It is illuminating to trace the creative development of Lena Lešková-Bubánová from the second half of the 1980s after she graduated from P.J. Šafárik University in Prešov in 1986. During this period she took part in a number of activities and projects on the creative scene in Slovakia, for example Humno’88, Prešparty Prešov 1988, SpolokW Trebišov. She was involved with figurative post-modern painting, and the results of this were best represented at an independent exhibition at the Club of Architects in Košice in 1989 and at the C. Majerník Gallery in Bratislava. The exhibition in Košice is considered both the climax and completion of her painting of volatile figuration.
The transition from the 1980s to the 1990s was a turning point for her artistic career. Lešková entered another world; she chose a different creative language. Her programme was not built on a narrative or on the style of presentation, but extracted from the possibilities for expression through painting. At its most basic level the surface dominated, the colour, force and mass of pigment, layering and structure. Lešková departed from the traditional method of creative work, and in seeking new paths she focused on the throwing of paint from heights. This method of work with acrylic paints became a starting point, a turning point, from which her contemporary work grew. The foundation of Lešková’s work in this period was the impact and random nature of the splash, studying the possibilities of combinations.
From elementary works with the fall and splash of individual coloured fields on paper (Blue Resonances, Red Resonances, 1991-92) the artist graduated to a series of works under the name Impacts and Rebounds (1992). In these she began overlapping layers of pigment to various intensities, breaking up the surface of the image. From this moment this connection of Impacts – Rebounds became the key concept in her creative portfolio.
After 1994, handmade stamps, which followed the characteristics and trajectory of the splash while creating their own monochromatic structures (Penetrations of Light 1994-95), became part of the creative process. From these stamped drawings, these repeating records of the scattering of colours, Lešková produced sizeable monochrome canvases (Impacts – Rebounds 1995). With a gradual narrowing of the colour spectra, from 1996 the artist began to create graphic documents on a black background with strong sense of internal movement and tension, a cosmology of rebounds, as shown, for example, in a series of linocuts Impacts and Rebounds 1996.
Lešková has further elaborated on this in her later works. On black paper she has created imprints of rebounds, which originated by repeating a selected detail of the original, now changed, structure (Organized Impacts and Rebounds, serigraph, 1997). She often organizes these into a circular shape with intensive central force and a clear internal structure. She then enters into this organized chaos of velvety black with spatial groupings of elements, bringing an additional level of interest to these works.
In Lešková’s contemporary art she continuously works with the momentum of the impact and subsequent rebound, which evokes a state of breaking up, a fragment, a shattering, or scattering of a monoblock – mirroring the restless atmosphere of the 1990s. The compact nature of her work is built on contrast and the interaction of the mechanical element and the unique handmade stamp and signature.
Over the last five years Lešková-Bubánová has undergone a major shift in her artistic progress. We can see this shift as a process of visual concentration and focus, a path of stability and serenity. Today the artist expresses herself with deliberate language, an elementary vocabulary, a relatively minimalistic form of creative thinking. Her load-bearing conceptions have become structures, and she has mastered the transition from random, unclassified elements to organized composition, the creation of chains of signposts. From the whole she selects only a detail, a phrase, which she models into a shape or system. And her black circles, grouping in sequence with an interconnected system of internal relationships, resonate the loudest.
It is as if the path has been closed. Having abandoned a traditional creative context and unworkable ranges of colour, Lešková is working once again towards a purposeful structure and shape, managing individual elements with her signature rhythm and vibration.
She created one of the most purposeful artistic programs of the 1990s in eastern Slovakia.