Martin Moflár: Soft Lines

Opening: 25. 7. 2023 at 6PM Exhibition duration: 26. 7. 2023 – 12. 11. 2023
Curator: Miroslav Kleban
Exhibition space Q, Hlavná 27, Košice

The first solo exhibition of Martin Moflár (1975) at the East Slovak Gallery presents to the public a selection of works from approximately the last ten years. The exhibition also includes the latest paintings on canvas, which are exhibited for the first time and which come from the Soft Lines series (this title also became the collective name of the exhibition project). Martin Moflár graduated from the Studio of Experimental Graphic Art at the Faculty of Arts in Košice and is representative of the middle generation of the Košice circle, which established itself on the art scene in the early 2000s. 

The choice of the space for Moflár’s large-scale canvases is not accidental. The juxtaposition of detail, surface, shape, line and colour is in direct relation to scale as a significant quantity of perception and feeling. The exhibition spaces in the basement of the gallery complete the overall atmosphere and architecture at the same time. In this way, the symbiosis of space and artworks creates the conditions for a spiritual experience, a kind of inner spiritual cleansing in dialogue with the monumental paintings. This is also one of the main ideas of the artist – to offer within the visually over-exposed contemporary culture a purifying effect limited to the elementary forms of visual communication through lyrical-abstract paintings of a large format. Moflár approaches painting using a morphological exploration of the canvas and a constructive solution to the problem of abstract painting. The latest series in particular uses atypical formats made of dried wood. The process of stretching the canvas and the preparation of the painting’s base is carried out using traditional technology, on which monumental structures stand out. In contrast to older paintings, the more recent artworks are an attempt to achieve the effect of illusionistic space. Martin Moflár’s painting programme is based on Color Field Painting, a New York style of abstract painting from the 1940s. This movement emphasised the freeing of colour from its objective context, making it a subject in itself.

Geometric language in painting is characteristic of the Košice circle, but it always involves a peculiar artistic approach of an objectless form. Moflár uses the expressive means of minimalism, searches for archetypal shape, and works with the physical confinement of the format. The colour fields and minimalist shapes create a certain lyricism, but at the same time confront us with the (in)finitude of narration and the scope of perception, i.e. seeing “beyond the surface of the format”. This is to some extent contemplative and it creates a new type of sacred iconography for the 21st century. Moflár’s monumentality at the same time evokes poetry and expressiveness, which is a feature that can also be found in the masters of abstract expressionism after 1945 such as the New York-based artist and theorist Barnett Newmann, and the California-based representative of post-war abstraction Clyfford Still. These analogies are not merely formal, but are the result of a certain perceptive and elaborate synthesis of Martin Moflar’s artistic programme, whose artistic language fills the gap of lyrical abstraction in the local context and becomes the central figure. Martin Moflár studied at the Faculty of Arts in the Studio of Graphic and Experimental Art, where he later also worked as a teacher.

The project was supported using public funding in the form of a grant from the Slovak Arts Council

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