Milan Bočkay

Milan Bočkay

Born June 17 1946, Krušovce u Topoľčan
Lived in Stupava

Milan Bočkay, a Slovak artist whose work, based on a complex mapping of the issue of painterly illusion, draws on the technique of trompe l’oeil (French for “optical illusion”). Katarína Bajcurová describes his exploration of fact and fiction as “... a multi-layered obfuscation of spatial plans, basic creative means of expression ...”. [Katarína Bajcurová in: Moderné slovenské umenie / Modern Slovak Art. Bratislava: Interpond 1997]. Bočkay belongs to a group of artists who, starting in the late 1970s, developed a new visual form of the concept. Member of the Avance-Retard (A-R) artists’ group.
(Gina Renotiére)

conceptual art, painting, drawing


Studies at the Secondary School of the Arts in Bratislava, where he is influenced primarily by Professor Rudolf Fila. Bočkay’s first paintings have a surreal mood remotely reminiscent of Yves Tanguy. (Mrtví vtáci [Dead Birds] 1964, Magické znamenia [Magical Signs] 1963, Snová krajina [Dream Landscape] 1964).


Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design under Professor Dezider Milly and Professor Peter Matejka. Along with his compulsory study tasks, he continues to develop lyrical and imaginative compositions. (Mesačné kvety [Moon Flowers], 1965


Bočkay’s specific subjects connected with later work with painterly illusion emerge. The depicted mundane motif becomes independent and increases in size severalfold (Igelitové vrecko [Plastic Bag], 1973


The issue Milan Bočkay has been approaching from various angles and perspectives essentially up to the present day becomes established in his work. The subject is paper with its conceptual facet. On a flat rectangular sheet of paper, the artist records its wide range of forms, creating the most radical version of “Paper on Paper”, from subtle modifications to citations of reproductions or quotations of text (Mezi klamem a zdáním [Between Illusion and Appearance], 1982 – which can be regarded as a small manifesto of his pursuits). He is devoted to this issue for at least 10 years. An exhibition of seven artists is held at the Institute of Technical Cybernetics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava (Milan Bočkay, Klára Bočkayová, Daniel Fischer, Otis Laubert, Marian Meško, Igor Minárik, Dezider Tóth), and later they form the foundation of the A-R Group (Avance-Retard). In the 1980s, he simultaneously creates paintings on canvas, seemingly undulating as the result of visual illusion


Milan Bočkay (solo exhibition, Prague)


Several options
Several options (painting)


Paper LXII.
Paper LXII. (drawing)

Guests of the Gallery H (group exhibition, )


Kresby – maľby (solo exhibition, Bratislava)
New Slovak Painting (group exhibition, Bratislava)
Pět let Galerie H (group exhibition, )
...Igorovi Kalnému (group exhibition, Bratislava)


Mezi klamem a zdáním (solo exhibition, Brno)


In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bočkay creates many paintings, often based on the illusion of collage and expressive painting. In the early 1990s, real non-illusory paintings appear at the same time as his illusory works. This is a new conceptual foundation – an actual coloured relief spot and its appearance. (Dvakrát maľba [Double Painting], 1991


Členská výstava sdružení Q (group exhibition, )


Kresby – maľby (solo exhibition, Sovinec)
Maľby – kresby, alebo to čo uvidíte nebude to čo uvidíte (solo exhibition, Žilina)
Czech and Slovak Drawing 1989 - 1992 (group exhibition, Žilina)


Kresby (solo exhibition, Nové Zámky)
Maľby – kresby, alebo to čo uvidíte nebude to čo uvidíte (solo exhibition, Bratislava)


Takmer akvarely (solo exhibition, Bratislava)


Naruby – maľby, kresby (solo exhibition, Trnava)


Naruby – maľby, kresby (solo exhibition, Košice)
Naruby – maľby, kresby (solo exhibition, Banská Bystrica )
Záznamy, dojmy, sny (group exhibition, Křížovice)


Kresby (solo exhibition, Opava)
Maľby – kresby (solo exhibition, Bratislava)


