Jan Zelinka (born 1978, Vranov nad Toplou, Slovakia) is a graduate of the Faculty of Arts,Technical University of Kosice, atelier of Creativity supervised by prof. J. Bartusz. During all his studies he focused almost exclusively on a classical sculpture. Classical in a sense of its traditional formal composition, but mostly in confrontation with the situation in contemporary art, when since the beginning of the 90’s era and to the prejudice of a sculpture, objection installation exhibitions has started to arise. In a short time period the object in 3D domain started to completely dominate and it seemed as if the sculpture only remained in the repertoire of the mainstream. Already in his beginnings, and thanks to the endeavor of non-orthodox pedagogical methods of his professor, he had the possibility to articulate his original sculpture language without wasting any time to overcome the conservative understanding of a fi gural plastic. In his fi rst year of study he had presented himself with quite a mature art expression. He jumped over the working phase of searching the adequate form of his visual works, he was not satisfi ed with a partial solving of the art problem, but as years went by he presented outstanding realizations. Their formal side is characterized by unusual usage of material, for instance, some peat, ash or concrete. Already one of his school plastics called DOLLY was realized in material of stiffened peat. This work of art drawing on Christian iconographic motif of Piety foreshadowed also ideological solutions of the whole existing Zelinka’s works of art. Questions in them resonate, referring to the status of a human being within the natural hierarchy and in relation to other beings, but also in relation to one’s own life and death. DOLLY directly touches human ambition of interfering into laws of nature, the birth of life thus disturbing the natural Status Quo. On the other hand the work of art called MY SIBLINGS /TRIPLETS/ - ANTON, ROBERT, PETER * March 11, 1975, + March 11, 1975 is a personal confession, again dealing with questions of existence, materialized memory of the author’s siblings, who actually were and unfortunately did not exist in front of him. By his work technique he connects onto an ideological conception of his work of art. A memory which is impossible to fi nd in the visual archive of one’s own brain, Zelinka materializes exclusively by the sense of touch.
Applying this technique, when the author scoops out the negative of the plastic directly into the clay without any continuous check by his sight, he creates his last school works – monumental plastics called CHIMER. Here again the author deals with beings, with whom we are unable to have a real experience, those who we cannotverify in our sight memory; however the unclear mythical picture is available. By doing so, Zelinka passes the risk of surprise of the fi nal realization of the work- especially with colossal works- hence resigning from his subconscious aestheticism. Another signifi cant work of his art is the plastic from the “I AM LOOKING FOR THE SUBSTANCE cycle. The clay plastic of a cow- more likely a picture of an ephemeral being, losing its nature corporality, as if it was fl oating in the space. Zelinka’s procedure whilst creating a work of art is again very signifi cant. Creative process from a reversed sewing of an animal skin, through pouring of a liquid clay into a sewed up package and fi nally the fi nal look of the sculpture, where white clay dominates-this is the effort to catch the very own being of an animal, get over it and give her a new form based on a material relationship of a poured material and an animal skin. He progresses in the same manner with all the other animals from the cycle. One of the last author’s works called POST-MORTEM CONSCIOUSNESS belongs to his expressive repertoire. With the scene of horror and drastic moment of death, petrifi ed in lead, the author is inspired by questions referring to short moments of a brain consciousness removed from the body. A bit smaller, but an autonomic part of his up to now creation, is made up of paintings which enable the audience to see an intimate form of a visual language of the author. Even in this media, Zelinka masterfully presents handling of technical problems and focuses on the catching the plasticity of a model. Less traditional are his paintings made of rust, smoke or cabbage, where on the other hand Zelinka’s focus is to catch the silhouette of a model and thus open a space for the spectator’s imagination. Jan Zelinka is not only attention-grabbing because of his natural talent for art, but also for his ability to masterfully express himself through the traditional media, in original and mainly contemporary language of art.
Mgr. Peter Tajkov, PhD.