Hello. I’ve been thinking how often one can get lost in contemporary art and its meanings. I for this reason for the first time have written an open ‘confession’ of what inspired me and drove me to make the new abalone sculptures, drawings, call them what you want. With my ‘heart on the text’ I give you this statement about my recent series. All of the pieces are available on DegreeArt.com website under Unit 3 Projects profile. Click away. Thanks.
During the DegreeArt residency ‘In All Directions’, I’ve focused and challenged myself to use another kind of natural material – abalone shells and their mother of pearl. I’m an organic sculptor; I thrive on challenges like these! I picked these shells for a specific reason. I’ve done a research into what kind of shells there are and how they can be sustainably sourced. I use broken recycled abalone shells and my supplier has the Trade in Endangered Species licence (CITES). It is very important to me and I believe as an artist I have a responsibility to the environment.
The new works of ‘Mountain Lakes’ are personal works that relate to the place where I was born in Slovakia, The High Tatras Mountains (Those are split on the north with Poland too). I felt I needed to share part of my belonging, the shapes of snowy peaks and nature I could see every day from my window that influenced me hugely. All this might have contributed that I became a sculptor!
The abalone shells also link my previous sculptural series ‘From the Bottom of the Sea’ and ‘Pearl’ series to the new ‘Mountain Lakes’ series. I consider abalone beautiful as they are, and incorporating them in my works was always going to be something I was going to be very careful about. The way around it was to forget about their preciousness and look at them purely as a sculpting material. Having previously crashed pearls and shells for sculpting, I found this worked this time too, and I could use the mother of pearl contained in abalone shells, including the varied textures and colours.
I used a map of the High Tatras Mountains and I lifted the shapes of mountain lakes out (plesa in Slovak). There are various myths and legends connected to the lakes, those helped me to decide which ones I’d like to enlarge and fill in with mother of pearl. For example ‘Green Duck Lake’ (Zelene Kacacie Pleso) has a myth of a mesmerising white duck laying a golden egg nearby it each Easter; yet no brave man was able to bring it home. Apparently they turned into a rock on contact with the egg!
I’ll return to abalone once again, as one aspect of it I haven’t explained yet. All shells are grittier and rougher on the outside and the inside of the shell that is in direct contact with the animal, the snail that lives in it, is very smooth and often shiny, containing mother of pearl. The inner side, normally considered by people as more attractive side is while the animal is alive, hidden away. The inner beauty is tucked away from us. I’ll compare it to humans now, as good comes within from our hearts us people, doesn’t matter about the outside shell…I self-reflect and have abalone to represent me, us people, as a gesture, adding second personal level to my work, apart from the geographical aspect.
The viewer has a power to a certain extend to change the works, by the reflective surface picking up the colours around it and slightly changing their colour depending. The levels of the light make the artworks change too – they become more ‘sparkly’ with lots of light or colourful and calmer in more shady spot.
These new pieces move between of mediums of sculpture and drawing. Ultimately they are sculptures.
You can see my ‘Mountain Lake’ series and my fellow artists works already starting on Tuesday, 23rd of April at DegreeArt gallery at Vyner street, London. Read more here. I hope to see you there. The show is on till May 5th, 2013. Thank you!