Interview with Bara Jichova by Renwick Heronimo
In reference to Transparencies and Insides
- Considering the influence of art movements such as Constructivism, Suprematism, and propaganda, how would you best describe the impact of these on your own artistic development and within the evolving political landscape of your past?
I am originally from former Czechoslovakia, and some of the influences of growing up in a communist country, were both the aesthetics and the ideas behind Russian movements such as Constructivism and Suprematism. Those movements were subconsciously hammered into people living in the Eastern Bloc. Everything from advertisements, propaganda posters, to films and animations, consisted in one way or another of these movements. Therefore, I am not sure if I chose to favor those art movements or that, they are already part of my blood stream, probably both. I have been living eight years in New York and eleven years in the United States of America, and I often think about the structure of the society I grew up in, the values, the believe system, the options or the lack of them, versus the structure of the western society I live in now. How is it forming or deforming all of us as people. I think growing up in communism and the culture I came from will always permeate into my work one way or other. At least, I hope so; both worlds create interesting contrast to think about.
- In Suprematism the aspect of pure feeling reigns supreme, how would you describe the non- objective meaning of your chosen colors and subject-matter?
Big inspiration for this work was the Hatch House, a cottage build in the principles of Bauhaus on Cape Cod in the 1960s. In my work the actual image of this house disappears and what’s left is just abstracted geometric compositions. I wasn’t so much interested in keeping the image of the house in the work. Some works started that way, but its wasn’t working. I think, because the house is already very interesting and complete as it is. So this archival image of the Hatch House served as one component, the others were photographs from Czech Republic I took. Architecture, streets, one image is a close up of a carp, which is part of the Czech Christmas dinner tradition. In few works, I used pages from old Czechoslovakian DIY book, How To Build Your Own Cottage. When I was growing up, it used to be pretty common to know how to build your own house, basically from scratch. The Hatch House was built the same way, more as a personal project by self-taught builders. So it is in the mix of all those images that result in abstract photographic paintings to me. The architecture, the carp, the colors, the transparencies, mixed together with prints and woodcuts.
- Architecture can be described as the definition of space and meaning, marking territory, creating separation, which can result in anxiety. The reflective encounter with the Hatch House in Cape Cod, an example of Modernist architecture, situated in the natural environment and reflecting upon the balance between architecture and the natural surroundings. How did this experience shape this series of works and in what ways did it reflect the idea of internal and external.
The Hatch House has a very simple geometric design, It’s beautifully intertwined with the landscape. To me, it looks like an abstract spider, a cube, or some futuristic looking factory, sitting majestically on a gigantic piece of land facing the Atlantic Ocean. The landscape plays big role in this particular building and was big part of it when I first saw the house. I understood better the idea, or the feeling, of what it means to be inside this kind of architecture rather than just see it, it was an experience.
- How would you describe the idea of transparencies and insides?
The external to the internal, the insides and transparencies, refer both, to the process of making the works and the idea behind this project. Beginning with, but eventually stripping the works away from the structure (of the house). Thus from the Bauhaus aesthetics, and also away from the visual aesthetics of all the movements into more of an abstraction. Re-photographing and reworking the images several times, I like this idea of reworking your works into infinity. I often used light to illuminate the collages from behind, revealing the construction of the collage from on the other side of the photographs, and again printing them and working on them further. I also like the idea of combining it with prints and woodcuts, perhaps as the symbol of the craft. In few works, I am playing with the interiors and the exteriors of the architecture. The circle cut outs, are to me, like a peeping hole into some other world. Physically manipulating the images, is big part of the work, hands on playing. And perhaps, the transparencies do not just mean the illuminations, which are visible in the work, but also the lack of transparencies in the regime I grow up in, where many of my inspirations were engraved in me.