“I live my life on the border that separates dream and reality.” And it is this dream aspect of Dušan Kállay’s concepts which we admire in his illustrations and paintings. His dreams, no matter how connected with reality, exist outside this reality and cannot escape it. What seems to us to be a faithful depiction slips away into a mysterious world of unconventional relations and circumstances. This allows the artist to discover the diversity of the world in various forms: through the bizarre world of people, animals and things.
Dušan Kállay is an excellent illustrator and colorist whose illustrations and paintings are closely linked by the phenomenon of color. More than technological anticipations, they share the ability to transform a motif with magical suggestiveness and the belief that magic really exists. He sees the stories he brings to us through a lens of detachment, humor and gentle irony. Perhaps he drew some inspiration from Dadaists or Surrealists; in any case, he discovers hidden humanized legacies in dramatic situations and banter. He bases his work on the conviction that “the world is much wider than the world that we can see.” Thus, every book that he has illustrated (and which he presents here today) is an in-depth probe beyond boundaries, and not only the boundaries of the visible world. When examining Veselý koncert (Merry Concert) /1998/, Slovenské rozprávky (Slovak Fairy tales) (2012), Príbehy zo Shakespeara (Shakespeare’s Stories) (2006) or the more recent Príbehy Dona Quijota (Don Quixote’s Stories) (2017), every text provides an abundance of inspiration for adventurous, satirical, grotesque and humorous interpretations which in their own way convey the atmosphere of their literary originals. His drawing virtuosity is combined with his mastery of color. His painting ability burst into view in the paintings from the series entitled Anonymi z Pompejí (The Anonymous of Pompeii) (2011-17) through which he interprets the apocalyptic destruction of this ancient city of wealth and vanity as the essence of life’s origin and extinction.