Intervention #20: Marie Lukáčová
At Liberec Regional Gallery, Marie Lukáčová displayed her previous music videos in a series screened in a comfortable lounge designed in a style that matches the videos. Using a language that is both rough and poetic, Lukáčová addresses urgent social themes such as ecology, feminism and cash flow. Please note that the melodies and powerful lyrics may get in your head for quite a long time!
Marie Lukáčová (*1991, Opava) graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design and has also studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology and at Kunstakademie Mainz in Germany. She is one of the founders of the Fourth Wave feminist group which initiated public debate on sexism at universities in 2017. She works primarily in the media of video and video installation; her films transform symbols borrowed from the fields of politics, mythology, geology and science. They move across various time levels and locations, addressing the questions of uncertain future through specific narratives and poetics. Lukáčová has introduced her work primarily on the Czech independent gallery scene as well as in Wrocław, Ljubljana and Stuttgart.
Marie Lukáčová is not a “nice girl.” This is how her body of work may make you feel. As a person, Marie is exceptionally warm-hearted, reliable, open, caring, and a joy to work with. However, in her work, she definitely does not embody the prototype of a “good girl” obeying the authorities and passively succumbing to their will. In other words: she actively disrupts the stereotypical notions of how women should behave and what roles they should (or can) play.
For her exhibition at Liberec Regional Gallery, Marie created a series using her previous music videos (or music fragments from longer films), adding a simple installation playing upon her aesthetic while pointing out her beginnings as a painter (in the form of a mural). Marie Lukáčová studied at several painting studios at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology and graduated from the Supermedia Studio at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, and her current work is based on her intermedia background. Video became her main medium, both in the context of the art world and in the field of activism, for its emancipatory character, as it is easy to spread (unlike classic paintings) among large numbers of people, and as it is a visual form that is familiar to contemporary audiences who encounter it on a daily basis (unlike classic paintings). However, at the same time, Marie sees her work with video as an organic development of her work as a painter, as a next stage of dealing with the image, while still using 3D and 2D animation and various special effects in her videos. Rather than creating attractive images, she strives to share certain content, a message that is mostly based on a highly personal experience, even inspired by her dreams, while transcending to the collective experience and society-wide issues, especially the position of women and the ecological crisis, which is perceived by the artist as directly linked to the logic of capitalism and the patriarchy.
Featuring videos created between 2017 and the spring of 2020, the series captures the development of the artist’s visual language as well as the transformation of the music element and the addressed themes. Recurrent motifs include the (female) body and the landscape – two entities shown by Marie Lukáčová as interconnected (both symbolically and factually). The artist gradually becomes more independent, also in the process of creating the audio element, performing her own songs. She naturally adopts the genre of rap, which is in a way inclusive towards unschooled singers, while enabling the artist to actively employ its cultural and social connotations. Lukáčová draws on pop culture, follows the latest development of the genre, works with what’s cool in an almost exalted way, and definitely does not avoid vulgarisms and sexisms characteristic of rap. However, that does not make her a “bad girl” yet. A certain roughness and obscenity are typical even for female figures in mainstream rap; which, however, is still dominated primarily by (macho) men, while women who are successful in this field mostly succumb to self-objectification which is in demand in this context. The meta-level of Lukáčová’s revolt against the notion of a “good girl” lies primarily in her critique of power structures and social inequality. In her lyrics, she addresses corporeality and rejects the normative body ideal in favor of body positivity, discusses female sexuality and alternative erotic relationships, explores the origins of economic inequality, and addresses our relationship to nature and particular topics like mining, industrial agriculture and drought. However, these topics do not stick out a mile in these eclectic texts combining dialect, English terms and Czech neologisms, and even assuming the character of modern poetry.
Lukáčová’s success lies in her really catchy songs and memorable music videos which may attract you and get in your head; however, they will always have something disturbing and non-compromising to them, something which will either make you want to suppress it or eventually give you food for thought. One could say that in this respect, her videos are also like dreams, transforming various traumas and frustrations into a seemingly less painful form, while paradoxically bringing the true causes of these traumas to light