Intervention #9: Romana Drdová
The works by Romana Drdová are inspired by current societal themes as well as by her intimate experience of emotions and relationships among people. Installed in a sensitive and intuitive way, objects of daily use as well as abstract shapes create material compositions inducing a specific state of mind in the viewers leading to a contemplation of the presented themes, whether these include the specific relationship between modern technology and the human body and its impact on our lives or physical and mental health care.
Romana Drdová’s exhibition held at Liberec Regional Gallery presents her new work, loosely following up on her previous body of work, introduced at the Jindřich Chalupecký Award Final 2017 exhibition in Brno, while also based on her residency in Antwerp, Belgium in early 2018.
Romana Drdová (1987) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Studio of New Media I / Tomáš Svoboda School). She also went to several exchange programs, e.g. at Korea National University of Arts in Seoul and at the studios of visiting professors Florian Pumhösel and Nicole Wermers at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Her work, often in the media of object, photography and installation, is characterized by a specific pure aesthetic, even transparency and work with light, matter and emptiness combined with specific materials and processes which are inspired by the context of visual arts as well as by fashion, technology and design. The artist makes a sensitive and metaphorical commentary on the theme of perception and human interaction at the time of “data smog.“ She has introduced her work primarily in Czech independent institutions (solo exhibitions at Prague’s MeetFactory and Karlin Studios) as well as at the National Gallery in Prague and internationally in Vienna, Berlin and Liège, Belgium.
The physical body is a base for the awareness of our individuality and identity. It delimits the existence within ourselves as well as towards the external world which we experience through our body and where we function thanks to our body. Experiencing our own corporeality and reflecting on what it would be like to experience the world through somebody else’s skin, muscles and nerves; these are intrinsic to people of all genders, nationalities and races. Curiosity as to whether others perceive the environment we share like we do or whether the world is different in their eyes makes us want to get out of our body at least for a little while, shed our regular identity and try being someone else. We mask ourselves in various ways, we behave differently according to the roles we take on, and thus we change our image not only in terms of how others see us but also how we see ourselves. In its literal physical form as well as in its figurative metaphorical sense, the mask is a tool for changing our identity – even if only temporarily – as well as for revealing how we perceive ourselves.
Objects bordering on abstract structures and fetishes combine allusions to ritual tools and masks. The presence of an exciting video spot induces an atmosphere of a special boudoir where we can try being whoever we want and probe the layers of our consciousness and subconsciousness as deep as we want.
Though hesitant at first, the desire to experience the unknown unfolds courageously. It is a desire to immerse ourselves in the sea of sensual perceptions with no space left for thoughts which could be formulated in particular words; to reach a state where the rational construct of language dissipates and where we can only express what is going on through intuitively formed symbols, colors and shapes. During the process, we can hear in our mind a sexy pop song just as well as rhythmic drumming inducing a meditative trance preceding a ritual dance of an indigenous tribe whose echo reverberates somewhere deep in our collective memory formed at the times when words were not important or did not yet exist. We get back to our body, to our own private universe in which our “self“ is heaving and whirling. The fear whether our desires and feelings correspond to what we should feel and what we should be like in today’s society dissolves. What remains is an intensive experience of the present moment which is to be enjoyed fully.