Galéria mladých – Nitrianska galéria, Župné námestie 3, Nitra


The exhibition What connects us separates us is the first individual exhibition project by Monika Pascoe Mikyšková in the premises of the Nitra Gallery, where she presents her recent works created in 2012...


Artist: Monika Pascoe Mikyšková

Opening: Thursday October 25, 2012, at 5.00 pm
Barbora Geržová

Duration: October 25, 2012- November 25, 2012

Venue: Youth Gallery, Nitra Gallery, Župné námestie 3, Nitra, Slovakia

The exhibition What connects us separates us is the first individual exhibition project by Monika Pascoe Mikyšková in the premises of the Nitra Gallery, where she presents her recent works created in 2012. Painting and drawing have been central to her work since she emerged as a young artist. Recently she has started using also other media introducing photography, video, object, and installation in her works.

Her current exhibition is an installation where individual works do not stand on their own, however, they enter into a mutual dialogue open to a deeper analysis as the title of the exhibition What connects us separates us suggests. It offers a viewer a contextual reading that the author focuses on the relationship between a man and a woman and views it as complicated, full of contradictions and often ambiguous one. The exhibition reflects on a vulnerable quality of partnership, on the process of coexistence of between two people and the fact that relationship often faces a number of complex situations sometimes revealing unfulfilled expectations or unexpected behaviour.

Her works draw on her personal experience, daily situations and events that affected her, however, her own intimacy is presented in a very sophisticated way. On one hand she offers the viewer the insight into her own privacy on the other hand she sets limits how far the viewer can go. Although her own subjective feelings are the point of departure for her works she tries to conceptualize her own experience. “I work with my personal experience that I refract through various media. Even though the beginning is purely individual I try to refer to topics understandable to everyone. Therefore I often discuss emotional states and describe the experience that is common to everyone (such as dullness, routine, love, disappointment, fear from the unknown, vulnerability, aging, family, childhood)…” (http://baaf.sk/artists/monika-Mikyšková/)

The exhibition displays a wide variety of media ranging from watercolour paintings through pencil drawings, various types of objects to photography and video. Three watercolour paintings, linked together through the motive of human body, are significantly related to the exhibition topic. Two of them called You are scaring me, I am terrifing you, in spite of their identical titles, are the counterparts. The first one depicts indifferent, fragmentary male bodies presented from the waist down. It is possible to identify them as male figures exclusively on the basis of suggested sex. Female bodies on the other watercolour are depicted in a similar way with the exception that here painting is combined with drawing. This strategy helps the artist to erase the bodies gradually so that the part of them is suggested only in silhouette. Tree roots coming out of women’s legs, an element that can be deciphered as searching for roots, home and stability, serve as an important symbol, in contrast to male bodies, which lack such symbolics. Existential questions underlie both works. The bodies with missing upper parts without physiognomic facial features shift a subjective and intimate story to the realm of anonymity. This relational complexity is already suggested in the title You are scaring me, I am terrifing you. The third watercolour You grew in my… is a synthesis of the two preceding ones. The author develops the same symbolism; it represents a couple that is bound together by a root.

The next part of the installation is a series of several fragile forms evoking egg shells as symbols of a new beginning (e.g. the beginning of a relationship – a new life stage) but also a childbirth.

The family and relationship as subject matters recur in two other works. The object Untitled is a white crib sparingly disassembled in space. The important part of the installation is a series of small drawings 29 days. From the very beginning they were daily commentaries. Every day the author drew “a dairy entry” – the same chair in various positions and from various angles. The date is always an integral part of the drawings. She accomplished the whole series in the last stage of pregnancy and therefore the drawing she had started the day she delivered her baby is unfinished.

Three works, more deliberately related to the examined topic, form the next part of the installation. Romeo does not care, Julia does not seems sad is a series of two photographs taken over from the pages of a German fashion magazine in retro poetics as an advertisement for a design clothing. They are complemented by a bay leaf wreath, which reminds us of a photographic frame. Two worlds are connected here. The first is the world of Romeo and Juliet, the names and the story author borrowed from the classical Shakespeare’s play, where the fatal love ends tragically, and this situation could stand for romantic and pathetic aspects of the work. The second one is the world of fashion magazines that represents the contemporary world. It is the specific selection of the magazine that transforms pathos into irony, and soft sarcasm, and undermines the idea of an ideal couple and relationship.

The leitmotif of the exhibition also resonates in the video Untitled inspired by games for children developing motor skills and touch. The video loop plays a detail movement of iron nails mainly their upper parts where traces of hands and fingers are recorded. The author, fascinated with glossy surface, and metal material of nails, adds thus another dimension to her work.

The object A very abstract object on desire works on a similar principle. Its foundation is the outlined grid with a sprayed black surface in its bottom part, the Malevich black square. There are perforated openings for nails in it through which the author creates structures. There is a lozenge, as a representation of vagina, standing against the abstract pattern. The object is built on material contrasts, on the contradiction between the abstract and specific, the emotional and the rational, the masculine and the feminine.

The complex conceptual installation What connects us separates us by Monika Pascoe Mikyšková thematizes the development of a partnership. Her work, imbued with intuition without naïve, romanticizing or pathetic effects, impresses with its depth – it is very personal, however, the author’s employment of hyperbole or subtle irony helps her to acquire some distance.

Monika Pascoe Mikyšková (1983) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in the Studio lead by Professor J. Berger (2002 – 2003) and in the Studio +-XXL lead by Professor D.Fisher (2003 – 2007). In 2004 she studied at the University of New Castle Upon Tyne in Great Britain and in 2009 she was an artist in residence in Oberpfalzer Kuenstlerhaus in Schwandorf in Germany. She was awarded the 3rd prize in the VUB Bank painting competition in 2007.


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