Time Capsule

The large-scale installation Time Capsule (2011) is one of the masterpieces designed for gallery spaces by the Slovak artist Roman Ondak (born in 1966). Based on the original blueprints, the artist built a perfect replica of the vessel Fénix 2 used in 2010 to rescue 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days at a depth of 700 metres. Millions of spectators all over the world watched the dramatic rescue operation and their survival broadcast by the media.

The rescue project widely reflected by the mass media fascinated Ondak. He almost instantly reinvented the vessel as a symbol of hope and solidarity. At the same time, it refers to his previous works totally commanding the gallery space, indeed going beyond the boundaries of exhibition space art. It accentuates the interplay of artistic and non-artistic reality, the fascination with time, scientific reseach and also the paradoxes of the media events in our globalised world. The technical and structural aesthetics of the object with sculptural qualities loosely resemble the well-known utopian projects of the Slovak conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s, related to subjects of cosmic exploration and the future of humankind.

You can see the unique artwork Time Capsule at the Schaubmar Mill in Pezinok from 14 January 2021.*

The artwork was displayed at Ondak’s solo exhibition in the United Kingdom (Modern Art Oxford, 2011) and at the 54th International Biennale in Venice (Arsenale, 2011). The post-conceptual Time Capsule is of a great significance in the context of the SNG collection due to the fact that with this artwork Ondak reverses the perspective inwards, back toward the Earth, and in his silent but urgent gesture we are invited to descend into the depths of our humanity. The artwork has the impact of a monumental sculptural object and it arises from the artist’s long-term research on the subject of time. Another facet, which the artwork suggests, is Ondak’s critical thinking regarding the media and culture deluged by information. Here, from the plentitude of information, he has chosen one event that engaged scientists, engineers, politicians and the media in the rescue project for the victims in the mine accident. He incased this information in the Time Capsule as a humanistic message for the future.

* The date of making the artwork available to the public depends on anti-pandemic measures and may change. Current information on the opening hours of the Slovak National Gallery can be found at www.sng.sk