Mira Gáberová is a defiantly Slovak artist, though over recent years she has also been associated with Prague. Her work operates on the border of video, performance and video performance, as well as painting and drawing. Regarding the first media she is most involved in the physical, while when working with traditional media we see her interest in ornamental structures and playing on the borders of kitsch.
For many years one of the artist’s basic means of expression is video. Two parallel themes appear in her older works. We find work with physicality, intimacy and the disturbance thereof, as well as irony and humour. The first group of works is more the outcome of the tradition of classical performance on the boundary of being shocking and featuring clearly articulated questions (the videos Artificial World, 2003 and Drama, 2006), that sometimes entire into an ideologically clear dialogue (V mene matky i dcery i duši svatej / In the Name of the Mother, the Daughter and the Holy Spirit, 2012), the second group leads us to a far more intimate world of the poetics of the body (If/Wish, 2004). An important aspect of many of these older videos is a certain sentimentality and visual patois (Pathos, 2006) often conceived of with an ironic overview (Bean, 2004).
Gáberová also paints and draws. In the cycle United Colors (2003) she recovers well known advertising photos of a clothes manufacturer with a neutralising surface of the repainted incarnate that genuinely unifies in colour all ethnic diverse figures. In the series Gold (2005) the spray technique becomes a way of creating an almost baroque sculptural gold ornament. Even more intensive is her interest in drawing. In the cycle Hrdinovia (2005) she avails herself of a photocopier to create subtly modified variants of classical sculptures in intimate parts. In the series I have become a mirror (2014) she develops the motif of floral ornament as a regularly mirroring structure that gives the drawings the character of a spacious object thanks to the translation of paper.
In her most recent work Gáberová the element of direct performance is emphasised, both in the case of live events (Všetky kvety sveta / All the Flowers of the World, 2014), and above all in her videos, where the physical presence of the artist in the visual space of a shot is fundamental. This is often passive and the resulting situation is defined by the position of her body in the given environment (Sprcha / Shower, 2013). The climax of this approach is the video performance in which the artist enters a theatre stage and the curtain becomes an active player (I am I am not, 2013 and Scéna Praha, 2015). We could regard this as a parable about the work of a video performer for whom the camera view is the theatrical scene defined.
Chladnička / Refrigerator (since 2009) is an ongoing project in which the artist places herself in the position of curator. The fridge in her apartment becomes the venue of works created by invited artists. During private viewings the social dimension of meetings of the invited community plays an important role. The artist originally realised her project in her apartment in Bratislava and then moved it to Prague.
The artist also works with the social dimension in her Performance Group (2012), in which she collaborated on performance projects with an invited group of artists. As in the case of Chladnička she realised this project in the intimate environment of her home, though in this case the project output was a video installation presented in the form of documentation. This work can be seen as the artist’s research into the sphere of collective creativity. The performative and participative are linked in a project called Sport (2013) in which Gáberová examines the parallels between sport and art and the sports experience in itself along with representatives of the Slovak and Czech art community. The output was a video installation accompanied by documentation and life performance.
Of all of Gáberová’s extensive body of work, perhaps the most important is that with video and human physicality, which is balanced between a poetics or intimacy, playing with codes of sentiment, pathos and kitsch on the one hand, and directly articulated themes linked with the position of the artist, gender questions and the social aspects of the artistic environment on the other.