Vlasta Žáková is one of the most outstanding talents on the Slovak art scene. Her work is characterized by an unusual and innovative use of textiles combined with hand stitching and machine embroidery. She creates expressive scenes “painted with thread”, full of emotionally charged gestures, wild colors and massive stitches resembling strokes of a paintbrush rather than precise and patient embroidery.
Combining that with the use of various kinds of fabrics, threads, ribbons, lace, she creates multi-dimensional space, thus revealing her desire to escape the limitations of her medium to penetrate tangible reality.
Žáková's latest creations consist of a series of works in which she explores various facets of bohemian and decadent nightlife. She finds her inspiration not only in her immediate surroundings, but also captures examples of night life from social media. The very name of her latest exhibition Fragmentarium, is derived from the title of the central work of the series and represents several underlying meanings - fragment, fragile, mental or freakish. Unlike her previous works, here the fragments are connected by strands while leaving open the possibility for growth in terms of the work's size, space as well as the concept.
The internally torn, broken composition highlights the fragmentary nature of individual characters, antagonistic feelings, scattered memories and fading emotions. Through her use of vibrant colors, glittering fabrics and neon lace and threads, the artist pulls the viewer into the ephemeral beauty of the confrontational stories and sensual pleasures she seeks to represent.
The works impart a sensation of flow and movement through the multidimensional layers of fabric. Žáková’s creations have deliberately unfinished fringes, with textiles and threads hanging off the edge of the images as if flowing into space.
Vlasta Žáková is also a virtuoso of contrasts. In her works she brings together the raw beauty of humanity and juxtaposes it with brutality and excesses as well as exhibitionism and daunting intimacy. She uses compositional playfulness and the precision of embroidery, creating scenes of visual roughness using fine embroidery technique.
Žáková’s seemingly lighthearted view of the disco world is a glance into the depth of the human psyche, the soul of man who struggles daily with limitations imposed by society and self. In the composition she captures concepts of love, jealousy, dancing, alcohol inebriation, fights. Dead deer symbolize loss of purity, innocence and love.
Seemingly lighthearted moments in Žáková’s works capture intimate pain, existential absurdity and the psychological troubles of modern society. In the end, even escape from this daily existence to the world of glittering lights and booming music becomes just another trap, another limitation.
Vlasta Žáková (1981) graduated from the Faculty of Arts of the Technical University in Kosice and is currently pursuing her doctoral studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia.