Krokus Gallery presents an exhibition by Jana Farmanová entitled “So vulnerable, so strong”. The painter's third exhibition in our gallery is a selection of Farmanová's earlier works, which are crucial to her later oeuvre.
Jana Farmanová is one the most striking figures in Slovak contemporary painting of the last fifteen years. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts who studied under Professor Ján Berger, she made herself known in the early years of the new millennium with her series “Body paints” (2000), “Barefoot” (2004) and “Ophelia” (2005). This was followed by her participation in prestigious exhibitions mapping current trends in painting such as “A Breath of Fresh Air in Contemporary Slovak Painting” (PGU Žilina 2005, NG Prague 2006) Resetting (GHM Žilina 2005, NG Prague 2006) and ObraSKov (Wannieck Gallery Brno 2011).
Farmanová's painting is characterised by its open form, its work with a figural fragment, the painter's quick hand combined with collages, thus creating a subjective scale which corresponds to the picture's immanent significance and not to the observed reality. The central motif in Farmanová's work is the search for ways to materialise personal experiences and emotions. Since the beginnings of her work, the most frequent semantic carrier is the female figure. The painter developed this principle to its full extent in her cycle entitled “Women's toys” (2004-2005). The figures set in an abstract environment focus all our attention. The female figures, as though cut out from fashion magazines, evoke an irrational state of consciousness. “The head is often missing, emotivity is headless”, says the essayist Jiří Olič of Farmanová's cycle.
The large-scale painting “On the deck” (2007-2008) is like a synthesis of the painter's work to date as well as a starting-point for further work. The two figures placed at the centre are iconic for Farmanová: two lying or sitting female figures lost in themselves can be found in several of her pictures. The same can be said about the boat which symbolises a shifting point of reference; in this case, however, it is too small for the monumental figure. The Czech art historian Petr Vaňous summed up this inspiring painting in the book Jana Farmanová (Slovart / Krokus 2012) with the words: “A sleeping female figure with her hands under her head introduces us to the pictorial situation of imaginary rapture. The second figure under the boat, identical to the first, already has blurred contours and is floating in a dreamlike reality. The exceptional picture layout, dynamic composition (…) as well as the thematic openness, even the mystery of the work, is a characteristic example of how Jana Farmanová works expressionistically with external subjects and how she is able to immortalise and integrate them into the surface of the painting.”
Jana Farmanová's invited guest artist is the Slovak video artist Pavlína Fichta Čierna. She is presenting her video entitled “A practical effort at being in between thoughts” (2014) in which she records the action of hanging from a multi-storey apartment building. The artist deliberately exposed herself to a borderline situation, mobilising other states of awareness. While the environments in Farmanová's paintings are usually abstract, in her work Fichta Čierna takes an interest in the specific social context of her figures. In this case her confrontation with the risk of falling in order to achieve a deep state of consciousness is an interesting counterpart to Farmanová's pictures. These works, at first glance so divergent, communicate together across the media of painting and video.
Text: Gabriela Kisová
Jana Farmanová (1970), graduate of Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Her works are in collections of Nitra Gallery, Museum of Art Olomouc (CZ), Wannieck Gallery Brno (CZ), or Sammlung Würth (DE). Selected exhibitions: City Gallery Bratislava (2015), Turiec Gallery Martin (2014), State Gallery Nitra (2013), Krokus Gallery (2012).
Pavlína Fichta Čierna (1967), graduate of Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Her works are in collections of GMB Bratislava, PGU Žilina, or MACBA Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona (ES). Selected exhibitions: Künstlerhaus Wien (2014), Kunsthalle Bratislava (2014), Tranzit Bratislava (2014), PGU Žilina (2014).
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