Em├Âke Vargov├í (* 1965)
You’re Sitting on My Brain, 2001
mixed media, object, height 67 cm, ├ś 107 cm
from the collection of from the collection of the Museum of Art in ┼Żilina
acquired by purchase from the artist in 2010
The fact that the artist entered the scene around the mid 1990’s is only a basic identifier of her work, which ranks her among the women artists who shifted the hitherto latent, in our circumstances of art before 1989 also problematicly perceived, category of feminist art to the new updated coordinates. It was a period when the tendency of post-feminist art, which is considered one of the developmental stages of feminism – intensified in Slovak visual arts as well – one that rejects their radical language and emphasizes gender discourse in art. As in the case of her generational companions, E. Vargov├í’s work deals with this category in an analytical and, in her case, certainly also in an ironic way.
Em├Âke Vargov├í’s work is characterized by essential femininity. It is definitely coded in the selection of materials from which the author realized the objects and installations. These are soft, non-sculptural and transparent materials (especially wax, textiles, plastic, paper), but also its creation in the late 90.s and early zero years (including the work from PMI III display) appeared thinking about the functionality of things and the boundary between art and functionality – also because she realized several objects / furniture that carried a significant element of personification – e.g. a series of furniture “dressed” in clothes. The Medusa (2000) object, presented in the At Home Gallery in ┼áamor├şn, also dates from this period – it was an oversized “chandelier” sewn from a number of bras, “floating” in a blue-lit space – in the first sense as a reference to women in the synagogue, who could be present only in the so-called upper gallery. In that period, the artist’s self-referential approach became apparent, thinking about the (im) possibility of a universal individual, in which skills traditionally understood as female and male would coexist. By appropriating those belonging to the “stronger sex”, she created the Lagerfeld (2001) installation as part of the (in) time exhibition at PGU in ┼Żilina, where she inserted various small objects associated with d.i.y. (wires, sheet metal parts, pliers and other tools) into geometric composition into the plaster wall or the installation Fell! (2003), where she left a (provocatively) drilled drill in the wall after describing part of the clock face.
Object / stool You are Sitting on my Brain with its precise upholstery processing – again, there is a reflection on the functionality of art, but also a “feminine” effort to improve and aestheticize efficiency. The statement “you are sitting on my brain” can be deciphered as a fragment from an imaginary battle of the sexes – a clash of the worlds of a man and a woman with typical codes of thought, which is characterized by a degree of presumed mutual (mis) understanding. The object was created for the exhibition New Connection (2001) in NG in Prague, where the winners of the TONAL award (now the Oskar ─îepan Award) and its Czech equivalent of the Jind┼Öich Chalupeck├Ż Award exhibited.