Obscure Territories

Eliška Kováčiková solo exhibition at Detroit Stockholm

25 November – 7 December 2022

In the middle of a city, in the middle of an art gallery, you are standing and visually grasping the complex installation structure in front of you. While performing this activity you are exploring an obscure territory. An uncertain, not yet discovered or known place. Structures formed from an amalgame of visible and hidden elements, where not only their physical presence but their absence are also captured by Eliška Kováčiková. Territories, where the space occupied by visible components is just as present and essential as the negative space in between those components.

Being interested in urban landscapes, this show is Eliška’s most recent experiment and another chapter of her long-term engagement with space analysis. In this particular case, the scaffold serves as the point of departure. Scaffoldings are temporary structures that surround buildings under the process of construction or renovation in order to support and ensure the safety of the workers. They are frequently present and dominate the towns’ views, but they have no other but temporary meaning or significance in the fabric of the city. These monstrous assemblies are flexible, adaptable, easy to install and dismantle.This inner dynamism—creation and destruction, disappearance, appearance, transformation—have fascinated and inspired the artist both formally and conceptually. The resulting artworks scrutinise further the scaffold and its shape and symbolic layers. Discover its essence through two visually distinctive but thematically connected exhibition parts both displaying artworks specifically created for this occasion.

The first part to encounter is a large-scale site-specific installation created from recycled wood slats of a house exterior wood cladding and reflective film foil. The piece appears and disappears, dominating and invading the gallery walls at the same time. It is
resembling a scaffold in the moment of transformation – highlighting its shape-changing in becoming nothing from something, and vice versa. The heaviness of the material, the smell of the wood are all there, just like the emptiness in-between and the curiosity of the unknown and invisible. The film foil gently stretched on the wooden structure leaves obscurity and suspense, whether it is covering or revealing something through reflection.

The second part consists of concrete blocks, each of them carrying a distorted image of an urban landscape. The ink is absorbed by the material and becomes one with it. The blockseries displays different stages of the same image, an interplay between positive and negative, visible and invisible, between form and non-form. A form as it used to be disappears, while the former non-form becomes form.

Through diversity of form, mediums and content, Eliška creates a unique possibility to not only look but also understand moments of transformations and never-visible states. A pause to stand still and be surprised by obscure territories in the middle of a city, in the
middle of an art gallery.

Text by Edit Fándly