The Slovak capital is off many people’s radar, but it shouldn’t be. Bratislava offers a compact historic center, towering hilltop castle and lovely walks along the Danube. Nearly everyone with an artistic bent will find something new to discover, as Bratislava’s cultural life is active and varied with activities ranging from opera to ballet to the visual arts. For a wide-ranging overview of Slovak art, a visit to the Slovak National Gallery is recommendable, but here we take on some newer galleries and discover the city through its artists.
T-Gallery is devoted to drawing and printmaking. The gallery was born when one of the founders was unable to find a place to exhibit some art, which she had brought back from a Mexican printmaking gallery during her travels. The answer to the problem was to open up a gallery. A visit might see you discovering young artists from Slovakia, Finland, Mexico or the US. In addition to a space for project animation and small light projects, T-Gallery also houses a design shop and cozy café. Recent exhibitions have included Daniela Krajčová’s drawings, collages and texts, as well as a fascinating example of joint drawing: artists Eveliina Hämäläinen and Kristína Hečková occasionally swap drawings or draw simultaneously on the same piece of paper.
While the Museum of Clocks is a specialist museum, the craftsmanship and beauty of its collection are something everyone can admire. The Museum of Clocks is located in beautiful rococo-style building on one of the winding streets under the castle. The house itself is a surviving example of Central European architecture from the 18th century, but the timepieces inside date back even further. The antique clocks on display demonstrate the history of clock making from the 17th century, and include such fascinating examples, like mobile sundials from the 17th and 18th century, wall clocks, alarm clock and watches.
Galéria Nova highlights the special affinity Slovak artists have with glass. The oldest private gallery in Bratislava, Nova focuses on the promotion of current glass artists, with an emphasis on showcasing the latest creative trends. Located right by Michalská gate, the gallery possesses a unique, light-filled beauty where sunlight travels across the elegant glass and illuminates the gallery space. You may see something like Linda Viková’s whimsical love of pop art and porcelain or Petr Stanický, one of the major artists on the Czech glass and sculpture scene, and his consideration of the possibilities of spatial thinking.
ÚĽUV is the perfect place to discover local craftsmanship. This is the spot where the Center for Folk Art Production arranges exhibitions of Slovak craft artists. Dedicated to promoting such folk art, the gallery gives an interesting and historical glimpse into Slovak art and craft tradition, as well as production and contemporary trends. Glass, ceramics, handmade lace, wire architecture, ceramics and woodcarving are just a few of the crafts you may find on display.
The Milan Dobeš Museum has a permanent exhibition of its namesake’s work, but also hosts temporary exhibitions of artists working in the same vein. Dobeš is one of Slovakia’s best-known optic and kinetic artists; he focuses on visual and luminous kinetic objects, which are a nod to dynamic constructivism. That theme is highlighted in the museum’s other exhibitions, which focus on constructivist and neo-constructivist inclinations in the visual arts. The museum’s interior seamlessly absorbs whatever is on display – be it pulsating balls of light or experimental painting.
Satelit is the gallery space for the Slovak Design Center. Their goal is to keep Slovak design in the minds of the public as well as promote new artists, themes and topics running through the design community. Their exhibitions are wide ranging, from professional work to student exhibitions to artists from abroad and research projects. Satelit is home to unusual, fun objects, such as Michala Staška and Michael Bednárovej’s fun and squishy furniture for kids, custom designed footwear or designs especially for seniors.
The best in Slovak graphic arts is on display at Ardan. Artwork runs the gamut from painting to drawings, graphic, applied arts and plastic art with exhibitions showing some of the best in class on the Slovak scene, as well as emerging trends and potential future discoveries. Most of their exhibitions are group shows, giving visitors the opportunity to compare and contrast different Slovak artists working in the same genre or displaying works based around a single theme such as literary inspiration.