Lucie Šiklová - Shedding of Skin

text for the expert media to the exhibition of Irena's Collection Series
10. 6. 2007 – 21. 11. 2007, Czechoslowakian Pavillon, Giardini di Biennale, Venice, Italy, February 2007

A snake shed its skin in order to be able to grow. From this is leaded a symbolic potential of snake shading as an act of renewal.

Before shedding old skin is separated from a new one,which is larger and more flexible and prepared under the old one. The old skin is dying and a gekon take off it in gatters very skillfully and immediately it eats own skin shreds. If there occur problems with shedding of skin, it always means that something is wrong.

In human history, this symbol occurs repeatedly. It is present in the rebirth rituals, and through them we can find it in art. Like the Apostle Bartholomew, or holding his own removed skin, he presents himself Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, and from this it stretches in time many artists used or will use the iconographic motif with removed skin connecting its general symbolic content with a personal ritual.

The second birth cannot be performed without the knowledge and soul turnover to itself – with every genesis (birth) corresponds an exegesis (interpretation). Installing Collection – Series can be interpreted just as a ritual bridge connecting the personal and collective experience.

The collection – a complete cast of a concrete human surface though its death morbidity still a very beautiful woman's body preserved in a perfect box of reliquary highlights the personal side of the story. Series – mass production of unlimited number of such casts stacked in boxes interferes at the same time the experience of uniqueness and together with persistently emergent idea of a conveyer belt in a factory hall refers to a common content of the story. Although there is used as a main way of expression a female body it does not contain distinct gender focus. The crux of the matter is the artist’s own body, from which was removed a form for creation of the cast, but paradoxically it was casted and subsequently is exposed just the surface and the core of it is missed. In the ceremonial sarcophagus occur something what had been left, a surface and boundaries, which at this time are no longer valid. The body, which was inside, received a new chance.

Liberation from the captivity of the matter world, however, finds in the installation itself a strict contrast just with the matter that is used with cold perfection to sketch the luxury of shop, which sumptuousness is in the perfect simplicity and austerity of form and line. In the central cylindrical glass case, instead of a precious perfume bottle finds itself a alabaster milky translucent cast of the artist skin, side show cases contain once again casted arms and legs.

The removed skin is milky translucent, dry and slightly rustles. Pigments, thanks to them an animal is colourful, are put in the deeper layers of the skin. You can find in it drawings of all of the squama, bulges and protuberances, delicate membranes that cover the eyes, and even four complete gloves..

Deadliness, emptiness, the absence of a physical body and a soul dwelling in it counterbalance the impression of material wealth and from a different point of view at the same time it is created here the impression of a kind of mausoleum. Morbidity along with the cold perfection evoke image of the alchemist's ho­munculus from Kunstchamber of the Rudolf II court. According to C. G. Jung, alchemy can be understood as a projection technique of unconscious human processes. The nature of a human soul seeks for the wholeness and alchemy bears all the signs of individuation. Work that takes place in the alchemist's cru­cible is a vision, an imagination and creates images between sleep and wake. Its consequence is the adept transformation by integration of unconscious archetypes operating (here) as mentioned (here) symbols, with the conscious self.

Shedding of skin may be undermined by a lack of certain substances in the body, stress or infestation by parasites. Sometimes an animal refuses to eat the old skin; it is – if it is too dirty or contaminated with various substances, or simply because of the inattention, a momentary excitement, or interest in other food like. Such scraps then simply remove from the terrarium and discard.

At the development of Irena’s art works is more evident how concentrated as an alchemist she works on materializing of her vision and question formulations that come from the depths of her own soul. However, once these intimate, fragile and vulnerable contents get off beyond the soul, which can be understood here as a protective space inside, they take on abstract forms at first sight and touch. The second view, then these forms attracted by their cold, the skin cast by more or less perceived morbidity and perfectionism of basically slightly powerless perversion. Statement about the own artists who all Irene's „things“ undoubtedly bear, as also she consciously and, surprised – unsurprised, we find sometimes from the temporal distance

From the imaginary space own soul came two-dimensional works, found themselves in a three-dimensional ones, shaded a skin, „to be able to grow.“ From a distance, the turn is on fourth space of Irena Jůzová.

Lucie Šiklová