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:



Design Wit­hout Bor­ders // @designwithoutbordersbudapest //  //  Sup­por­ted by Inter­na­ti­onal Viseg­rad Fund