by Lucia Miklošková
The exhibition represents the artworks of Lucia Tallova assembled into a whole of a space installation. The boundaries between the artefacts do not matter, because one artwork finishes the other and together, they create a poetically congenial statement.
In her installations and three-dimensional collages, Lucia Tallova works with old photographs and second-hand furniture. The photograph is complemented by sensitive interventions, such as adding a paint spot, another image or object, in various manipulated forms (crumpled, scrolled, torn, etc.). At other times, she proceeds in the opposite direction and selects a detail from the image that she isolates. With these authorial gestures, Tallova violates and overwrites the subject of the photographic record, which results in an awakening of the photographic medium and a revival of the image (of the time past) in the present space.
The current exhibition follows the previous exhibition projects in which the author emphasized the exterior of the works. She first thematized her works through the construction of the archive (construction of the artwork as an archive of memories), then she arrived at more relaxed forms, where she did not necessarily limit her works with a frame and moved to open compositions of some kind of internal(ized) visual landscapes. These landscapes are neither real nor unreal, nor are they more mental than physical, i.e. truly present "here".
Tallova's work is characterized by two pictorial motifs: sea landscape and airy atmosphere. The author keeps returning to sea levels and water shores, or steam, air, and clouds. She returns to them not only on the subject level of photographic records but also in her paintings. Paintings, large-sized canvases, and small watercolours on paper seem to capture movement as a form of a cycle of constancy - water that changes into water vapour; crystallizes and then returns to its original state. This transformation, which is the cypher of motion (but the motion from the perspective of time!), happens also when the images of water vapour vanish before our eyes and disappear into an abstract painting, which is perhaps an even truer portrait of its subject.
Lucia Tallova constructs her objects as islands or mountains. In both cases, it is a symbolic place that is inaccessible and distant. That is why Tallova's landscapes are mostly empty. In these absent distant landscapes, there is only a void and time and duration. The movement we mentioned earlier is not a movement of action, but on the contrary, a movement subjected to time, an exchange between real and imaginary, figurative and abstract, subjective and objective, physical and mental, actual and virtual (near and distant, present and absent, past). More clearly, Lucia Tallova's works present the physical objects known from our everyday reality, introduced into unusual encounters and connections, when they become rather a picture-memory or a picture-dream. After all, when we remember or dream, we are not in the past but rather in both times at once, since both times double and mingle, creating a new reality - an image-island.
If we were searching for the name for this time, it could be ‘every day’. The author conceives natural images as forms unifying everyday life into the form of eternity and unchanging order. At the same time, everydayness has two contradictory forms in Tallova's works - sometimes it is an unbearable burden, other times it is an expression of contemplative beauty.
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Away from Everything,
by Marco Antônio Vieira
The themes and motifs akin to the archive are central to her poetic fabulation of the material collected locally and whose appropriation serves the purpose of poetically bridging the mnemonic lacunae left, for instance, by the photographs extracted from the O Cruzeiro magazine, whose circulation coincides with the period of the foundation of the city of Brasília in the 1960’s and in which the artist seeks to detect the symptoms of a history of belittling objectification of women. A theme close to the artist’s heart.
The logic of the appropriation, of the objet trouvé and of the assemblage – term coined by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) in the decade of the 50’s in the twentieth century- , which is defined by the combination of collage and three-dimensional material, commands the installations conceived by the artist in which pieces and fragments of local furniture are combined with photographs whose narrative is fabricated upon the relations woven within Tallova’s oeuvre.
Tallova’s poetical vehemence never spouses obviety and it is in the meticulous metaphorical conception of her installations where her reflection on the past which is rewritten therein that the force of her artistry is felt. The phantasmagorical metaphors and allegories of the feminine body, which, within her oeuvre, is derobed of its naif blindfolds, startle the beholder before the images she produces; in which seduction – given their refined craftsmanship – and astonishment – for the disturbing allegorization of the discourse which is carved within- are reconciled.
Erasure, Trait, Vestiges: The Notion of Relic in Lucia Tallova
Relicta: rest, remain, vestige of an object. ἀρχεῖον: Arkheion: “archive”. In Ancient Greece, the place where important official documents were stored and also the object of interpretation of the archon, the officer responsible for the Arkheion.
