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Veronika Rónaiová. REALizácie
Implemented REALizations of Veronika Rónaiová
Since the late 1980s, Veronika Rónaiová has focused on re-painting of her earlier works, or rather on the employment of fragments of earlier works in her paintings. At the exhibition REALizations she deliberately breaks the tried images of her painting, and employs quotes and self-quotes, as well as confrontation and polemic with her previous work, which thus considerably overlaps new reality. The ground plan is created by her own paintings made as PC prints onto which she puts new layers of stories.
In terms of a subject, the exhibition REALizations is divided into three cycles. In the cycle “Repeated Stories” the artist replaces older quotes of works of reputable artists (Bernini, Warhol, Duchamp, etc) or actions of Slovak artists (Kordoš, Meluzin, Laubert) with quotes of works of her father, Julián Filo. She uses photomontages from fragments of father´s unrealized and unsigned originals in A4 format, which this significant Slovak artist originally intended to paint in large formats, in broad time span, and supplements them with her own comments. The enlargement gives them a different visual character, and even the adhesive tapes used to fix the fragments of works change into individual geometrizing surfaces altering the structure of a picture. In this way, the artist goes beyond the original photo-realistic intention, the impersonal nature of which she has tried to change and move to more intimate position from the very beginning of her work. Veronika Rónaiová supplements the quotes with depiction of trivial consumer objects, such as a chair, TV, or other things that can be usually found in the studio. They do not present compact units, but rather fragments referring to a specific real reality. While older quotes and interpretations can be considered the overlap of two different worlds, in this instance we can speak rather of the search for harmony than of radical polemic.
In the cycle “Self-quotes” she reflects and re-interprets her own paintings created in the latter half of the 1970s. They are stories of a specific ambience of a town into which the artist adds a modern story, such as Change of programme depicting Hviezdoslav´s theatre based on the discussions about its necessity, Draft of the Monument of Slovak Celebrity ironizing the state of Slovak show business, or equally ironizing picture of election clip In Slovakia in Slovak, where the artist interprets her earlier picture with a text “I am contemporary Slovak visual artist” as a reference to the position of an artist and a woman in general in the society. It is worth mentioning that it was Veronika Rónaiová who, together with Jana Želibská, entered the ground of exploration of woman´s position and representation of woman´s experience in the form of decided feministic principle.
As mentioned above, Veronika Rónaiová often uses both the irony and the gentle self-irony in her works. It is also evident in works from the third cycle “L´atelier” which follows in classical paintings or ancient stories. Characteristic picture from this cycle can be considered Tesco Lady in which Vermeer’s Portrait of Woman Reading a Love Letter is interpreted as a woman reading a sales slip from Tesco. There is no need for any comment. Another picture shows white and black pictures as the beginning and the end of painting. In some paintings, the artist even approaches the assemblage when she uses palette, paintbrushes, cloth or slipped out colours as direct material connection with a studio. There is also present the feeling of loneliness, in this case evoked by the realistic depiction of artist´s studio in which he lives and works. In this context it is interesting to mention artist´s accentuation of unattractive, derelict moments within the space of our existence, for instance when she “made up” the premises in the Centre of gender studies, FFUK, where, inter alia, she drew new cracks on the wall. The fact that the artists deals not only with the painting itself, but also with the environment in which it is created and presented is proved by her reflections on the installation of works. When installing her works, the artist often makes up the motif with a drawing on the wall, for instance in Small Retrospective at Pavažská galéria umenia (2003) or in permanent exposition of the 20th century art Realism and Reality at Bratislava City Gallery (2005-2007).
Veronika Rónaiová still actively displays her works. For each presentation she prepares an individual project dealing with new problems. Though the principle of interventions into earlier works has been present for more than a decade, her last exhibition REALizations shifts it towards other, very intimate and consistently realized forms. Considering the fact that she did not abandon the painting even in the period when this medium was not preferred in Slovakia, she does not abandon it definitively, she only points out the fact that the painting itself is not sufficient enough to her. Notwithstanding, in her project we can find many hints and deliberately unanswered questions which do not evoke a definite state, but the openness towards the future.