, other formal details, particularly in Wolfe von Lenkiewicz’s work, make us think of the prescient poetics by John Currin and Sean Landers.

View of the exhibition “…And Quietly The Night Arrives”, on display at the Zoya Museum until 31 December 2023. In the first work on the left you can recognise, “In Jaws of Life”, by Mihael Milunovic. Ph @_isonative, courtesy Zoya Museum and Steinhauser gallery

In any case, despite the limits of a too narrow path, this exhibition has the merit not only of inviting visitors to confront the enigmatic and to embrace the often overlooked aspects of existence, pushing us to explore the depths of the imagination and the complexities of human experience, but also to present us with a group of authors who in the great world art system are mostly still little known. Here are their names: Metin Çelik (D/TR), Andreana Dobreva (UK/ BG), Erol Eskici (D/TR), Marek Kvetan (SVK), Wolfe von Lenkiewicz (UK), Nikola Marković (SRB), Mihael Milunović (F/SRB), Jina Park (D/S-KOR), Léopold Rabus (SUI), Richard Stipl (CZ), Sergiu Toma (RO), Marko Velk (F).

Fabio Fabris


AA.VV:, And Quietly The Night Arrives
1/10/2023 – 31/12/2023
Zoya Museum
Partizánska 2275,
900 01 Modra-Kráľová, Slovacchia
Hours: Wed – Sat: 11.30am – 10.00pm; Sun 11.30am – 6.30pm


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