Dominika Kováčiková:

Don’t mistake salt for sugar

Peter Mačaj, curator

Dominika Kováčiková: Don´t mistake salt for sugar

opening of the exhibition: 9.9.2023 (Saturday) at 5.00 PM
Curator of the exhibition: Jana Babušiaková
exhibition duration: 10.9 – 15.10.2023

Since her studies, the painter Dominika Kováčiková has been talking about challenging themes connected with femininity and female adolescence in her works. The disturbing views of female heroines have reflected the traumatic events of sexual harassment, violence, and eating disorders. They are set in ambivalent settings and stylizations that blend innocence, safety, lasciviousness, and (often hidden or implied) violence. In this way, Kováčik’s paintings take on a very contradictory and disturbing emanation.

In her most recent works, presented in a solo exhibition at Blu Gallery in Modra the situation is reversed. The heroines are reaching for their guns. Is it defense or revenge, stopping the violence or pushing it further? This is not obvious from the paintings. What is certain, however, is that the women and girls in these paintings refuse to be victims and easy prey. They are in part action heroines, but at the same time, they retain a feminine almost innocent emanation – the bows in their hair, the lace and floral patterns of their underwear might mislead us were it not for the tiny details and hints.

Dominika Kováčiková’s paintings are very rich in details, thanks to which the story of the painting gradually unfolds. Delicacy, rusticity, and ornamentation are achieved by symbolic white or pink color, translucent lace, subtle jewels, or pink plush, and small embroidery, writing, or fruit. The more innocently these elements strike us, the more they contrast with the blade of a knife or the dirt of the muddy ground. Unlike in her previous works, the heroines of Kováčik’s paintings now more often look directly at the viewer. They are neither a frightened victim nor a faceless body; they change from object to subject and, despite their innocent appearance, take control. They are troubled women who demonstrate the double standard by which we measure our relationship to violence and anger in women and men. These women’s anger may be righteous because they have been wronged, but their defensiveness is perceived as much more controversial.