Blato, striebro, zlato (solo exhibition, Bratislava)
Kresby ako akvarel (solo exhibition, Bratislava)


Iba papier (solo exhibition, Dunajská Streda )


Podobné a rozdielne (solo exhibition, Plzeň)
Podobné a rozdílné (solo exhibition, Plzeň)
A-R csoport (group exhibition, Budapest)


Vrcholné diela svetového maliarstva (solo exhibition, Bratislava)


Vizuálne kalambúry a paradoxy (solo exhibition, Martin)
Contemporary Slovak Fine Art from Collection 1st Slovak Investment Group (group exhibition, Košice)
Těšba 70/80 (group exhibition, Frýdek-Místek)


Wspólczesna sztuka slowacka 1960-2000 (group exhibition, Kraków)


The Second Touch (group exhibition, Brno)


Milan Bočkay a Klára Bočkayová (solo exhibition, Ostrava)
Kalendáře pro Jindru Štreita (group exhibition, )


Delfín v lese alebo chvála paradoxu (solo exhibition, Bratislava)
Príbeh skupiny A-R (group exhibition, Nitra)


On the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the birth of René Magritte, Bočkay creates a series entitled Ceci est – ceci n´est pas – That Is, That’s Not, which the artist shows in the Black Background and Invisible Bottom Layer exhibition at the City Gallery in Bratislava. The collection of nearly 50 ellipses shows a register of painting and drawing paradoxes: painting is drawn, drawing is painted, relief, coloured paste is contrasted with smooth illusive painting, fictional texts are scraped into the background.


Toto nie je – Toto je (solo exhibition, Bratislava)
Očami (ne)viditeľné, Reflexia kresťanstva v súčasnom umení (solo exhibition, Bratislava)


Čierne pozadie a neviditeľné spodné vrstvy (solo exhibition, Bratislava)
Obrazy z minulého tisícročia (solo exhibition, Bratislava)
East of Eden - Photorealism: Versions of Reality (group exhibition, Budapest)


2012 – Participation in the East of Eden exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, which mapped trends in hyper-realistic painting and emphasised the contribution of Eastern European art to world art. Bočkay found himself among stars such as Chuck Close, Richard Estes, Konrad Klapheck ...



Vy troubo! for Jiri Kolar (group exhibition, Opava)


Obraz na plátně - plátno na obraze (solo exhibition, Pardubice)
Částečná restrospektiva (solo exhibition, Brno)


In 2016, the Čin Čin Gallery in Bratislava exhibits a series of paintings devoted to the memory of Rudolf Fila under the title: Fila Draws Paštéka. The paintings’ basic theme is a cycle of enlarged imitations of Rudolf Fila's small sketches, which, with quick gesture drawing, record the visual compositions of selected Czechoslovak and world artists. The sketch enlargements are composed with fictional subjectivity on the illusively undulating canvases, creating half playful, half serious visual annotation to Fila’s commentary – the transcription of a transcript.


Ľahko-vážne obrazy (solo exhibition, Bratislava)


At the exhibition The Hand of the Master and Other Paintings at the Ernest Zmeták Art Gallery in Nové Zámky – Bočkay presents paintings which, apart from exploring the possibilities of painting: “through smooth, bent, dry water, I constantly explore the connection between the lowest and the highest. That which has no value and that which has the highest value”. And that’s not all. Elements of the Eastern and Western art traditions, illusive depiction and symbolic expression are combined at an exhibition at the emblematic “Haiku”, 2011. The obliging character of Malevich's faded square is a distant response to the iconoclastic era of avant-garde and a quote – a reference to the illusive and autonomous nature of art. The silent battle of abstraction and depiction. Reality – illusion, truth – deception, truth of reality – truth of the medium of painting or drawing, realistic – magical, representation – presentation. Mimesis – self-reference of form, illusion of painting presented by the technique of drawing or vice versa, original motive-attributed motif, etc. These are terms that characterise Milan Bočkay's work to date.
Ruka majstra a iné obrazy (solo exhibition, Bratislava)
Hommage à Peter Vajda (group exhibition, Prague)

Muzeum umění Olomouc 2011-2021