Artist: Eva Fajčíková
Title: MOON HARVEST
Venue: The White Room, Prague
Curator: Miroslava Urbanová
The power and force of the Moon including its lunar phases have fascinated mankind for centuries. The Moon has become an integral part of symbolism in different cultures, selected archetypes and continuously reinterpreted stories. The magical power of the moonlight is perhaps most prominent as a backdrop in accounts of the practices of “evil“ witches and their nocturnal escapades.
For Eva Fajčíková, the lunar harvesting of herbs (paradoxically collected at any time other than the full moon), as well as the figures of witches, appeared in her paintings because of her interest in counter-narratives to traditional knowledge in a society that programmatically suppressed women. Women, as the other ones, were for a long time considered inferior, sinful, the cause of man’s fall from grace in the gardens of Eden. Those women who gained power through knowledge of herbs, potions and balms became a threat to the patriarchal status quo. For Eva (sic!), however, powerful women/witches become – at first (traditional) glance unlikable – heroines of her paintings. They are the fearless and sovereign leaders of their destiny in a parallel world that does not judge or attack them based on their identity or their appearance. The linking of the female figure with the lunar cycle does not serve the artist primarily to reduce women to their biological traits (such as period/cycles), but opens the possibilities of expressing through something that transcends rational understanding.
At the same time, Fajčíková eclectically plays with mythology – the goddess of witches, Hekate, is often interpreted as a moon goddess, while the faces of individual figures are covered by a mask or veil as a symbol of inaccessibility and secret. Furthermore, the artist consciously works with the ambivalent symbolism of the jewelry chain / shackles, the sickle for collecting herbs / weapons or the figures of young girls / the fleeting beauty and monetization of everything. The admirable knowledge of the witches about the effects of various herbs ironically alludes to the compositions of figures taken from fashion magazines, which seek to convey the illusion of achieving eternal youth precisely in the form of miraculous ointments and potions. Long before the wellness industry was monetized, ointments were indeed subversive tools for rites of passage, their hallucinogenic effects were symbolic gateways to an imaginary flight outside the body. What goddesses do we praise today when we apply retinol cream at night, what do we pray for? Fajčíková enjoys developing a connection between the visual experience of the atmosphere she is trying to portray and the tangible and perceptible materiality. This is why her paintings are green, flowery and potentially poisonous, accompanied by a deliberately not appealing limited edition of fragrance. Also, the very base of her paintings is not what one would guess at first – it is largely a paper mounted on wooden panels. It is something fragile, archaic and yet cunning. Beneath the seductive veil of archetypal figures, there is a mirror in which we can take the obligatory selfie or see our creative potential far beyond the boundaries of procreation, into which the updated version of patriarchy is still trying to lure us by all available means.
Eva Fajčíková (1990) is a painter, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, whose work focuses on two main themes: figurative work and video games. In the figurative part of her work, she combines elements of pre-existing mythologies, folklore and spirituality to create a hybrid world that explores the complexity of female characters. The figures are often inspired by fashion magazines, particularly Italian Vogue, of which she is an avid collector. Her other interest is in the field of platform games that explores archetypal places such as ruins, forests, portals, etc. Each image becomes an individual level in a fictional game that the viewer can navigate through visually. There is also a computer game that uses the artist‘s paintings, thus completing the circle of digital and analogue inspirations. Miroslava Urbanová (1991) is an independent curator. Currently, she works as the head of the Medium Gallery in Bratislava. She holds a master’s degree in Art History from the University of Vienna and Comenius University in Bratislava. As an art critic, she contributes mainly to Slovak art magazines and participates in the editing of the feminist newsletter Kurník. The project is implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the City of Prague, the State Fund of Culture of the Czech Republic and the Municipality of Prague 9.