The archive and its relation with History, and not exclusively History as a branch of knowledge but rather the very narrative of the subject which is woven into the webs of language, memory and oblivion occupy the center of Lucia Tallova’s poiesis. These themes offer the artist the motifs which will be explored in her artistic investigation and its resulting materiality.
Tallova’s appropriation of photographic material extracted from the most varied publications: History, Geography, Botany books or from magazines produced and published in the places where the artist develops her artistic residency, as well as the appropriation of pieces and fragments of furniture and the manufacture of expographical structures, which oscillate between the ancient Cabinets of Curiosities which peopled Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as embryonic forms of the museums, libraries and the physical spaces which house institutional files, instill a poetical architecture which allows for the exact appreciation of Tallova’s artistry based on an expographic design which is integral to the concept of the works for it mirrors to perfection the allegories and metaphors that her oeuvre and its scansion in its distinct media and varied techniques conveys.
The conceptual architecture of her exhibitions are allusive of the physicality of the archives and invests the space with visions of a past which is both revealing and dazzling. A past which is perpetually differed.
The cloudspace in Lucia Tallova
“Beauty in art surpasses that of nature, for it is born and reborn of the spirit (Geist)”, says Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) in his Aesthetics. Beauty herein, therefore, is never enslaved by mimesis but is rather confirmed as pictorial poiesis. The site of its apparition is no other than the very surface of the canvas. Therein resides the origin of a world: that of painting.
It is the cloud as a pictorial sign the illuminating as well as the leading conceptual figure featured in one of the most definitive texts in the Theory of Art. In Théorie du Nuage (1972), Hubert Damisch (1928-2017) investigates the figuration of the cloud in these celestial swirls on which the Virgin, the saints and the angels are enthroned.
The cloud, which is the privileged objet of a vaporous condensation, floats between the solidity – there are ice particles in clouds- the liquid and its gaseous appearance and apparition. There is instability, indecibility – in Jacques Derrida’s terms in the cloud as seen herein. The cloud, in these heavens which invade and colonize the domes of the churches, marks the frontier of a transgression, a trespass, which is indicative of the ecstatic jouissance which commands the mannerisms anticipating the Baroque in this true theatrical apotheosis, as established by Damisch, of a Correggio (1489-1534).
These clouds appear to engulf, to swallow in tumultuous and inescapable spirals those who contemplate these reverse vertigos. The body of the beholder seems to ascend to these painterly celestial realms.
Ink and gesture concur to make us see these landscapes of whiteness which rise from obscurity from this backdrop of dark and menacingly foggy depths. It is a whirlwind. Spirals, swirls, contortion. We are before a scene of baroque and romantic contours: the very form of memory as symptom. From this dark and black background there surge these gaseous condensations in the shape of masses of white tint which spread assuming the form of blurred clouds. Intense clouds, dense clouds. Clouds drenched in pigment. Painted clouds. Clouds whose beauty stems precisely from their fabricated, fabulated pictorialness. Clouds whose cloudiness emerge from Tallova’s brush strokes.
The cloud and the skies by Lucia Tallova are recurrent signs in her oeuvre and it is in these insignia that one must read the secret of her poetics which owes its singularity to a particular rendering of the most markedly structural motifs of Romanticism in its historical attire in England in its concern with horror and the sublime, and running parallel to it, the German romantic rendition of Sturm und Drang (Storm and Drive) in the frontier between the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.
Tallova’s pictorialness is the tenet behind her artistic conception and it transcends the limits of the canvas to somehow haunt its unfolding in her appropriation of photographic material as well as in the omnipresent shadow of the poetical potencies of the objet trouvé which are incessantly mutating into narrative installations.
The cloud is the ocularization – neologism coined by Emmanuel Alloa- in this vaporous and tripartite form of the water in its liquid, solid and gaseous states. A reverse vertigo which strangely enough does not seem so distant from pictorial Romanticism. It is no accident thus that the clouds should embody the signification of the contemplative abysses of Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) or the dissolution in pictorial masses which equally refer to these cloudy, nebulous and misty atmospheres which appear to confirm a certain pictorial tone in William Turner’s pictorialness. Such themes – akin herein to accounts which structure the subjective inflation present in Kantian and Hegelian philosophies– and such tones- their corresponding analogies in the materiality of the works- insist in Tallova as the symptom of a Romanticism which colors her artistry and the very architecture of her works.
