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OSTARA, 27. 4. – 22. 6. 2024, Galerie Albrecht, Berlin, Germany

OSTARA, 27. 4. – 22. 6. 2024, Galerie Albrecht, Berlin, Germany

What connects these two artists from different generations? How do they transfer their different historical and personal experiences into their work?

{…} Images of conception, germination, development and maturation, but also of wilting, dieback and death, play a key role in the works of Anna Zemánková and Veronika Holcová. Their quasi-automatic drawings and paintings produced without rational self-censorship (at least in the initial stages) feature the universal symbols of the egg and of sprouting branches, but also of the purging fire {…}. Holcová’s core of incandescence and Zemánková’s tongues of fire embody both a destructive force and the irresistible attraction of burning desire – the eternal urge, the interplay of Eros and Thanatos. The duality of light and dark, beauty and ugliness, gentleness and cruelty, joy and suffering, constitutes a mighty undercurrent that feeds the dynamic and {…} narrative nature of the work of both artists.

The image of the archetypal Woman, the main character in the works of both artists, is also bipolar: lover-mother. While in Holcová’s case the image is evidently figural, although at the same time ungraspably surreal, in Zemánková’s work she appears only in the form of abstracted hints converted into the “language of flowers”. Eve and Lilith, the victim and the temptress, Mary Magdalen and the Virgin Mary, the sinner and Our Lady of Sorrows – they are all present here, as too are La Llorona or Medea who was driven to madness and doom by passion. The intuitive practices of the two artists revel in the metamorphosis of forms and shapes that conceal parables from their own personal mythologies as well as the collective unconscious. The creative act is a cathartic ritual which they use to cleanse themselves of nightmares, traumas, distressing memories, but also premonitions and “visions”. For them, the surface of a piece of paper is like a stage where minor private dramas as well as global catastrophes play out – during the act of creation, the inner and the outer, the sooner and the later, cease to exist. The Self becomes interwoven with the universe into a single space without boundaries.

Terezie Zemánková