Artists Jarmila Mitríková and Dávid Demjanovič, now based in Prague and Košice, had their breakthrough in the Slovakian art scene after they graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in 2011 with their paintings created through pyrography. A traditional technique in which one burns motives into plywood and colors it with wood stains. Their use of pyrography forms a direct reference to a folk amateur art, being the most popular technique during socialism in the former Czechoslovakia. In their case it is not only the reinvented visual attraction they are working with, but mostly a medium through which they are joining a critical discours with different cultural contexts. Mitríková and Demjanovič’s art inhabits elements of folklore, through religion and mysticism typical for geopolitic region of Central Europe, to national history and identity all translated into a dark aesthetic. We are particularly drawn to their most recent works in which the duo has created extraordinary ceramics with a haunting political, mystical and ritualistic mood.
In the duo’s hybrid style you can see christian traditions, folklorism, pagan rituals, superstitions, myths, local legends with links to World War II and the socialistic history.
In 2014 Mitríková and Demjanovič spent 3 months in cultural centre Motel Spatie in Arnhem, the Netherlands. There they made an incredible series of pictures which were looking like postcards. The topics we made were reffering to some phenomenas of Dutch culture, architecture, flower industry, drugs and dance music. Instead of wood stains, they used blue ink and the results are tremendous images.
As mentioned their newest works are ceramics which refer to traditional folk ceramic or wooden sculptures. Their idea was to made not only folkloric scenes but also create a strange political, mystical and ritualistic mood. This mood was inspired by their Slovakian roots, where burning of witches during the inquisition, believing in supernatural powers is still relevant nowadays, and where one can still observe a strong Christian tradition, fascist tendencies and the remaining influences of the communistic past of the country, which are all being reflected in the ceramics.
The ceramic sculptures were modelled in chamotte and then burned in so called Hoffmann kiln together with chamotte bricks. The Hoffmann kiln is brick burning technology invented in 19th century, making it another interesting element of the work.
For more information and work see here.