Ivana Sláviková — Cervus Elaphus (Red Deer) 1,2

For Sláviková’s artwork, the action of touching is one of the most defining characteristics of her oeuvre.


Art. Inv. No.: F-135, F-136

Artist: Ivana Sláviková
Title: Cervus Elaphus (Red Deer 1/2), Cervus Elaphus (Red Deer 2/2)

Year of origin: 2011
Technique: embroidery, drilling
Material: galvanised metal sheet, cotton thread
Dimensions: 48 × 48 cm each
Signature: backside, on the metal frame, carved: I.S. 2011

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Cervus Elaphus / Red Deer consists of two separate metal sheet squares. They are mirror images of an embroidered deer in a forest, inspired by traditional folk embroidery. Similarly to all her other works, the artist combines many opposites in this piece: tradition and contemporariness, masculinity and femininity, private and public, soft and hard.

The work is paradoxical from the point of view of both material and content. Galvanised sheet metal – contemporary, hard, cold and industrial – is perforated by drilling, a crude intervention into the material. We can perceive this intervention as a “masculine” approach to sculpture, which used to be stereotypically viewed as a domain of male artists in the past. On the other hand; embroidery using a soft cotton thread, coloured pink, refers to a stereotypically female handicraft, as well as to the artist’s personal mythology; that being the cross pattern that she used originates in the region where she was born, and embroidery was her family’s tradition. For Sláviková’s artwork, the action of touching is one of the most defining characteristics of her oeuvre. Touching is not just allowed, but expected and encouraged, since it provides the viewer with another level of sensory perception and reading of each piece. A fusion of two materials that are so different gives the viewer a visual experience as well as an interesting haptic one.

People have been depicting deer since the Palaeolithic period, such as in the Lascaux cave in France for example. A deer – the king of the forest, was an iconic mythological animal in many cultures all over the world, and a symbol of the strength of nature, fertility, wisdom and nobility. The Scythians regarded him as the guide who led the dead to the other world, his antlers were used as medicine and an aphrodisiac in China, Korea and Siberia. The Deer plays a part in ancient Greek mythology as well as in Christian culture (a deer with a cross between his antlers as an attribute of St. Hubert); and in folk tales (traditional Slovak tale “Brother Deer”). Roaring deer, hunting scenes, forest sceneries with wild animals and similar genre motifs, which were hung in the living room of every proper member of the petite bourgeoisie a hundred years ago, have gradually become symbols of kitsch. However, contemporary post-modern art has rediscovered this motif, intentionally using its visual and contentual potential.

Ivana Sláviková was born in Hnúšťa in 1981. In 2002-2008, she completed her studies at the Department of Sculpture, Faculty of Fine Arts at the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica, in the Sculpture, Surface, Space Studio, later the Sculpture and Applied Media Studio, under the leadership of doc. Juraj Sapara, akad. soch. In 2008-2011, she completed her doctoral studies at the same studio. She went on a few study stays at the Akademia Sztuk Pieknych (Academy of Fine Arts) in Wroclaw and at the Akademie Výtvarných Umění (Academy of Fine Arts) in Prague. In 2010, she was awarded the Martin Benka Prize for 2009 and in 2012, she was awarded the Slovak Union of Visual Arts Prize at the Biennale of Slovak Free Visual Art. Since 2013, she has held the position of Head of the Department of Sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica.

Omar Mirza
December 2015

This acquisition has been supported using public funds provided by the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.