Familial Traces

A multi-media exhibition by Tereza Stehlíková

Mayergasse 7/2
1020 Wien

Opening – 20th January 2023 – 19:00
visit on appointment via info@sternstudio.at

A multi-media exhibition tracing and mapping some of the textures that make up the narrative of oneself: a fragile and ever-shifting construct made of embodied memories, fragments of early childhood experience, imprints of tactile encounters, threaded with complex family histories. The exhibition builds on the artist’s ongoing research into sensory perception, embodiment, and the liminal space where internal and external topography intertwine.

Performing Daughters, video installation, 2022

Women perform numerous roles. Being a daughter is one all women share. Some women are also mothers, grandmothers, or great grandmothers. The video installation explores the fluidity of these different roles, examining through a poetic language how one’s identity intertwines with the identities of others in a family genealogy, as well as one’s own past, current and future selves.

The year 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of Stehlíková’s ongoing project 4 Generations of Women. The project has resulted in a number of short films shot over the decade, staging small family rituals involving the women in the artist’s female line. The process of performing these rituals, as well as the subsequent editing and sharing of the films, has been a way of spending time together, gathering shared memories and recording and processing experience. It is a way of centring oneself, within the process of ceaseless transformation. In this installation the imagery of the last decade is projected onto the performing women, creating a temporal collage.

Familial Traces, frottage, 2022

“Remembered and forgotten, the stories of the house constantly unfold on the wall/screen. They are sculpted in the corporeality of “architexture”; exposed in the marks of duration impressed on materials; inscribed on fragments of used brick, scratched metal, or consumed wood…” Guiliana Bruno

Frottage is a technique often used by children. It is a playful but also tactile method, which invites one to come close to the surface of things. Taking an imprint is a way of communicating with an environment which is involved, intimate and which extends and cuts across time. It doesn’t just engage vision, or touch, but also hearing and smell. For a filmmaker interested in embodiment as well as role of time, frottage is the perfect technique of entering into a dialogue with place. It has the power to reveal invisible layers, literally as well as metaphorically.

For this exhibition Stehlíková used frottage technique to trace elements of her childhood apartment: thresholds, floorboards and doorways, as well as the streets she has walked as a child. These places: rooms, staircases, streets and pavements are now part of the artist’s mental morphology. They are embedded in her psyche, having shaped her experience of growing up as much as the human relationships did.

Tereza Stehlikova is a Czech/UK artist and educator, currently based in Prague. She holds a PhD from the Royal College of Art, where she researched the tactile language of moving image. She works primarily in moving image and participatory performance. Her work is informed by her ongoing exploration of the role of all our senses and our embodiment in communicating meaning, often using narratives to help activate imagination and provide a framework. Beyond this, the core themes in her creative practice are built around our human relationship to landscape and place in general, while exploring how our environment can become an extension of our inner worlds. In 2020 Tereza launched an online arts journal/platform Tangible Territory, featuring essays and articles by established artists/authors from the world of arts, science, philosophy, all centred around the role our senses play in creating meaning in art and life. Her work can be found on her research blog: https://cinestheticfeasts.com/

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