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ARTWARSAW 2024

MAY  16 - 19, 2024

LUCIA TALLOVA

NADA VILLA WAR

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LUCIA TALLOVA

Fragility of Caryatid

 

Eager to know what was the cause of my bitter and stormy distress,

she soothed me with gentle soothing words of persuasion and gentle speech,

and such speech was the best that could be done to bring me back to myself,

and my body, which was already beginning to crumble and disintegrate,

was resurrected again. 

Francesco Colonna, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.

The Strife of Love in a Dream 

...did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely;

all this must go on without her; did she resent it;

or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely?

but that somehow in the streets of London, on the ebb and flow of things,

here, there, she survived, Peter survived, lived in each other, she being part,

she was positive, of the trees at home; of the house there, ugly,

rambling all to bits and pieces as it was; part of people she had never met;

being laid out like a mist between the people she knew best,

who lifted her on their branches as she had seen the trees lift the mist,

but it spread ever so far, her life, herself. 

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway 

 

Lucia Tallová's solo exhibition Fragility of Caryatid brings images of women as fragile hybrid beings, petrified into a façade or pediment, in a total site-specific installation in the Rosenfeld Palace in Žilina. As sculptural elements of architecture, caryatids served as pillars of ancient buildings. They were usually depicted as standing figures and half-figures that seemed to carry the weight of the entire structure on their heads or shoulders. According to a story by the Roman architecture writer Vitruvius, the caryatids represented the women of Carya who were condemned to hard labour because the city sided with the Persians during their second invasion of Greece in 480 BC. The most famous example is the porch of the Caryatids at Erechtheum with six figures (420-415 BC) on the Acropolis of Athens. Caryatid is now the universal metaphor of a woman who feels burdened or tired by the expectations placed on her by society, family, relationships and the complexities of contemporary life. Tallová's exhibition project, based on her Unstable Monuments series, is also a historicizing tribute to women as caryatids. They have shouldered the sometimes too heavy weight of responsibility not only for the tasks in their own environment in the perspective of an extremely volatile, rapidly changing world, threatened in particular by climate catastrophe and war conflicts. According to Greek legend, the women of Carya were punished for the iniquity and betrayal of their entire nation, so that the Caryatids figuratively bear the burden of sin for others. As many female heroines of the past, they are in a way both alive and dead. Tallová has created a kind of procession of memorials in sculptural objects, paintings, collages and assemblages that transcend a kind of hagiographic eroticism in their amorphous monstrous hybridity whose at times almost menacing beauty is an invocation of both Eros and Thanatos. 

To a large extent, the artist's project is also a personal confession, expressing her deep inner presence in the contemplation of her pictorial structures. If every woman's existence is, in fact, a traumatized existence as Shoshana Feldmann argues, even a woman's crypto-autobiographical expression can only be a testimony to survival that "seeks to bear witness to both the living and the death – the dying – that survival entails." 

The self-reflectedness of the exhibition as such is also manifested in its genre, as the authority of both the patriarchal hiererarchy and the canon of art history is questioned here because of their irrelevance to contemporary issues and themes. Since the canon is necessarily exclusive, demands for its revision often take the form of a call to extend it to others, in this case women not only as objects but also as subjects of artworks. Thus, iconoclastic destabilizing operations with found images and objects have a deeper significance in the artist's working methods. They upset the sediments of materials as layers of memory with the breeze of change. For, as Virginia Burrus writes, some of the fumes of the past have proved poisonous, "unleashed in many crimes of passion, homophobic, sexist, racist, ethnocentric, nationalist, religious. Other, slightly more sacred breezes can blow in our direction – and they can take our breath away." 

 

Lucia G. Stach 

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FRAGILITY OF CARYATID

INSTALLATION

MIXED MEDIA

2023

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FRAGILITY OF CARYATID

collage, assamblage

55 x 40 cm

framed

2023

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Fragility of Caryatid

assamblage

object

2023

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