Phase of Nigreda 1995

Ladislav Čarný
Artists of Central and Eastern Europe: October 29, 1995 – July 31, 1996
cast paper, plexiglass, phosphorus, bacteria

arn created twenty papier-m ch busts cast from a mold of a marble head titled The Stink by the eighteenth-century sculptor F X Messerschmidt...


Čarný created twenty papier-mâché busts, cast from a mold of a marble head, titled The Stink, by the eighteenth-century sculptor F.X. Messerschmidt. Intending the heads to decay, he coated them with phosphorus and banana pulp and sealed then in Plexiglas cubes. The heads grew moldy at differing rates some disintegrating into a heap. The phosphorous in the papier-mâché glowed as the light gradually dimmed.

Artist Statement

Humus is created by the process of sedimentation of geological and biological layers.

Products of the human spirit (conceptions, artifacts, interpretations…) are created analogously–they create a cultural humus. Metabolism makes the recycling of physical life possible.

In alchemy, the teaching of the metamorphosis of the world-putridity (=decomposition) is one of the basic stages of transmutation. The English Franciscan and scholar Roger Bacon (thirteenth century) stated: “Putrefactio est omnium rerum mater.”* The primary mass exists [decomposes] in order to enable the development of a new quality.

Analogously, putridity in spiritual alchemy means the transmutation of mystical conditions.

Recycling of the idea means cultural metabolism: reauthorization (reapplication, reactualization and reinterpretations) of the forgotten artifact, conception, symbol… in the new context. This form of creativity (creation) works with one’s memory.

*”Decomposition is the mother of all things.”

About the Artist

Ladislav Čarný attended the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava from 1968-1974. His artwork is interactive, incorporates fragments of reality, installation pieces and light art.