I was not Born for Quiet

Thanks to Janko Kráľ, as John Minahane has written, the Váh is Slovakia’s most mystical river. Again and again the poet returns to his community via that flagship poem of Slovak romanticism, The Enchanted Maiden in the Váh and Odd Johnny. Characteristic in Kráľ’s poetry is his focus on the inward side of events and stories, turned inside out, since one has to turn one’s clothing inside out/ and leap in the middle of the Váh. By this means, metaphysical space is opened. There the spirit is so blended together with reality that it becomes possible to break the spell on the maiden (motherland) in the river Lethe, which is life’s inverted clepsydra. Time always freshly poses the question, which young man wants to give body to his thought. And what unwinds from that is not only a defiant faith in the mission of poetry, but also Janko Kráľ’s courage to stand up for the language and national rights of Slovaks in 1848. To give the time a face where our identity is mirrored.

To this day we do not know exactly how Janko Kráľ looked in reality. Using the surviving descriptions of Kráľ’s appearance, he therefore created a metaphysical portrait with the digital tool Metahuman Creator, which is designed for creating figures for video games. Subsequently he placed this virtual figure in a contemporary context, in the form of manipulated photographs from the mass media.

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Pavol Bálik