Present. Present moment. Landscape. Transcendency. Here and now. Then and there. Retrieving the absent. Light. All of these words and sentences may seem to have nothing in common. Nevertheless, they can be found all over the work of a young artist, Lucia Papčová. In Nitra's Nitra Gallery they surface in all of the media she uses to express herself – photography, video installation and object.
The exhibition titled Wind! One Has Heard It a Thousand Times Already begins with a video art piece, accordingly titled Greenery (2017), whose aim is to draw the viewer into the story and the exhibition itself. Lucia uses an authentic event in her video art, while disrupting its narration on purpose. The story is divided, fragmented, its key places (background, environment, the main character) are explicitly absent, deleted or just suggested. The actual landscape, being the artist’s main theme, if often retrieved with abstract words that stimulate the viewer’s imagination – the landscape is then newly recreated in their minds where it takes the same vague, abstract, impalpable, mystic form as in the case of the artist’s photographs. Sound plays a very important role in this process of “retrieving” it.
The element of deconstruction has a different nature in the photography medium. Lucia negates the presence of the material world using specifically positioned cut-outs and achromatic tones that go against the main purpose of photography – to depict. This is the basic concept of her formally clean work. She deletes the landscape in the process of photographing it. She uses it as means or material in order to build an abstract image. The artist responds to our current information abundance by reducing and suppressing the depicted and to the circulation of redundant digital photographs across social media by avoiding post-production and opting for analogue photography. The presented photographies demonstrate a radical shift towards a clean abstract image. The horizon – a fundamental reference to the material world – is missing.
Analogue photography and video are dependent on the physical conditions of our reality which adds another dimension to the artist’s strategy – a performance dimension. The artist often spends several hours in the mountains without any social or cultural interference until the natural elements (light, wind, air, humidity, etc.) are in the perfect constellation. The unpredictable conditions the artist finds herself in give her work the performance dimension. The process of creating the photograph thus becomes a part of the artwork. At the same time it serves as a metaphor of the ideal world we are trying to create, but we always hit an obstacle. The idea that man is subjected to nature is brought into the exhibition concept – a part of the exhibition is illuminated only by daylight. At a certain moment, some of the images become suppressed in the shadows and remain only in the viewer’s mind.
Lucia Papčová (*1987) gained his Bachelor degree at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Then she continued her Masters studies at Akademie der bildenden Kunste in Vienna. At the moment, she is a PhD student at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design. During her first-degree studies, she received a significant award, Essl Award VIG.
Nitra Gallery in Nitra