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Mira Podmanická: HERBARIUM

site–specific installation

Artist, exhibition title: Mira Podmanická: HERBARIUM
Venue: Ján Koniarek Gallery, Synagogue – Center of Contemporary Art, Halenárska 2, Trnava
Curator: Lucia Miklošková
Vernissage: 18 June 2019 (Tue), 18:00
Exhibition: 18 June (Tue) – 28 July (Sun) 2019


The essence of Mira Podmanická’s work lies in sculptor’s reflections, the specific attribute of which is the work with space and volume (matter). The materials selected are not typical of sculpturing, solid or permanent, quite the contrary – they are soft and supple, often destining the work to destruction (paper, porcelain, textile, plaster, dried plants). The softness and fragility is a quality of expression closely tied to the author’s works. Through her pieces, Podmanická defines the space, a borderland, between us and the world, between the mental and the physical, the imaginative and the real. We are closely familiar with the sculpted objects (e.g. apartment interiors, landscape sceneries, flowers), and yet the author interprets them as if they exceeded the borders of the world we are facing, as if they got under our skin and became a part of a different, internal world.
The author has been developing the Herbarium cycle since 2013. In the Synagogue, she is presenting it in the most concentrated form so far. It is a collection of dried plants that she attaches to the medium, adding random abstract embroidery. Other times, the embroidery is combined with pen drawing, expanding the body of the plant or analytically scrutinizing the herb's morphology. She does not make distinctions between noble cultivars, medicinal varieties, and weeds. They all embody the omnipresence of the natural world, which is taken for granted and overlooked. Her pieces are symbolically installed at the ground level. If the audience wishes to see it closer, they have to bend down. For the author herself, these herbariums are a sort of written record, a non-chronological journal, a spatial-temporal map consisting of multiple layers. She tracks her movement across the landscape by collecting plants. She puts the plants inside books, forgets them, naturally, only to rediscover them later and bring them back to life.
Podmanická works with the contrasting natures of natural material and mechanical drawing. What was once alive and growing is now fragile and lifeless, while the mechanical drawing comes wildly to life and overgrows the boundaries. These herbariums can also be viewed as Memento mori (reflection on mortality), or even as vanitas (futility), pointing out the elusiveness of moment, where thoughts of death draw attention to the pulchritude of life (or highlight it).

Mira Podmanická works as an assistant professor at the Sculpture, Object, Installation Department of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. She completed her postgraduate and doctoral studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (under the supervision of doc. (Assoc. Prof.) J. Hoffstädter, an academic sculptor). In addition to sculpting, she is interested in ceramics and jewellery design. While creating volume is characteristic of her sculpting, her designs and jewellery are typically created by casting “live” moulds (real, not modelled objects, such as chocolate or flowers).

Lucia Miklošková


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Press Release
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