The cloud, as proposed by Damisch, is a sign which obeys the writing of its own pictorial syntax. It is as a sign, therefore, which is metaphor and symptom of a Romanticism which outlives its historical prison. One dives in the waters and clouds which constitute the terrain of these skies which accommodate Lucia Tallova’s pictorial scripture. All is cloudy in perpetual movement, unsteady motion through these mists which ooze incessantly without ever leaving or leaking out of the frame of the canvas, for these are clouds that one sees and they transfix one’s body vaporously.
In Tallova’s oeuvre it is this dramatic romantic intensity (pathos) which seems to endow her rendition of feminism and gender critique with the cathartic and aesthetic impact of her images, metaphors and allegories. Everything gravitates around the materiality of the works and its inseparable allegorical architecture.
Tallova’s Scriptural Archive
Tallova’s exhibitions must be seen as chapters of a long, endless novel. Each of these scriptural moments of the artist exhibits different facets of a polyhedron whose totality is never revealed and which insists on renewed versions of a history which will never be fully told. The artist’s use of appropriated portraits, for instance, abandon the need for defined identities in favour of the transformation of the original images into objects in their own right, endowed with poetical fetishism, mystery and riddles. Thence the repetition of themes and motifs, the almost obsessive dive into new and possible translations of her unknown novel in every new chapter written in the land which receives Tallova’s artistic writing.
These motifs and themes are oneiric hallucinations of a crevice, a wound which was cut open in her native land, Slovakia, and which the artist, now unrooted, deterritorialized, understands ever so vividly: the depth of the original fissure is not to be sutured. Thence the insistence of what is so apparently attached to the land of origin in its phantasmagoric, ghostly appearance on haunting Lucia Tallova’s works produced in Japan, in America and in Brazil.
It is the same displacement which features in Brazilian magazines where the artist detects the same colonization which violates the body and the cultural signification of western women, the quartered images of Oscar Niemeyer’s architecture which Tallova infuses with pictorial brushes which somehow disfigure them, the local topology which is invaded by alien pictorial imagery, of ressignified rejected and abandoned, forgotten material in which the artist identifies poetical latencies of a memory which her works will inevitably weave, paint, fabricate and essentially rewrite poetically in the fashion of a memory tinted by the cloudy, ever-changing, ever-moving stains of a fabled dream.
The images in which the scriptural-installations of Lucia Tallova are converted operate on the erasure of oblivion. They turn the shades of the trait, the inscription of the vestige into an archaeology. Thus, her view of the archive – Arkheion- depends entirely on the etymological genealogy of the relic and can only be confirmed by the revisitation of the antiquary soil of History.
The past is always the object of a fabrication. The past is fiction. It is, therefore, in the transcendence of the mimetic mechanics in which a model and its imitation – representation- are articulated contiguously that Tallova’s poetical edifice rests. Her insistence on the poetical conversion of the material which is appropriated is the evidence of her embrace of the monism of poiesis as opposed to the binary and mimetic views of Art, History, Archive.
It is from what Plato names tupos – the impressions akin to traits and vestiges of the wax seal that the memory emerges in Tallova as the double of the thing remembered, the archive, according to Tallova, is nothing but the impression of an elusive past. One cannot aspire to the exactness of what is remembered. One must resign oneself to the inventive dimension which the narrative structures embedded in Art claim as poiesis: creation, fabrication of the world of the artist.
By concentrating upon the imaginative, allegorical and rhetorical possibilities of her arrangements – the compositions in which objects, photography and furniture of multiple origins are woven with her paintings of lyrical expressionist clouds, skies and moving tinted stains- Lucia Tallova ends up rewriting the History behind these objects by reinscribing them within that which the terrain of her oeuvre invests them with, delimits from within her scriptural architecture for them.
Only distance can allow for the object to be intuitively rewritten. Away from Everything is yet another venture in Tallova’s artistic poetry where the clouds which once peopled Correggio’s painted domes and provided the most inspiring material to Romanticism establish the very notion of distance which the archival relic featuring in her poesis emerges as symptom and metaphor of a distance only Art can fully gauge precisely because of its menacing proximity.
A proximity which is but imagined albeit intensely felt and lived as once was Correggio’s celestial ascension, Caspar David Friedrich’s abyssal reveries or Turner’s nebulous pictorial masses.
Away from it all, from everything and yet so close. As though we were before a dream.