Vlatka Horvat: Drawn Close
at Phoinix, Bratislava
28.02.2023 – 07.04.2023
From the press release:
Phoinix is pleased to announce a new exhibition by the London-based artist Vlatka Horvat, the first presentation of her work in Slovakia. Titled Drawn Close, the exhibition features new works in textiles, sculpture and photography, all made especially for the occasion.
In her practice Horvat often intervenes into spaces, objects and images with deceptively simple gestures. Working across different forms and media, the artist frequently draws the viewer’s attention to the peripheries of space – architectural space, space of the body, of images and objects. Found objects and commonplace materials that feature in the work are often displaced from their habitual and established use, and transformed by being placed in new relations with space and with other objects and materials. Using procedures such as cutting and folding, dismantling and repairing, stacking and leaning, covering and layering, the work frequently focuses on re-drawing borders and frames, bringing to the fore the dynamic relation between the centre of a space, object or an image on the one side, and their margins or peripheral areas on the other.
The works exhibited at Phoinix are similarly preoccupied with edges and contours. The artist’s focus here is on the repeated gesture of outlining objects and space, sometimes covering and obscuring their outer edges, and other times embellishing and accentuating them.
In the front space, Horvat presents a constellation of wall-based textile works comprising pieces of fabric with their margins ‘reworked’ in different ways. In Perimeter I, II, III, she folds bits of cloths over the edges of small textile rectangles, performing a kind of a fortifying of their boundary – albeit incomplete and provisional – while at the same time obscuring the edges by covering them up. The gesture of covering and encircling simultaneously invokes acts of protection and care, as well as those of containment and entrapment. In Moving Blanket, the sides of the titular object are elaborated in a gesture of adding to it loops evocative of handles, but there are too many of them and they appear too flimsy to contribute to the practical function of a moving blanket – as an aid used in the process of moving other objects. These dysfunctional attachments ornament the utilitarian object, further complicating its intended purpose.
In the second space, in an installation titled Gathering, Horvat makes an assembly of pieces of furniture partially enveloped by various coverings. As well as hinting at humanoid figures and the narrative possibilities that their assembly produces, the sculptural forms created with the simple action of covering are also ‘just what they are’ – found domestic items removed from their everyday location, and wrapped/packaged/bundled as if ready to be moved, relocated or stored. Whether we see them as makeshift figures or as ‘things’, they appear in a state of waiting, suspended between places and between functions, invoking a particular set of human conditions to do with displacement, transition and lostness.
Works in the show:
Felt, textiles, thread
Moving Blanket, 2023
Moving blanket, thread, various cords, foams and textiles
Perimeter I, II, III, 2023
Textiles, thread, fusible interface
Giclée print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag
Assorted pieces of furniture, textiles, twine