LUCIA DOVIČÁKOVÁ

Slovakia

Lucia Dovičáková, visual artist based in Košice, has chosen women as a central topic of her work right from its beginnings. She depicts inside, as well as outside reality of present-day (mostly young) women with a maximal sincerity. Her women are faced with multiple life roles and expectations from their vicinity as well as from themselves. She focuses on the conflict point, on the tension between contrast forces, between what is inside and what is outside. The main characters of her narrative paintings are mostly women trying to fit typically woman-like situations but expected harmony is disturbed by an odd, weird, „unheimlich“ element. Dovičáková works with symbolist, not surrealist means of expression, although she may seem surrealistic at the first sight. Situations she describes are not taken from unconsciousness or dreams, they create the conscious part of our everyday thinking and living. What makes them so disturbing is the fact that in our culture or in our private lives, we ignore them, we don´t talk about them or we just present them within schematic patterns. Sexual fantasies reminding sadomasochism, disgust over household duties, fear of being pregnant, menstrual blood and mucous membranes – Dovičáková shows all of these things in a contradictory way. She does not judge, moralize or try to show tabloid news. Through her paintings, she just simply depicts the situations and the emotions which are a part of her own (woman) world.

The tension between the role of a passive victim and an active beast or a contrast between a sexi woman and a submissive housewife are present in most of her older paintings. Her heroins seem like struggling with the man and the woman elements within themselves. It is a fight between a desire of fulfilling traditional roles of a woman/a mother/a family guardian and a desire to act individually - independently from expectations of the society.

Civilization beats bestiality, public morals fight instincts. Another frequently used motive is a mirror that eats up instead of reflecting, it fragments and confuses watching subjects (exclusively women).

The work of Dovičáková bears expressivity, crudeness and sometimes technical imperfection, which can recall „bad painting“ style or art brut which are usually preferred by artists without art education. In the sphere of modern art, this style was used by professionals who consciously refused academic finesse so through atrocious means they can emphasize emotive content. In some aspects, Dovičáková reminds of the modern European art tradition of the first half of 2Oth century. It is a cause of her usage of symbolic (formally surrealistic) means of expression. Her hybrid combinations of female figures with various devices (for example the series of drawings where the figure is trapped in a weird environment combining kitchen and musical instruments), flowers or other objects grown together with the human body (window instead of head etc.) remind of some paintings by Max Ernst or René Magritte.

Paintings of this artist represent woman with inborn „femininity“ who does not exclude „male features“ from her personality. On the other hand, she tries to integrate both polarities so she can be whole human being. She does not search for her patterns of behaviour in the society and mass media, she digs into herself to find the answers. The interconnection between Dovičáková´s paintings and her personal life is unclear, so we cannot be sure of what her future work shall bring. But it is very probable that we are going to witness various surprising transformations.

text:
Alexandra Tamásová