The story of the village of Horné Opatovce, which faced an ecological disaster after the construction of an aluminum smelter in Žiar nad Hronom, and in 1969 was liquidated and erased from the map by the government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
Horné Opatovce was one of the oldest villages in the Svatokríž basin. The first written mention is related to the foundation of the monastery in Hronské Beňadik. Terra Apathy was part of the property of the monastery donated by the Hungarian king Bélo I and served as an area for logging and hunting. In 1950, the construction of a huge plant began, in which the production of aluminum - a strategic raw material for the Czechoslovak industry - was planned. The village released the most fertile land from its cadastre for the construction of the plant. Since 1953, when production was started, more than 500 kilograms of concentrated exhalates fell on the village every year. Bees were the first to die, followed by other insects. In 1954, livestock did not return from grazing. Since 1955, all the fruit trees in the village and all the coniferous trees in the mountains above the village have dried up. Residents have frequent broken limbs, children's teeth and hair fall out, the windows of houses are frosted - all due to the increased concentration of fluorine in the air. Fluorine causes bone thinning and is the only chemical element that dissolves glass. Life in the village changed radically after 1953. On the one hand, the standard of living of its inhabitants rose, on the other hand, it was impossible to raise any cattle, grow almost nothing, and the effects on the health of the inhabitants were catastrophic. The representatives of the village constantly complained, but no structure of the government at the time could solve the problem. In 1960, the government of the Czechoslovak Republic adopted a resolution on the liquidation of the village. However, that only happened in 1969, and even after that year, 3 families remained living in the village, who could not find alternative accommodation or refused to leave Opatoviece.
For the creative team, the story of the village of Horné Opatovce is a paraphrase of our civilisation, which seeks to increase its comfort through the liquidation of its living space.
Height: 120 cm
Width: 800 cm