Katarína Hládeková is interested in exploring life by means of models and miniatures of the known world. Her work bears traces of mediaeval and early modern miniatures, the mannerist fondness for cabinets of curiosities, baroque models, and all contemporary collections owned by collectors who are attempting to grasp and enclose at least part of the world in a serene whole. This resonates with the interest being displayed at present in archives (private, family and public), while not adopting narratives mechanically but examining the way they are retold. Hládeková’s mode of reflecting on objects and compositions finds a predecessor in the period Wunderkammer, whose frameworks we can still find in museums of art history. However, unlike such curiosities, the individual fragments of her exhibitions are not formed by collected items, but created by the artist herself. They are delicate in constitution and have an elegance reflecting their intended message.
Hládeková moves between individual media and different techniques with ease. She uses material that is fit for purpose and selected with regard to the targeted form and message to be conveyed. She creates her models from paper, wood, ceramics and plaster. She works with movement, simple mechanisms, or mirrors that naturally belong to a world on the boundary of dream sequences, reflecting reality and Dadaist toys. She employs photographs in her narratives, the events of which she incorporates, reinterprets, emphasises or plays down in differently stylised compositions.
The themes that appear in her work are internal. They have deep roots, a family history, and reflect old traditions and rituals from almost forgotten regions, while displaying a lightness of touch and an all-seeing eye. Hládeková’s works are at once playful, light and cryptic, all combined in Bernini’s baroque principle of Bel Composto – individual features are linked in a compact whole that gladdens all the senses. The secret is concealed, though its meaning is not withheld and will appear if the whole is given the space to express itself. For this reason to speak of individual exhibitions and to draw conclusions regarding the artist’s work therefrom would be like describing the individual components of a music box and thus trying to determine the key of the melody being played.
Though not the primary objective, beauty and sweetness are not among the forbidden properties of an object. On the contrary. The aesthetic aspect of the thing, its subtlety and delicacy form part of the communicative capabilities of a work. Not so much form and function á la Gottfried Semper, but form and content, the idea ... these form a unity that conveys the message.
Cooperation with the audience and within artistic duos arises naturally from the very character of Hládeková’s output. The artist is, with no pathos intended, an existential artist whose need to create flows from her very being. Her work is as natural a mode of expression as words are for others. The mutual communication encouraged within the framework of the artist qua artist or artist qua curator is reflected in the overall form of her joint exhibitions, while collective projects fall naturally within the framework of individual creative work.
Hládeková comes from Košice. In 2003 she began her studies at the Rudolf Sikora Studio of Graphic Design and Experimental Art at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Intermedia at the Technical University. During her studies she spent a year at a photography studio in Krakow. After receiving her bachelor’s degree she changed not only art school but also her focus. In 2008 she began a Master’s degree at Painting Studio III with Petr Kvíčal at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Brno University of Technology. After graduating she moved to the Faculty of Art and Design at the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, where she spent two years working under the guidance of Jiří Kovanda. Since 2014 she has been engaged in a doctorate at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Brno Technical University (under the supervision of Richard Fajnor). The subject of her thesis is a model that she examines comprehensively, both as preparatory object and resulting product, from both a material and semantic perspective. The reduced scale and the vicariousness of its content unwinds through all of her work like the main theme within a narrative.