Gallery Umelka in Design without Borders 2021
This year, the Slovak Union of Visual Arts joined the 16th year of the international project Design without Borders.
The first foreign place of the Budapest exhibition Design without Borders was to be the Art Gallery in Bratislava in the spring of 2021. Due to COVID-19, the program moved to the online space, and we at least participated virtually.
Built in 1925 – 1926, the gallery is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Slovakia. This remarkable building was designed by the architects Alois Balán and Jiří Grossmann. Umelka is the oldest building built in the Functionalist style in Slovakia. The building is of special architectural interest and was declared the cultural heritage monument. The gallery is located in a superb location between the historic and modern city centre of Bratislava.
Major cultural and social events took place here. One of the most important events was the establishment of the Public Against Violence, a broad civic movement closely associated with this building. The first protest meetings held here in 1989 led to the foundation of the Public Against Violence. The well-known photograph by Ladislav Bielik taken in August 1968 in front of this building became the best world photograph. It shows a man with a bare chest standing in front of a Soviet tank.
The building, known as UMELKA, has been the seat of the Slovak Union of Visual Arts since 1990. In the last ten years it has undergone extensive renovation, including the actual building, its interior and the Gallery of SUVA UMELKA, the refurbishment and reopening of the Artists’ Club UMELKA, the redevelopment of the sculpture garden UMELKA with an open-air restaurant and the restaurant UMELKA.
Thanks to the international activities of the Slovak Union of Visual Arts, UMELKA has become the venue of international and global events (IAA/AIAP, IAA Europe, ECA, IFCCD, ECCD). It is the seat of the President of IAA Europe and the IAA Europe Office. Together with the IAA Office in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, UMELKA is one of the two centres of the largest worldwide organisation of visual artists.
UMELKA organises dozens of exhibitions and other events every year, and has served artists and the cultural public for almost hundred years without interruption.
ONLINE materials of this project can be found on the links below: