Database

Daniel Fischer

Daniel Fischer

Born April 11 1950

The painter and printmaker connected with the unofficial Slovak normalisation scene skilfully combines elements of artificial art and technical image, classical painting and concept in his work. Like many of his creative peers, including members of the A-R Group, he contributes to the nature of Slovak neo-avant-garde art, which is deeply involved without obvert political escalation.
In the words of Jana Geržová, Daniel Fischer is above all an artist capable of reflection, and it is this ability that is the source of his creativity: “Dan Fischer’s work is not introspective and is not a seismograph of the current mood. Observation of the actual psychic states and psycho-social manifestations of the period is superior to the ability of self-reflection, which allows him to keep a certain distance from himself, from events that are underway, an ability that adds a noetic touch to the aesthetic quality of his paintings. It is satisfying that despite the great range of meaning in Dan Fischer's work, in which the aesthetic smoothly grows into the ethical, his paintings are not burdened with literariness and mentoring, but as true poetry they preserve and multiply the ability to create short connections.” (Jana Geržová, Daniel Fischer, KS Opatov, 1989)
(Barbora Kundračíková)


graphics, painting

1968

In 1968–1974, Fischer studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava under Professor Peter Matejka. In 1969, he attends the private lectures of philosopher and later dissident Milan Šimečka (1930–1990). Starting in the mid-1970s, he is associated with the context of so-called analytical painting and thus falls into the broader stream of modern Slovak painting represented by painter-essayist Rudolf Fila, Milan Bočkay and his wife, Klára Bočkayová, Marián Mudroch, Otis Laubert, Dezider Tóth and others. A new approach to the medium reflects its potential, the procedural aspect of the matter and the limits of the image. Since the beginning of the 1970s, Fischer is linked to close friendships and professional ties, and membership in the A-R (Avance-Retard) Group also connects the same circle of artists. These graduates trained by Rudolf Fila at the Secondary School of the Arts in Bratislava entered the art world after the strong generation of Slovak conceptualists (Július Koller, Stano Filko, Jozef Jankovič and Rudolf Sikora) and, within its context, rehabilitated the role of the eye as the guarantor in the perception of visual artistic forms. The aesthetic level and training in classical painting is a unique feature of the Slovak neo-avant-garde and emerging postmodernism. It was Fila's influence that sparked this generation's interest in the art of the early period, the symbolist position of Váchal, Bílek and Koblih, or late Czech modernity represented by Bohdan Lacina and Ladislav Novák, and brought it to the attention of Jiří Valoch. They were also connected by participation in unofficial exhibitions organised by František Mikloško at the Slovak Academy of Sciences (Institute of Technical Cybernetics, 1978

1978

At the end of the 1970s, Daniel Fischer began his first longer visit to the studios of Czech artists of the unofficial scene, namely Václav Boštík, Jiří Kolář, Adriena Šimotová, Stanislav Kolíbal, the Janoušeks, Karel Malich, Hugo Demartini and Karel Nepraš. Friendship then linked him primarily with Adriena Šimotová. It was at this time that Fischer also created the cycle Altamíra, in which the artist for the first time systematically utilises the possibilities of a computer algorithm. He gradually abstracted the motif of prehistoric drawing into a mathematical representation, transforming it into a symbol of infinity. Also belonging to the same sphere is one of the prints from the collections of the Olomouc Museum of Art – Dve reprezentácie (or Relativizácia) [Two Representations, or Relativization] from 1981, which captures the moment of transition between the dichotomous strategy of visual representation. The unofficial Slovak art scene in the late 1970s/early 1980s is characterised by a certain degree of utopianism associated with land art approaches and elements of action art. As in the case of Dezider Tóth and Rudolf Sikora, Fischer's work combines several aspects, and the resulting work of art – a “flat” two-dimensional image – is seen as a place for the natural conflict of personal experience with the landscape as a separate autonomous entity, endowed, i.e., with a spiritual essence. Analytical painting is self-reflective and intentionally conceptualised, which naturally turns to the limits of the medium and its reference forms. In this sense, Daniel Fischer focuses primarily on the relationship between painting and photography, utilising the specific qualities of both media and reconstructing them reciprocally on the plan of a diptych. During the 1980s, he creates a series of large-format expressive “Pollock” paintings, complementing them with visually similar photographs of flat landscape scenery. It is the tension of both positions that generates the true “final” image. The Maľba v krajine [Painting in the Landscape] cycle also varies the theme of the relationship between pictorial realism and visual reality – all the more so because the author uses both atypical means (drawing with charcoal, PVC, etc.) and a format of images that are distinctly vertical (instead of the more common horizontal orientation). Manoeuvring between images and reality results in a deeply transcendental impression stemming from the gradual transformation of chaos into order and a firm structure, i.e., meaning.

