While still a student at the Art Faculty of the Technical University in Košice, Lucia Dovičáková (born 1981 in Košice) stood out as an exceptional talent of contemporary Slovak visual arts. The sincerity and authenticity of the work of this finalist of the Oskar Čepan Award for 2006 stems from the fact that she doesn’t lack for courage and directness. Her works are brash and bizarre, on the border of good taste, comment provoking. The morphology of her works can be seen within the context of the trend that art history calls bad painting. For Dovičáková, it’s mainly about depicting the story, about the atmosphere and about confronting the viewer with the depicted point. However, the visual language of her pictures also refers to an attitude toward the medium of painting. The artist seeks a succulent painting full of emotions and, in order to achieve her goal, is not afraid to balance on the border of kitsch or use hyperbole; her works can in places seem akin to naive art, caricature or book illustrations. In her strongly autobiographical work she draws from her family’s oral history, memories from childhood and growing up, and is inspired by characters from literature. Women are the main figuresinherart.InthespiritofSimone de Beauvoir’s idea that one is not born a woman, but becomes one in the socialisation process, Dovičáková works with these codes and norms that ascribe to women traditional roles in the public and private life. She is more interested in breaking taboos than in observing rules; she exposes her heroines to delicate situations, unveils “feminine” themes which should not be spoken of, and tests the degree of tolerance toward expressions of otherness. The female body and its transformations related to the process of reproduction play a large role in her work. She thematicizes a feminine sexuality, but also the aging process and the constant need for control and aesthetic modificationstoappearance under the pressure of the prevailing ideal of beauty. While Dovičáková does not perceive her figuresaspassivevictimsof a patriarchal system, she lets them act or draws attention to their inactivity and satisfaction with the state of things. In her most recent works, she humorously reassesses historical figures,women’srolesinpast centuries and heroines from mythology. She zestfully examines the validity of traditional stereotypes and her works unveil archetypes and banality of the female quotidian, which, in comparison with the male world, is still marginalized and called into question.
LUCIA DOVIČÁKOVÁ, Diana, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 130x130cm, photo: archive of the artist.