Soft Substance

Curatorial statement

Almost to the day exactly, a year ago, Sara Zahorjanová, at Galeria 19, presented a set of eight watercolours at one of the exhibitions from the series “… on paper”. At that time, she selected a series of washed-out monochrome paintings on handmade paper for the exhibition. She showed faces and torsos of figures shrouded in mystery, painted sparingly, in a neutral grey colour. She depicted them only in hints, with minimal modelling of details, as symbols of alienation and loneliness. On paper, she composed gently emerging abstracted outlines of the human body in an empty, abandoned space. At that time, her collection seemed to anticipate the dark times we ended up in through no fault of our own, and which even now surrounds us invasively from all sides. Fragile, quiet watercolours with a hidden, almost visionary message. Her symbolic visions eventually became reality, gallery visitors recall the impressions they had when looking at her exhibited works.

After a year, Sara Zahorjanová returned to Galeria 19 with the first solo presentation of her latest work. She came up with a selection of works that are the exact opposite of her delicate watercolours last year. It exhibits thoughtfully composed large-scale expressive paintings with a rich shape and structure. From the first look at her canvases, we are aware of the predominantly confrontational, but at the same time mutually attractive clashes of two parallel worlds. A world of soft spontaneous painting, expressive relaxation, and in it, or on it, or next to it, a world of freely moving, precisely shaped sharp geometric response. As if they could not exist without each other. Pictorial clashes of passionate poetic expression and cold prosaic calculation. Free playful improvisation, thematic variations and their mutual opposition are among the clear hallmarks of her work so far.

At Galeria 19, Sara Zahorjanová exhibited everything she set out to present. Dreamlike pulsating landscapes, the poetry of open space, dark winter nights and freezing summer days, sharp cuts of random encounters on a white background, regular seasonal undulations, controlled free-fall landings, velvet caresses of the painting’s skin, entrances of a ground object into its arms, regular seasonal withdrawal of the soft sun , the smoke from the fire engulfing the sunrise some seventeen million kilometers away, the ultramarine bloom of the retrospect before the fall, the variations of its impact on the still waters that wash the shores, the return home covered in a fusion crust after the fall…, the orange flower growing in space under the current… , a pedestal of soft matter…

Her attractive paintings, large-scale paintings, small assemblages, transfers, collages, watercolours hang on the walls of the gallery. The author exhibited the entire collection under the title Soft Substance. A classicist and connoisseur of Slovak art and literature would perhaps call her exposition poetics of expressive trembling. For us, Sara Zahorjanová’s first solo exhibition at Galeria 19 sounds like praise for high-quality creativity.

Marián Meško, 2022

photo: Peter Piovarcsy