The Copper Hammer Mill in Banská Bystrica, which was built as a part of the Thurzo-Fugger Copperworks of Banská Bystrica, has been a carrier of scientific and technical development of the entire region for centuries. It ceased its almost 500-year activity in the 1990s and was left abandoned, probably with many environmental burdens. Gradually, it is decaying on the periphery of the city as a repulsive or displaced image – the flip side of social progress and complicated transformation. Its historical and cultural significance is slowly unravelling in the indefinite vagueness of the terrain (terrain vague – Ignasi de Solà-Morales Rubió) and the unclear functions of the ruined buildings, whose original contours and monumental memory can now only be deciphered by a handful of experts.
The people and the period atmosphere in the hammer mill are brought closer to us by Dominik Skutecký’s works. The artist’s painting series of coppersmiths from the Copper Hammer Mill is extraordinary in its programmatic theme, capturing in detail the realities as well as the form and organisation of work in this environment at the beginning of the 20th century. The exhibition Essay on the Copper Hammer Mill is a contemporary artistic reflection on this specific place. It attempts to interpret Dominik Skutecký’s painting series of coppersmiths from the Copper Hammer Mill in the context of a significant monument – a historic industrial complex – and to juxtapose his work with contemporary photographs by Ján Kekeli. Ján Kekeli recorded them in a classical analogue way on black and white large-format plan film after more than 100 years in the same places that inspired the famous painter. By collage-essayistically arranging the museum material and the artwork of both artists, the exhibition Essay on the Copper Hammer Mill offers the viewer the possibility of discursive reflection on contemporary economic, social and value systems, our vulnerability and precarious positions within them.
The exhibition also includes a digitised model of the Copper Hammer Mill with animations, created by Róbert Tame and Paľo Šimko based on a rare original made in 1926 in the Technical Museum in Prague. The original model is part of the collection of the Slovak Mining Museum in Banská Štiavnica and is exhibited in the Copper Museum in Španja Dolina.
We would like to thank the Slovak Mining Museum, the Copper Museum in Španja Dolina, the Slovak National Gallery for their cooperation in the preparation of the exhibition. The exhibition and accompanying activities were supported from public funds by the Slovak Arts Council. The exhibition was financially supported by the Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region.
Zuzana L. Majlingová
Exhibiting authors: Dominik Skutecký, Ján Kekeli
Curator: Zuzana L. Majlingová
Architectural and graphic design: Peter Liška
Digitalization of the model of the Copper Hammer Mill and animation: Mgr. art. Róbert Tame, Ing. arch. Paľo Šimko
Expert consultations: Ing. arch. Vladimír Husák, CSc., MUDr. Andrej Sitár
Technical realization: Peter Liška, Alžbeta Lišková, Jozef Tyrol, exhibition department of the Central Slovak Gallery
Venue: Central Slovak Gallery, Villa of Dominik Skutecký, Horná 55, Banská Bystrica
Duration of the exhibition: February 26, 2022 – February 28, 2023
We warmly invite you!