1979

Altamira
Altamira (graphics)
Altamira
Altamira (graphics)


1981


1983

In the mid-1980s, Fischer further developed the limitations of expressive painting and related then further to the possibilities of visual representation – the cycles Vznik zobrazenia [The Genesis of Depiction] (1983) and Obrazobásně [Visual Poem] (1985), the diptych Pocta Soutterovi [Homage to Soutter] (1987–1988) and the aforementioned Maľba v krajine [Painting in the Landscape] (late 1980s/early 1990s) share gradation, growth, and the gradual, processual construction of the image as reality. 1985–1989 – Overt political engagement (the Several Sentences petition, the Declaration on the Deportation of Slovak Jews, petition to release Václav Havel from prison, etc.). 1988 – Collaboration with Jana Geržová (later the theoretical A-R Group).
3. Biennale der Europäischen Grafik Baden-Baden (group exhibition, Baden-Baden)

1984

Altamira
Altamira (graphics)
Visual poem
Visual poem (graphics)


1985

Altamíra (solo exhibition, Olomouc)

1986

Graphic 9
Graphic 9 (graphics)

A4 (group exhibition, )
Rudolf Fila, Daniel Fischer, Viktor Hulík, Jozef Jankovič, Juraj Meliš (group exhibition, Novi Sad)

1987

Daniel Fischer: Graphics (solo exhibition, Blansko)
Guests of the Gallery H (group exhibition, )

1988

Daniel Fischer: Paintings and graphics (solo exhibition, Krnov)
...Igorovi Kalnému (group exhibition, Bratislava)


