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Statement / Lenka Holíková

I come from the present Czech Republic, a country that after the World Wars became part of the Soviet Bloc, from which it was liberated after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This stormy time took away the taste of freedom from my territory; on the contrary, "the impossibility" reigned for dozens of years and was embodied in the behavior and thought of its inhabitants. I was born a few years before the fall of the wall, 10 kilometers from Germany; "opening to the West" meant a great change, but also a great confusion and was reflected, at least for me, in a feeling of "not knowing where to go". My country became a territory, where what is old does not end up dying and what is new cannot be built. This particular feeling was etched into my skin and carried in my blood.

My recent production consists of drawings, actions and sculptural objects. I am inspired by the borders of totalitarian countries, specifically former Czechoslovakia, where I was born. These borders were built with meshes, barbed wire, and wooden poles. I extract these various elements; reading them as signs and symbols that later through a formal and conceptual reflection I reinterpret them as four letters: "Y", "T", "X" and "I". These letters acquire different configurations, sometimes random, and in other occasions are structured from proper names (people who lost their lives when trying to cross the border), names of significant places etc.

According to the psychoanalytic concept of Lacanian trauma, the traumatic event is a failed encounter with the real; this encounter does not become part of the psychic configuration, but by a continuous, arduous and suffered process of repetition. This psychic fact can be seen analogically in various "social traumatic" processes: repeating a traumatic fact so that it becomes part of the psychic economy. I return to the signs, returning them from the past and reproducing them by integrating them into the present, trying to restore memories and heal the wounds that remain open in the affected territories and landscapes. It is exactly these territories, these landscapes, silent witnesses, that carry within themselves the "impression" of events that have occurred, events that seem to continue happening.

My means are essentially drawing, engraving and illustration, I use as "motif" the traditional genres of painting: scene, landscape, still life and portrait. Sometimes I use a traditional support, other times my drawing abandons the support to extend over the wall. Sometimes, my line of drawing-builds scenes, landscapes, or faces. Sometimes I splice historical images with present events. I am interested in those events that leave a shadow trace throughout the historical evolution, so I make an interrelation and metaphor from the tonal values of my own drawing: spaces of light and darkness.