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Author: Emoke Vargová
Mirbach Palace (show Contact)
11. 9. 2018 - 28. 10. 2018
Curator: Zora Rusinová

Holiday impressions of summer resorts atmosphere and observations from the hotels have inspired Emőke Vargová to create a series of works that, at the first glance, can be hard to categorise. Are they pictures? Objects? Reliefs? Mental maps? Perhaps a little bit of everything. They are a sort of picture stories in which the individual visual memories have been approached from a certain distance and transformed by the artist´s characteristic sense of humour and irony. The stories play out on a textile background. Just like in Christian Morgenstern´s poem, “the clothing went outside the wardrobe”, or at least men´s jackets did, which Emőke bought in a second-hand store, recycled and “cultivated” as a basic artistic material. The jacket, basically a uniform piece of clothing intended for formal occasions and ranging from elegance to a poor taste and kitsch, is perceived by the artist as an expression of the effort to show oneself in the best possible way, to integrate into “high” society. The artist sees the jacket as a symbol of snobbery of people who have a habit of “dressing up” and “going out” in the evening during their seaside holiday.

     The individual works were born from the integrity of intellectual activity and patient handiwork. Although they are based on artist´s photographs, the photos only serve as a primary record of visual phenomena and events. With the sense of analogies of shapes, the artist is shifting the records, unified by the realization of various mystifications and clichés linked with advertising proclamation of luxury and well-being, towards new associations of meanings provided by not only her own imagination but also the material itself: type and cut of the jacket, colour, pattern, texture and structure of the fabric, individual textile parts such as seams, different types of lining, pockets stitched shut and turned inside out, buttons, holes, decorative elements, corporate logos and information on the brand, quality, care and maintenance, etc. Subsequently she is stitching together dress materials of different patterns and making artistic interventions in the form of backstitched lines, a stitched drawing with threads and knots hanging loose, painted surfaces, linings of different colour and textual quotations of advertising slogans, which often serve a funny punch line of the story (for instance, Reception, Conference). Syntactic harmony of all relief, plastic and planar signs, which shows affinity with visual poems, also determines a semantic level of artist´s works.

     Vargová´s pictures-objects seem to create two mutually overlapping layers. The first layer is represented by a primary pattern derived from observations of the surroundings, the exterior or the interior, its aesthetic and functional parameters. The second layer is a result of a relatively autonomous process of abstraction in which the mapping of reality is interiorized into mental images; it is the layer that fills the space with artist´s personal experience. The artist has a gift to reveal new forms and new signs; in a design of the door of Hron hotel with an embroidered text evoking graffiti, for instance, she also offers Klee-esque features with a nose, eyes and eyebrows. All she needs is a lining of a back side of the jacket, seams turned inside out, incorporated pieces of lining and a stitched linear contour drawing. In this way, one meaning is put into another, supporting and supplementing one another. Sometimes the artist employs the effect of reflection; the element is recurring in a textile application of different colours and patterns (e.g. furnishing of an entrance hall in the work Orchid). By contrast, the reflection in the picture Pool helps the artist to deceive the viewer, as the upper part with an embroidered figural motif of a female figure turns, through the reflection in the lower part, into an ornament of a toadstool evoking water contamination. In the composition Dining Room the artist literally paints in material: by combining several structures and colours of textile and a stitched contour drawing she transforms a glass-walled facade of the hotel viewed from below into a geometric raster using the surfaces of foundation fabric like the light reflections. On the other hand, the level of abstraction through embroidered contour drawing sometimes reaches such an extent that we can get completely lost, until we notice a clue in the form of a realistic detail. We may think that we are looking at a large, mysterious formula or a board covered with difficult codes and ciphers (e.g. Coffee). The scene Decorations looks abstract, too, until we realise that the artist builds up the impression of space through putting emphasis on the rhythm of embroidered hanging lights of decorative chain. All sceneries represent little worlds in themselves, with their own time and space, with a specific language of signs and metaphors, where the surface is also defined by parts of the inside, either admitted or turned outside, and on the contrary. With physiognomic features standing for a human, the jacket like a trendy article with a promiscuous social identity becomes the index of the two sides of a marketing strategy of tourism: what we should and should not see.

     However, we are not confronted with a didactic explanation, even though the one spiced with irony. We are compelled to decipher individual works by ourselves and to discover, under the surface of observational records of often banal situations, the symptoms of customs and practices relating to gender, taste or consumerism we usually follow in our everyday life.

                                                                                                                                                       Zora Rusinová



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Emoke Vargová

Other exhibitions/actions

Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Author: 25 rokov Ceny Oskára Čepana
Curator: Nikolas Bernáth
22. 7. 2021 - 17. 10. 2021
Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
Author: Juraj Gavula
Curators: Matej Gavula a Vladimíra Büngerová
30. 6. 2021 - 24. 10. 2021
Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
1. 5. 2021 - 31. 12. 2021

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Pohľad z hradu Starhemberg
Author: Moritz Saint Genois
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