Paintings by Alojz Klimo
Alojz Klimo was a Slovakian painter, graphic artist and sculptor who, along with Milan Dobeš and Miloš Urbásek, is considered to be the founding representative of geometrical and constructionist art in Slovakia.
Born in Pieštany in 1922, Klimo attended the Department of Drawing and Painting of the Slovak Technical University from 1941 to 1945, where he studied under Maximillán Schurmann and Gustav Mallý, both influential in the development of Slovakian modern painting. From 1945 to 1948, he studied under painters Jan Bauch and Antonin Pelc at Prague’s University of Applied Arts. Klimo returned to Slovakia in 1948 and settled in the city of Bratislava where he lived and worked until his death in October of 2000.
Alojz Klimo developed his expression of art gradually. Inspired by prewar European modernism, he was known for his expressive paintings by the end of the 1950s. The drawings and graphic work he produced in this period were influenced by the national and folk traditions of his native country. Fascinated by the progressive technology, architecture, and industrial landscape of the early 1960s, Klimo’s work moved progressively towards abstractionism.
By the end of the 1960s, Klimo’s work was characterized by symbols, signs, and pictograms which served as commentaries on both the positive and negative manifestations of contemporary civilization. The basic building blocks of his artistic language were triangles, squares, rectangles and circles portrayed in multiple variations to form a wide spectrum of motifs. His dynamic paintings with their vivid colors and simple compositions illustrated the possibilities of a formalized geometrical style.
Alojz Klimo regularly used symbolic motifs of urban scenery in his work. The themes of streets, crossroads, and roofs of houses appear throughout his work, either as paintings on wood panels or graphics produced with linocuts. The image areas are divided into individual fields, designated by bold black lines. Klimo’s most significant and best known “Crossroads” series depicted fields created by accentuated diagonal lines; the fields of the “Windows” and “Roofs” series were formed by systems of rectangles and squares. Each segmented field in his work was depicted by specific colors of pure tones, a technique which was similar to that used by American artist Roy Lichtenstein.
Since 1945, Klimo was a member of an artist group called August 29, and later, in 1967, became a member of the Club of Concretists, an organization of geometrical abstract artists. . The Club of Concretists was banned in Czechoslovakia in 1970 during the period of political normalization, which was characterized by the loss of the reforms gained during the more liberal government of Alexander Dubček. For Alojz Klimo, it became difficult period in which to exhibit his works. As such, he devoted his time to illustrating books, particularly children’s books, and also creating monumental sculptures for architectural details.
During his lifetime, Alojz Klimo presented his work in twenty-five solo exhibitions in Slovakia and abroad. He also participated in more than two hundred collective exhibitions in Slovakia and other countries, including the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Egypt, Mexico, and the United States. In both 1958 and 1960, Klimo represented Czechoslovakia at the Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Venice Biennales. In 1970, he exhibited his large, moveable sculpture, entitled “Colored Transformations” at the Czechoslovak Pavilion of the World Expo in Osaka, Japan.
Klimo’s works, which include paintings, wood cuts, graphic work, and sculptures, are represented in the galleries and private collections in Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.
Image Insert: Alojz Klimo, Poster for Slovak Fund of Creative Arts, 1966, Serigraph on Paper, 28.5 x 20 cm, Private Collection