1990

After 1990, Fischer regularly lectures in the United States (including at Slippery Rock University, the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Arizona, the University of Houston, etc.) and at Western European art schools (Internationale Sommerakademic für Bildende Künste, etc.). In the mid-1990s, Fischer repeatedly turned to the semantic connotations of coding – the relationship between aesthetics and ethics in terms of the structure or organisation of the visual spectrum. In 1996, he prepares the installation Memento for the synagogue in Trnava – the Centre for Contemporary Art, applying a principle similar to that used in the cycle Obrazobásně [Visual Poem] or in earlier work for the Pittsburgh exhibition Artists of Central and Eastern Europe (1995), though instead of the opposing semantic pairs, he uses only pejorative expressions (lie, arrogance, indifference, cynicism, etc.) projected on the walls of the synagogue. As such, it is another reaction to the current social and political situation, alibism and deliberate disregard for the specific collapses of the period. There is some methodological reflection, i.e., in a contemporary discussion of the essence of information, image and word led by W. J. T. Mitchell and other authors of the Western (analytical) philosophical spectrum. Daniel Fischer is a covertly politically engaged artist, which is reflected in his work especially at the turn of the millennium, when this tendency culminates in several spatial installations. For the exhibition Worlds Beyond the World at the Bratislava City Gallery (2000), Fischer for the first time elaborates on the principles of Painting in the Landscape (Červia diera 1 and 2 [Wormhole], or Jedine tí [Only You], which primarily reflects the possibilities of perception and its restriction – i.e., those transcendental "worlds beyond the world", including “peephole” virtual worlds. The Retrospective project also shares double coding in the first version created already in 1999 but not presented until 2000 at the KunstRaum Mitteleuropa exhibition in Vienna. In Retrospective, Fischer alters an original photograph from the early 1940s depicting the deportation of Slovak Jews, thus foreshadowing the critical essay by Imre Kertész entitled “Who Owns Auschwitz?” (2001) dealing with the issue of so-called “Aushwitz kitsch”. However, Fischer avoids his objections to the institutionalisation of the Holocaust. In 2010, Fischer presents the installation Vynáranie (Osem statočných) [Emergence (Eight Brave)], in which the artist recalls the resistance of eight citizens of the Soviet Union against the invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 2004, an exhibition of Fischer's paintings entitled Paintings was held at Gallery 19 in Bratislava. Marián Mudroch penned the accompanying text called “Models of Visual Metaphors”, where he writes: “Fischer’s logical thinking hidden in the paintings has clear signs of transcendental qualities filled with life experience gained from his own curiosity. To think means struggling through to what is not predetermined, i.e., to ask questions. The passion for art apparent with Fischer sometimes makes us forget what we know and obscures something like reality. Perhaps. There is probably something like the mathematics of being and the logic of change or transformation. Something like a recognised set of different approaches and solutions. This also applies to Daniel Fischer's paintings.” (Marian Mudroch, Models of Visual Metaphors, Gallery 19, 2004, available online: http://www.galeria19.sk/2014/daniel-fischer/) In line with current trends, Daniel Fischer treats the image as his own tool for logical reasoning and definition – the fact that it is a visual definition changes nothing. In this context we can mention Miroslav Petříček’s article “Thinking Through Image” from 2009. In the present context, Daniel Fischer is an important representative of the creative position addressing the “end of the Anthropocene”, which naturally combines the demands of free creative work with a latent commitment to the world. Jana Geržová therefore outlines the connection between him and John Luther Adams, specifically his essay “Making Music in the Anthropocene. How Should Artists Engage with Times of Crisis?” (2015). The author's remark is also in agreement with this: “Yes, it is a lifelong orientation towards fulfilling life by recognising the need for meaningful experience: the experience of wholeness, mystery, ‘contact’ with the infinite, the experience of transcending everyday consciousness through the recording of phenomena (kinds of ciphers … ) transcending us, experiences of unity /with the environment/. It is an awareness of the need and urgency of concentration, silence, the experience of contemplation … in our lives.” (Jana Geržová, Juraj Mojžíš, Daniel Fischer, Slovart, Bratislava 2016). The list can be concluded by mentioning the cycle with an appropriate title – Peak Experience, created after 2010.
In 1990, he was first appointed as associate professor, subsequently professor of painting (1992) in the Department of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, head of the Free Art Studio (until 2017) – involvement in the renewal of the school after the revolution.
40 Artistes Tcheques et Slovaques (1960-1990) (group exhibition, Paris)
Artists Tribute to Jiří Chalupecký (group exhibition, Prague)
The Slovak Art Today (group exhibition, Bratislava)
Album ´76 (group exhibition, Budapest)
Interpretácia (group exhibition, Bratislava)

1991

Daniel Fischer: Paintings (solo exhibition, Prague)
Daniel Fischer (solo exhibition, Brno)
Dal grottesco al magico/ From the Grotesque to the Magical (group exhibition, Rome)

1992


1993

He creates a multimedia installation for the Czechoslovak Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
Grey Brick 34/1993 (group exhibition, Klatovy)

1995

Daniel Fischer (solo exhibition, Banská Bystrica )

1996

Daniel Fischer (solo exhibition, Košice)
The Morning of the Magicians? II. Lost and Found (group exhibition, Prague)

1998

He is appointed director of the Istroart Biennial – International Student Festival of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava.

1999

He is elected chairman of the jury of the Contemporary Slovak Graphic Arts Triennial 14.

2000

He is awarded a Fulbright Grant.
Daniel Fischer: Worlds Behind World (solo exhibition, Bratislava)
Daniel Fischer: Worlds Behind World II. (solo exhibition, Banská Bystrica )
Art in Central Europe 1949–1999 (group exhibition, Barcelona)

2001

A-R csoport (group exhibition, Budapest)

2003

Těšba 70/80 (group exhibition, Frýdek-Místek)
Graphics Arts. Graphical Techniques during the Six Century (group exhibition, Olomouc)

2005

He is appointed to the jury of the Essl Award.
Draughty in Contemporary Slovak Painting 2000–2005 (group exhibition, Banská Bystrica )


2007

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ján Langoš Foundation, the Slovak Academic Society, the Arts Council of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, etc.
Príbeh skupiny A-R (group exhibition, Nitra)



2010

8 statečných – Vynořování (solo exhibition, Bratislava)



2017

CS Conceptual Art of the 70s (group exhibition, Brno)

Muzeum umění Olomouc 2011-2016