Roman Ondak, Parallel Worlds, 2022, acrylic paint on wood, 21 x 31 x 8 cm
Roman Ondak’s practice brings together various methodologies, from simply formulated situations in which he binds relationships between members of his family, various groups of people or spectators entering his exhibitions, to modified found objects or constructed spatial installations. Space and time are often systematically thematised in his works and intertwined with his personal history, bearing fragments of his memories of the years he spent as a child and teenager in relatively isolated Czechoslovakia during the autocratic communist regime.
Ondak grew to understand society’s attempt to order existence through divisions and classifications of inclusion and exclusion. This structure’s failure is what the artist questions in his work by revealing the potential of other orders, other patterns of behaviour, and, ultimately, alternative social and political possibilities. The impression that his work often gives, of reality having been slightly adjusted, is in part a tactical replication of the propagandist alterations of image and statement that were an everyday fact of life for the artist while growing up.
The exhibition Roman Ondak. Infinitum plays between fiction and reality. Reality, which is informed by the artist’s personal experiences from the past while he grew in a society where reality was partially experienced as a fiction. The sculptures, spatial installations and photographs in this exhibition pay tribute to the everyday. The ready-made or constructed objects or situations depicted alternate between what they were while they were still part of reality and now, when they are shifted to subtly fictionalised forms confronting a viewer.
Roman Ondak (Žilina, Slovakia, 1966; lives and works in Bratislava)