What Needs to Be in the Air so that I Think About Something and You Will Say It
Curated by Erik Vilím
Medium Gallery, Bratislava
How to perceive our world without the glasses put on by the natural sciences? Is the matter just a temporary grouping of particles? Is the void truly empty, or is it filled by something invisible? Is the matter anchored in time, or is time contained in the matter? Does the existence of things depend on our perception, or do things exist even when we cannot see them? What had to happen for something else to happen? What is the relationship between the abstract world of our thoughts and the material reality?
At first glance, the works of Dana Tomečková (*1986, Bratislava) may seem poetically and intuitively developed. Despite the fact that intuition, as well as empathy, form the cornerstones of her artistic endeavours, inside she hides a deep, long-term and focused interest in the aforementioned questions. These at the same time form the main thematic framework for her current and complex artistic project entitled Temporary Matter.
The word "temporary" is not only a key for reading these works, but naturally predetermines the way she works. It is based on an exploration of the properties of materials, their own identity, agency or their will to be what they are. Tomečková focuses on their performativity - in this project they act as sovereign actors, actors talking about themselves. Parallel to this exploration of the materials, her reflections are also "infused" into text, in which she moves on the boundaries of what is possible to express, at the limits of the possibilities of language. These two planes of her artistic practice are represented by the pairing of the abstract/thinkable and the material/tangible. The project Temporary Matter straddles both of these poles, which come together in the reflection "that all things are events, they have their time, and that time is of various lengths"
As implied, Tomečková works primarily intuitively. Nevertheless, her artistic outcomes do not move in some sort of indefinite nebula, but, paradoxically, can be anchored in the ideas of phenomenology and new materialism when interpreted carefully. The concepts and claims of these streams are not illustrated but developed. In a rather sensitive way, Tomečková opens up questions that demand a contemplative approach from the viewer. This is precisely what is authentic and her own. Her "soft" exploration is "materialized" and made present in the viewer's or spectator's spatial or optical experience. She does not work invasively, but responds to what the space, in which her works are to "inhabit" for the duration of the exhibitions, asks.
The exhibition at the Medium Gallery is independently divided into two parts, representing the aforementioned abstract/material combination. In the first room, or rather corridor, you will find text works entitled Something Was About to Happen. They consist of sentence compositions that contain a temporal break from which a countless number of plot sequences emerge. The second part of the exhibition in the back room of the gallery is more material in its nature. There are objects made of loose material, in which we can recognize, for example, fragments of the human body or other items.