Martina Vítková - Veil

author text to the exhibition
Benátky's Canvas, Karlovy Vary, 12. 10. 2012

Nanotechnology has more common with religion than we think. Both of them are surrounded by mystery both of them offer something what can be called a miracle. With transcended miracles as wells as with nanotechnologies we have a little experience, that is the reason why we use the word “believe“ while referring to them. The possibilities of nanoparticles are unbelievable, from health, to industry, to fashion and beauty. Irena uses a snow white nano web, which is part of without paining disappearing bandages. In the canvas, one can see a human face, a non clear author’s appearance created by printing to a handkerchief and transferring it to a metal matrix. An imprint is never procedurally clear, in every imprint there are intertwined chance, and technique, týché and techné. The one who uses a imprint, he gives up government of artwork designing process. A chance we can take as something irrational, when to the art it came something, what is more than a human, what is nature or maybe the God. The imprint makes present non-present and this can be Buddha steps, steps of Jesus Christ or Saints. It is unbelievable how much devotion can be arisen in an empty area and a place of a touch, an interface between matter and sacred emptiness, a surface touched by divinity, whose aura we suspect still at that place.

Nanoimprints of own face are in the Irena’s works continuation with the work with imprints, relicts and further development of the theme skin, reliquary and an interference between a human and external world. The connection of imprints with the theme of veil, sudarium is the next part of the author’s fasci­nation by the world mystery, interest in unexplainable secret between heaven and Earth. Except of the unclear touch of sacred beings, there belongs also the power and energy of a place.

However, even more was impressed the artist by intersections of two worlds, scientific and religious. In photographs from scientific tests of the Turin Canvas are the most important scientists equipped by the NASA technologies, next to them there are spiritual people, cardinals and papal commissioners. Each group expect from analyzes something else, but what they have in common is curiosity, a fully human desire to solve the mystery, while confidence in the cognitive ability of science. Faces at the veil from Manoppelo and at the Turin Canvas were created by a photochemical procedure as it if we deal with the real photography of Jesus Christ. It would be wonderful, if the print of the Jesus face full of wound or cleared after the Resurrection would be claimed as authentic. But it would be also an end to fascination that provokes to important consideration: What is really valuable for a human? The author likes to uses technology and contemporary science methods, but she uses them metaphorically. Her latest work, Irena Jůzová called in a paraphrase on the Turin canvas the Benátky’s Canvas. She created it in Benatky. Other series are smaller self-portraits in four variations. The imprint of her face is a kind of self-portrait, in terms of exploring herself, adjusting of a mirror, because one cannnot live without reflection. The image does not bear the traces of a brush; it is created by a device for electrospinning nanofibers. Just nanofiber can create equally fine and clear dia-effect of image, which can be seen ob both sides. But here, it is not the imprint of the Son of God or Mother of God , it is the imprint of the author.

The important part of Irena’s work is names. She alternates from cold business marketing dictionary / The Price Is Clearly Set / with poetic drama / Mamma mia , That Boy Is Everything to Me. This unlikely contrast reflects the ambivalence of the author’s and indeed our world. Is a difference between the concepts of value and price really so clear that it we can always distinguish it? It is a game that the author offers in the form of sophisticated riddles and equations with several unknowns.

If we use the deductive method of Sherlock Holmes, we will find the motif under the so different names. Sudarium denotes a sweat towel, a handkerchief. To this is related the story of Veronica's merciful act, when she received the copy of Jesus Christ face at the towel, when he came with the cross to Golgotha. Economical relation without sentiment seems to bear the next title. If we pay a high price for someting which can be paid by money, we recese it cheaply. Plain Copy is an expression of scepsis which is based on empiric met world. Quote from the song is the most personal. If there is anything like health, love, life or belief to a man everything, how we could assign a price to it? This is probably beyond the border of money power. Beyond rational scepsis, beyond duty, in the field of belief, hope, life poetry and maybe also a miracle.

Religion is not only a habitual behavior, such as going to church; it is connected at a deeper level with faith, identity and non – cognitive aspects of life, such as feelings. It is interesting that the focus of cultural wars is a human body. While previously the Church engaged within smoking and drinking, now the front line of discussions are eugenics, body in connection with genetic engineering, abortion, pornography and the rights of homosexuals and lesbians. In technical terms, it is still easier to interfere with a human body and change it, which is in line with consumer focus on shaping a perfect body. Personal identity is closely connected with the body and finds itself at stake whenever the body issues from condoms after cloning – become to be controversial.

One of the scariest contemporary issues is the manipulation with human mind, which with self-portrait as seeing own is closely connected. From this point of view, the faces revealed in a web receive forms of wrathful gods as if it was a memento mori.

In the series of sudarium and Benátky’s canvas we deal with one face, one body and different type of imprint as if more realities would exist. The fragibility of undestroyability, which nanofiber abounds, is also a soul, future expression: what it was, what is it and what is going to be, and what we can find blind undescirbing looks of imprints. The desire, future should have a soul. The time, which is just going to be, would not be soulles.

Martina Vítková